Wednesday, 31 May 2017


Lunch with an effervescent Facebook friend, a Romanian who has lived for years in England. She has very sensible opinions on most things, despite having lived in the West for 11 years. So many Romanians are corrupted by living in England. She has the good sense to prefer countries like Georgia, Armenia and the Stans to the USA or Milan. She thinks Donald Trump certainly better than Hillary and that Theresa May is not a conservative. She, like I, wants to visit Iran.

Early evening a drink with an old friend.

Quotes of the day

"Theresa May has the personal warmth, wit, oratorical ability and attractiveness of an Indesit fridge freezer which has been faultily connected by a man called Trevor for five quid, cash in hand, and which is now full of decomposing Findus Crispy Pancakes."

Rod Liddle

(Read more here). 

“It’s the Islamification of radicalism that we need to investigate, not the radicalization of Islam."

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Budapest in the spring

Great conversation, erudite and surreal, with Mark Griffith and John Fenemore in a nice terrace in Budapest, the Gerloczy café. Lots of Coolidge stories and we play 10 Famous Albanians. I win but I had played the game before.

An American couple in their late sixties. He keeps apologising for attributing feelings to her which are really his. 'That's very wrong of me' but his apology isn't accepted. 'It's patronising' she says.

I am concinced they vote Democrat. Marriage to a Trump-loving Alabaman mightn't be like that.

The crisis Britain is in

The terrifying mess the country is in consists in this: the faint possibility that Corbyn could come to power and the fact that we there are twenty seven thousand jihadis in the country and many more who have some sympathy with a holy war to re-establish the Caliphate. I had thought that murders like the ones in Manchester and Paris would mean a decision to change things including immigration policy. Instead the middle class's only reaction so far is to get Katie Hopkins fired.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

How England was

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"The Melton Breakfast by Sir Francis Grant, R.A." which my father had as a jigsaw and which I did many times. It breaths the spirit of Surtees and virile, hierarchical, mid-Victorian England. More importantly, it has wonderful red jackets. Red is my favourite colour.

I do hope the Tories bring back hunting.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Suicide bombers are not cowards

"To be greatly and effectively wicked a man needs some virtue. What would Attila have been without his courage, or Shylock without self-denial as regards the flesh?"C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

An old Facebook friend said the Manchester killer was cowardly. I said suicide bombers needed courage and got in response a torrent of swear words. We unfriended each other. Surely he knew after eight years that I am not sympathetic to Muslim mass murderers, but I respect his feelings of anger. What is decadent are the number of people who get angry on behalf of Muslims about some non-existent danger to them from people getting angry about the continual massacres. Them I don't respect.

The bombers are drugged apparently, but still they need courage. Not moral courage - immoral courage I suppose.

Nor was it cowardly of the Manchester bomber to kill teenagers. It takes as much or as little courage to be a suicide bomber and kill a room full of children as a roomful of generals.

Psychopaths of course are very courageous but I don't imagine suicide bombers are psychopaths. Psychopaths are survivors.

After Manchester, what is to be done?

I understand why election campaigning has stopped because of the murders in Manchester - but this is when we need a political discussion most. And I sense that elections are now being considered by those running things as in slightly questionable taste.

I think this is just the moment to talk about the parties' records on inter alia social cohesion, policing, terrorism and immigration.

The murderer who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena was a 22-year-old who was born in Manchester in 1994 to parents who were Libyan refugees. They were refugees in the UK from Colonel Gaddafi's regime.

At a time when soft hearted, soft headed people want Europe to take in even more refugees from Middle Eastern war zones his antecedents should be remembered.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

What we know this week (and it's only Tuesday)

Theresa May is an incompetent leader.

Jeremy Corbyn, who defended the IRA for decades and called Hamas his 'friends'  now has to condemn a terrorist massacre similar to the ones Hamas tries to carry out all the time.

Many millions of people who think Donald Trump is very dangerous want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister. They include
 a large majority of British academics.

No-one wants to stop mass immigration from Muslim countries into Great Britain or Europe.

No-one has any idea about how to stop further massacres.

'The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates'

At least 19 people have been murdered at a pop concert in Manchester last night, apparently by a suicide bomber. 50 people were injured. 

We have of course been here before many times, though this is the first big massacre in Great Britain since the London Underground killings on 7 July 2005. Fifty were murdered in those incidents. 

A flashback to the massacre in Paris in November 2015, several massacres ago, which led Ann Coulter to say: Donald Trump was elected president tonight. In a piece worth rereading, Mark Steyn said this:
'President Obama described tonight's events as "an attack not just on Paris, it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share". 
'But that's not true, is it? He's right that it's an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world - an attack on one portion of "humanity" by those who claim to speak for another portion of "humanity".'

Monday, 22 May 2017

R.I.P. Drummer Rigby

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Lest we forget. Four years ago today Drummer Rigby was beheaded by Muslim fanatics on the streets of London. I blogged about it here.

Nigel Farage treads the boards

I find the European Parliament a sinister, half-alive Kafkaesque body, eerily undemocratic, semicircular, consensual, feminised, like a committee of civil servants. Most repellent are the desks for everyone. No crowding into division lobbies in the small hours of the morning. Nothing beautiful or old. Nothing clubby. Even though he never sat in the House of Commons.

Its one saving grace, whatever you think of his political views, is Nigel Farage, who offers his colleagues master classes in how real parliaments conduct themselves. 

Why encourage people to vote?

"The political class's cry of "Register to vote or your voice will go unheard!" would sound more convincing if they hadn't spent the past 11 months wailing over the last thing we voted for and wondering why clever people like them should have to listen to the voices of stupid people like us." Brendan O'Neill today on his usual good form.

I don't think people should be encouraged to vote. 

Encourage people to vote for one or other party, if you wish, but not to vote on principle. It's rather a shame, on the whole, if elections are decided by the votes of people who couldn't really be bothered to vote but were nagged into doing so.

Lennonism is the great threat nowadays

Lord Glassman, a Labour peer and founder of Blue Labour, has written an interesting essay. It makes me think that, now Leninism as been defeated, Lennonism is the great threat to civilisation.

His Lordship says Labour can’t tell an enchanted story of our country and the Conservatives can. 

"They dragged New Labour with them and all were united in loyalty to John Lennon’s Imagine. No borders, no institutions, no constraints on money and everyone goes to university and jumps on the train of endless circulation. The brotherhood of Mammon. It’s easy if you try.

4 quotations

“There’s four sorts of people tryin’ to get to be rulers. They all want to make things better, but they want to make ’em better in different ways. There’s Conservatives an’ they want to make things better by keepin’ ’em jus’ like what they are now. An’ there’s Lib’rals an’ they want to make things better by alterin’ them jus’ a bit, but not so’s anyone’d notice, an’ there’s Socialists, an’ they want to make things better by takin’ everyone’s money off ’em, an’ there’s Communists an’ they want to make things better by killin’ everyone but themselves.”
Henry addressing the Outlaws in “William, Prime Minister” (1929)

Sunday, 21 May 2017


I think I'll give up on trying to make the modern world less modern and spend my remaining years reading books like this.

Or Fu Manchu or John Buchan or my alma mater Enid Blyton, though she does not really stand up to reading in adulthood. 

Or the eighteenth century poets or Tolstoy any author who wrote when the world was ordered and civilised.

But before then I must write a book or two!

Gentle reader, do you remember Arthur Marshall and that he loved Angela Brazil?

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Socialists are a bit like Muslims - mostly decent people, but they incubate extremism

The British Labour Party is a bit like Islam. Most adherents to both are good, moderate, in many cases patriotic people but the creed itself is the reason for the repeated, disastrous outbursts of extremism that mark its history. Tony Blair did an heroic job of trying to reform Labour. His failure suggests that it is unreformable.

As a Conservative who absolutely detests what Tony Blair did to my country, I cannot understand why Labour doesn't beg him to stand for Parliament and lead them again.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

5 quotations

"I was asked earlier if 'I could possibly be any more annoying?' so I've just added 'student of life' to my Facebook bio." Jeremy Drysdale
"If you can't say anything good about anyone, sit right here by me." Said to a young girl by Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Friday, 19 May 2017

America and Europe are very different - vive la difference!

Alexandra, a Romanian who until recently lived in New York, told me last night, "The Americans feel superior to everyone except the British". This made more sense than Ramona, a Romanian-American, who told me in 1998 that the Americans feel superior to everyone. I asked her: what do they have to feel superior about? As an East European to her the answer was obvious. To an Englishman it was a mystery.

I quoted to Alexandra Evelyn Waugh's remark, "We are all born American. We die French" but she didn't understand it.

Elections reduce everyone to absolute irrationality

The philosopher Herbert Spencer thought, when the Asquith government introduced school dinners for poorer children, that this was the moment when England became socialist. Theresa May wants to give all schoolchildren free breakfasts and still left-wing friends think she's an uncaring free marketeer. 

Elections reduce everyone to absolute irrationality. In fact, all the parties taking part in the British election are social democrats: the unconservative Conservatives, the illiberal Liberal Democrats, the S.N.P., the Greens and even Labour. But Labour is led by two elderly men, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, who are not democratic socialists, but Marxist-Leninists of some sort.

People make a case for Greens being fascists, and certainly the Nazis were Greens, but it's not really true the other way around. The Greens are reactionary in economics (unlike fascists), extreme internationalists and want unlimited immigration. Apart from bringing an end to England, think how many houses that would mean we'd need to build on the countryside. They are therefore the least green party, as well as the worst party of all. Worse even than the fascists.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Four quotations

"I just want to see the universities closed down, except for Oxford and Cambridge. I think they have all been a terrible mistake." Philip Larkin
"I can tell you how to abolish unemployment. Abolish unemployment benefit." That was also Larkin. It shocked me when I first heard it quoted by Charles Moore in the 1980s, but no longer does.
I wonder what Larkin would have thought of Donald Trump. I think he'd have approved, except for the teetotalism.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Renewing the British elite

The Brexit referendum renewed democracy in Great Britain in an amazing way. The British people proved they were lions, unwilling to be led any longer by donkeys.

What badly needs renewing now is the elite. It has been corrupted, undermined and badly educated, taught to believe in equality and making money instead of noblesse oblige. It is in danger of ceasing to be national and becoming international instead. Clever students study business but no-one reads the poets or cares that Wolfe took Quebec. Many don't know who Hengist and Horsa were.

Maybe it might be a start if the hereditary peers were once more allowed to vote in the upper house.

No-one talks about how to create elites, but they are vital to every country. The lack of cultured, public spirited and patriotic elites is perhaps the biggest problem in Eastern Europe.

We in Great Britain were in danger of having a business and political elite that saw things in internationalist terms first and in terms of the national self interest second. The referendum was a providential salvation. In 'A Tale of Two Cities' Eliot A. Cohen explains exactly what I mean.

Lest we forget: Jeremy Corbyn hails IRA dead

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Jeremy Corbyn said that should his party win power on 8 June, he would do "everything necessary to protect the safety and security of our people and our country", stressing "that is our first duty".

Friday, 12 May 2017

'Nomadic nations are always thieves'

'Nomadic nations are always thieves.' John Paget, Hungary and Transylvania (1839)
He is referring to Hungarian nomadic shepherds of the Puszta.

I did very little work at university, something I hugely regret, but did immerse myself in Hungarian and Transylvanian history 1780-1850, which was not really on the syllabus. When I read in John Paget's great book about nomadic Wallacks I thought Paget meant Wallachians, or in other words Romanians, but of course he meant Aromanians or Vlachs.

Here is more.

"Transylvania can scarcely be considered an aristocracy any more than America can. The native Indians and negroes of America—the free negroes of the North, I mean, for Transylvania knows nothing so degrading as absolute slavery—occupy the place of the gipsies and Wallacks of Transylvania ; the rest of the inhabitants of both countries enjoying nearly equal rights."

Quotations for Friday

"Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite." Churchill, apropos declaring war on Japan.

"I swear to you, there are divine things more beautiful than words can tell." Walt Whitman

The Writers' Union (Casa Monteoru) on my walk to work today

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The Last of the Dalmatians

llyria lay on the Western shore of the Adriatic. After the Roman conquest which was completed by the second century B.C. in towns spoke Latin. Their Latin developed, after the fall of Rome, into a Romance language Dalmatian. Later the well-educated in towns like Ragusa (Dubrovnik) spoke Italian, while Croatian language s subsumed Dalmatian (how?), except in Albania. Was this because Slavs move in?

The last speaker of Dalmatian was Tuone Udaina, who was accidentally killed in an explosion on June 10, 1898. His language was studied by the scholar Matteo Bartoli, who visited him in 1897 and recorded 2,800 words.

'National identity does not exist'

This is the very wicked opinion of a man who was Tony Blair's Director of Political Operations. It sheds a lot of light on modern politics and why the world is in such a mess.
John McTernan‏ @johnmcternan
Replying to @sundersays
National identity does not exist. All people's descriptions descend into a banal string of commonplaces.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Romania has so far escaped much tourism

According to data from EU’s statistical office Eurostat (a rather Orwellian name), Romania has fewer tourists per square mile than any country in the EU. This pleases me. Very much.

Exit Comey, pursued by a bear

Queen Victoria's description of Mr. Gladstone - 'a half-crazy old man' - seems to fit John McCain, who has called for an investigation into President Trump's dismissal of John Comey, head of the F.B.I.

The outrage from Democrats, who had previously called for Comey to go, is a bit rich, but that's politics. Democrats are exulting that they got rid of Comey in a way that makes the Trump administration look worse than Nixon.

And memories float into my mind of special prosecutors during the Watergate crisis, a crisis I followed with rapt attention when I was still in short trousers.

It is important for the world that the Trump administration is at least a partial success, because otherwise political correctness resumes its reign.

The EU is an out of control heavy goods vehicle

The EU starts to remind me of a driverless lorry, without the brake on, going downhill at increasing speed. 
I quote from an article by Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard and a passionate globalist. 
"Macron’s more ambitious idea is to take a big leap toward a eurozone fiscal union, with a common treasury and a single finance minister. This would enable, in his view, permanent fiscal transfers from the stronger countries to countries that are disadvantaged by the eurozone’s common monetary policy. The eurozone budget would be financed by contributions from member states’ tax receipts. A separate eurozone parliament would provide political oversight and accountability. Such fiscal unification would make it possible for countries like France to increase infrastructure spending and boost job creation without busting fiscal ceilings."

Have you injured yourself trying to eat a fruit or vegetable?

If so, the Guardian wants to know.

Just as the (unfairly maligned) Daily Mail knows what its readers like, so does the Guardian.

Only children are creative but less agreeable

A Chinese study just published shows only children are cleverer and more creative than others but less agreeable, with worse social skills.
I was an only child for almost four years. Just saying.
My experience of China and the Chinese is brief but I didn't get the impression that this nation of only children is brimful of creative people. they seem, from what I can learn, a bit conformist to me.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


The Queen Mother, who loved him, said "People say P.G. Wodehouse isn't true to life, but look around you."

"When I was a child I thought I hated the human race, but when I grew up I realised it was only children I couldn't stand." Philip Larkin

Transylvania in spring

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Patriotism, the love that dare not speak its name

' a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity and increases his arrogance and conceit.' Emma Goldman. 
She was a Communist but I wonder how many British people nowadays who are not Communists (so excluding Jeremy Corbyn) also think patriotism a bad thing.

It shows you how the Communists have succeeded to a very large extent. Many, perhaps most, of their ideas have triumphed. Sexual equality; free love, including for homosexuals; contraception; abortion; internationalism; the end of colonialism; racial equality; confiscation of property from the rich; atheism; materialism; the general idea that tradition is oppressive. 

The fascists, by contrast, lost the battle of ideas comprehensively. 

Today two years ago I was in Moscow

It was the last and best day of my week in Russia. 

This morning in the Sandunov baths was heaven. A mixture between a Turkish bath a sauna and a Russian version of a London club (the old Jermyn St Turkish Baths perhaps, which were before my time). Uzbek lamb dumplings, green tea, a hot room, birch twigs, a wonderful cold bath, the Moscow of Alexander I and Pushkin incarnate, a hugely diverse array of male members.
 I can't wait to go back. A wonderful country.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Like Gladstone, I am an out and out inegalitarian

'Do we want social justice or social equality in Britain?' Jeremy Corbyn today. Answer: I definitely don't want social equality. I really, really hate the phrase 'social justice' too. But he sounds worryingly like Theresa May. Am I still a conservative?

Communism delivered industrialisation and huge advances in social and gender equality

"For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality...Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination." Seamus Milne, the British Labour Party's Executive Director of Strategy and Communications.
Please discuss, making reference to the value of social and gender equality, freedom of expression and movement and property rights.

Seamus Milne was educated at Winchester, where he stood in a mock election in 1974 as the Maoist Party candidate, and Balliol. His father, Alasdair Milne, was Director General of the BBC. He began his career, in what in Russia was the Brezhnev era, as a contributor to the British Communist Party publication, Straight Left.

In the first round of the French election 49.4% of voters backed an anti-EU candidate

In the first round of the French presidential election 49.4 per cent of voters backed an anti-EU candidate. Did you read this anywhere?

Simon Heffer pointed it out but it's a remarkable fact that seems to be almost entirely ignored.

The polls predicted that Mr. Macron would take 62% of the vote. He instead took 66% and Marine Le Pen 34%. 

Nate Silver noted on Twitter that this was “A bigger error than Brexit and much bigger than Trump.” There need not have been an error of course. The difference could be explained by a swing to Mr Macron on Saturday, the day before polling, when opinion polls were forbidden by law.

The turnout was 75%, which is low by French standards. In 2012 it was 79.5%.

By way of comparison, turnout in the British general election in 2015 was 66% and in the EU referendum 72%. The turnout in the referendum was the second highest turnout in a national election in Great Britain in the modern era. In last year's US presidential election turnout was 60%.

A truly shocking admission that explains the mess we are in

"Early in his book [The Road to Somewhere], Goodhart tells the story of sitting between Gus O’Donnell, head of the Civil Service, and Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, at an Oxford college dinner in 2011. O’Donnell said that at the Treasury, he supported mass immigration because he believed his job was to maximise global welfare, not national. Thompson emphatically agreed."

From this interview with David Goodhart at Policy Exchange.

Lord O'Donnell, as he now is, was brought up a strict Catholic and once contemplated becoming a priest. I suspect the universalism taught him at his Catholic grammar school lies behind his views on immigration, as it does behind that of the extreme immigration enthusiast Peter Sutherland, who was educated by Jesuits. Mr Sutherland, a former European Commissioner, thinks EU should "do its best to undermine" the "homogeneity" of its member states.
"All questions are ultimately theological" said Cardinal Manning and a lot of Europe's problems are based on bad theology, of which the churches these days are full.

Monday, 8 May 2017

My diary from today 2 years ago

I was in Mosow on the eve of the 70th VE Day anniversary and the British general election that was to lead to Brexit and to change the world.

Eating two lunches was inevitably a mistake, though each was delicious. And now dinner with the Moscow Oxford and Cambridge association which fortunately and oddly is not until 8.30. They work late in Moscow. I walked for hours today and saw the outsides of many locked churches. The Kremlin was closed, Red Square ditto. The city is full of bemedalled veterans. Can they be 1945 vintage? The fortieth anniversary of VE Day seems very recent and the interval between then and now is thirty years, a life, which happens while you try to attach meaning to it.

De Gaulle would have opposed immigration and the modern EU

I have always been a Gaullist. The General wanted a "Europe des nations" and knew England would not be suitable to join the Common Market (E.E.C.) He strongly opposed Arab immigration into metropolitan France. I imagine if he were alive and politically active today his political causes would be dismantling the modern EU and opposing further immigration.
I wonder had he come to power a year or two sooner whether the EEC would ever have come into existence. Had it not this might have saved Europe a vast amount of pain and wasted energy.

De Gaulle, of course, began his memoirs with the very stirring words

The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless

Orwell, in a 1944 essay for 'Tribune':
The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.


From a French magazine today:


Sunday, 7 May 2017

The future of France is Lebanese

So it's President Macron - 65%-35%. Marine Le Pen, of course, was never going to win.

There was a very high turnout in the end, 75%, but nevertheless many thought: a plague on both your houses. 12% of the ballots cast were spoiled. This is a level never reached before in the history of the Republic.

Madame Le Pen in the French presidential debate probably got into the dictionary of quotations when she said, "France will be led by a woman. It will be either me or Mrs. Merkel." It will be Mrs. Merkel, of course, as everyone always knew.
That old reactionary Joseph de Maistre’s one famous aphorism comes to mind. Every country has the government it deserves. He’d have voted Le Pen, be sure. 
Most French electors, I am sure, do not care for Marine Le Pen and certainly don't like her pretty awful father, but she is the grenade that they found to hand, as President Trump was the grenade American voters found. One third of the French voters picked up the grenade, took out the pin and hurled it.

Two very shocking stories

This object is a knife. As we learn from reading a 2012-text written by journalist Florence Beaugé, it is a knife found by twelve-year-old Mohamed Cherif Moulay on March 3, 1957, in a dark corner of his house in Algiers’ Casbah. The night before, a group of French paratroopers had entered his family house and tortured his 42-year-old dad, Ahmed Moulay, in front of his wife and his six children, with water, electricity and, at least one knife, before killing him. The knife was forgotten by one of the soldiers and later found and hidden by Mohamed Moulay, 12 years old. It is only in 2003 that the knife will exit the Moulays’ house, when the Algiers correspondent to French newspaper Le Monde brings it back to France to be used as an evidence in the trial for defamation that Jean-Marie Le Pen’s attempted against Le Monde. 5 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide, it is the same kind of knife that was used by the Hitler Youth. It was fabricated by German knife makers in the Ruhr according to the investigation made by journalist Sorj Chalandon. The blade bears the name of J.A. Henckels, manufacturer in Solinger. 
On the sheath, one can read J.M. Le Pen, 1er REP.

Historians, like women, are attracted to power

Namier once said something to the effect that there is a narrative that people respect an original thinker, but nothing could be further from the truth. They only wish to hear familiar thoughts. How right he was.
John Charmley

When I was reading history at university I looked down my nose at by no means all but the majority of historians I read. Since going down I forgot this and had a lot of respect for them as a breed. Only now, reading the nonsense so many of them write, especially about Donald Trump, do I see my arrogant 19 year old self was too soft on them. They are much more closed minded, dangerous and stupid than I had realised.

I don't mind in the least their not liking Mr. Trump - I fully respect that and they might be right. It's their reasons for not liking him that are silly, ridiculous or in some cases malign.

You see this most recently with the plethora of articles ridiculing or denouncing him for his perfectly reasonable remark that had Andrew Jackson been a major politician in 1860 he might have prevented the Civil War.

Historians instead respect Lincoln who waged an unnecessary war in which 700,000 died for a noble cause.

What historians respect, of course, is power. Lincoln won. Had he lost he would be regarded very differently.

Hmmm. That feeling when you are reading about older voters and realise they mean you.


“... when something is detestable, and yet inevitable, what one must do is not merely to endure it-a hard task whatever one may do-but find an excuse for loving it. Everything is a matter of points of view, and misfortune is often only the sign of a false interpretation of life.” Henry de Montherlant

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Fry done for blasphemy

I was at first delighted to see that Stephen Fry, who was two years above me at college but is of course about six years older, has been charged in Eire with blasphemy. But my pleasure disappeared when I discovered it was under a newish Irish PC law that makes offering the followers of any religion a crime. I liked the English common law offence of blasphemy which existed not to protect people from being offended but to protect the Christian God from being offended. The Labour government repealed this. 

Was the Ukrainian famine genocide and is this an important question?

I just finished Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe’s exhaustive and slightly exhausting book 'Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist'.

Mr. Rossoliński-Liebe says the numbers who died in the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine are between 2.5 and 3.9 million, not the 8, 10 or 15 million that I have seen mentioned.

He says that the use of the Ukrainian term “Holodomor” to denote the deaths dates from 1978. The term was coined by American-Ukrainians in response to the TV film 'Holocaust' which popularised that term for the murder of the Jews.

That millions died is not disputed, though how many millions did is. What is also disputed is whether the famine was intended by Stalin, was deliberate mass murder. Even nowadays Marxist Leninists (there are still plenty of them around) and fellow travellers get angry at this suggestion. Daniel Lazar, for example.

Russians are like a knife: they push ahead when they hit butter

Sir Alec Douglas-Home said the Soviets move when they see an opportunity. They always have. Like a knife, they push ahead when they hit butter, and back away when they hit steel. Soviet policy seeks a "maximum of confusion and a minimum of commitment.” Putin is following closely in the KGB tradition.

Luckily, unlike the USSR, Putin does not even vaguely desire to change or conquer the world. I don't think the USSR was an existential threat to the West. Putin certainly isn't. So don't be distracted by fears about Russia. Because existential threats do exist.

Russia is a threat but not an existential one. It's also a declining regional power with big problems and a lot of H-bombs. Putin is bad news, but we are being manipulated to see him, Iran and Assad as the big threats. Meanwhile a revolution is happening among Sunni Muslims which in a few years will bring probably people like Marine Le pen to power. Some Sunni Muslim ideas and some Sunni states are bigger threats than Russia.The biggest threat is an inexorable movement into Europe from Africa and Asia.

Russia will be a danger after Putin goes, if order breaks down.

Our weekends reveal us as we really are

Our weekends reveal us as we really are. Katrina Onstad in today's Guardian
And 3 more quotations for Saturday.
France keeps having civil wars. It hopes it eventually will win one of them. John Cleese.

Hitler was a genius

I don't like analogies between Hitler and Donald Trump but there are certain similarities. Both are/were demagogues. And both geniuses. 

Both were/are monsters too, of course, but to very different orders of magnitude. President Trump is a monster like someone's father-in-law is a monster.

Yet it's incredibly interesting how many leftists think they are comparably malign. And incredibly striking how few left-wing historians recognise even Hitler, let alone Mr. Trump, as a genius.

The great British historian Hugh Trevor Roper (Lord Dacre) had no doubts and nor can any fair person.

Friday, 5 May 2017

A plague on restored houses

Hunedoara Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Romania and Europe, will be restored with EU funds worth nearly RON 22 million (over EUR 4.8 million).

I have never been there but must hurry there now before it's done up.

Everywhere in the world is being restored. A plague on restoration.

The world is becoming one big shopping centre/golf course with nations turned into themes for restaurants.

As the poetess Eva Wagelaar put it

"'I want to go home, to the real world' but it's gone."
So far the real world still exists in Romania, which is why I live here, but for how long?

Why don't the Conservatives ask Nigel Farage to join them?

Why don't the Conservatives ask Nigel Farage to return to the party he left over Maastricht and parachute him into a Tory seat? He'd do very well as a cabinet minister and bring a lot of votes with him. 

Failing that, they could appoint him Ambassador in Washington. 


In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
Dalai Lama

Youth is wasted on the young, and western civilization is wasted on white liberals. 
Hannah Huber

The problem is Remainers still see Brexit as a political phenomenon and Leavers, correctly, recognise it is a cultural phenomenon.
Dan Hodges

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Romania is treated like a colony

I saw this comment on someone's Facebook wall, referring Herr Juncker's behaviour towards Mrs. May, and thought it applied to Romania.

This is what the EU does. Countries like Bulgaria, which are supposedly equal members, get treated like coconut colonies by the Commission. Viktor Orban is exceptional because he's been willing to tell them where to go; Vaclav Klaus used to be like that too. After them... there's not much. Only the people's willingness to not be pushed around.

The duke retires at 95

The Duke of Edinburgh, who is 95, will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. 

I can't imagine why the Queen or the Duke still carry out engagements. How middle class the Hanoverians are.

Marine Le Pen is not a fascist

Madame Le Pen in the French presidential debate last night probably got into the dictionary of quotations when she said,

"France will be led by a woman. It will be either me or Mrs. Merkel."
She was rather magnificent, whatever one thinks of her politics.

Though I remember seeing her some years ago handing out pork sandwiches to the Parisian poor and feeling a great distaste.

Is there any actual evidence that she or even her wicked old dad is a fascist? 

It's pretty clear from all that I have read, including an academic book on the subject of the French right (author and title are forgotten), that neither has ever evinced any desire to get rid of free elections.

But fascism has changed its meaning - it now means wanting to reduce immigration to 10,000 a year. 

And democracy no longer simply means free elections or freedom - in fact free votes are a bit unpopular since the UK referendum and the US election. Note how many people are complaining that Mrs. May called an election. 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Two Remainers and a Leaver on Juncker

Dan Hodges (Remain)

Juncker slams May. Remainers gloat "that's shown her!". May hits back. Remainers scream "how dare she!?!" And people wonder why Remain lost.

Robbie Travers (Remain)

The behaviour of the remainder of the Remain camp in relation to the Juncker/May spat is fascinating, but disappointing. When Juncker, a vicious, incompetent Eurocrat with a nasty habit of disregarding actual elected mandates, called May deluded, adding that Brexit cannot be allowed to be a success, so many Remain voters noted that our country deserved to be treated so harshly and our Prime Minister belittled by unprofessional leaks. When Theresa May, quite rationally, decides to retaliate stating she'll be a "a bloody difficult woman" in standing up for the UK, whilst also noting Britain won't engage in an unbecoming briefing war, May is deluded and nasty.

There are not enough statues to women swimmers - who knew?

The Guardian has alerted readers today to another important problem: the lack of statues to women swimmers.

We'll miss this sort of useful information when the paper goes bankrupt.

As the paper says,

With the exception of mermaids – an excuse to put a bronze topless women in public – there are not enough tributes to inspirational women in the world of swimming …
Note the feminist critique of statues of mermaids. You might think that mermaid statues are unobjectionable but, in fact, that would be naive. It's all about patriarchal oppression.

It is ethical, if necessary, to send young men to die for their country, but not for values.

Can someone explain please why people are saying that Turkey cannot belong to Nato if she ceases to be a democracy? 

Salazar's Portugal was one of Nato's founding members. Turkey joined Nato in 1952 as a democracy but later became a dictatorship without leaving. The same is true of Greece.

The problem is that, when it came to enlarging Nato, after the Cold War had ended, countries were admitted on the basis of how democratic they were, not how useful they would be as allies.

Values and human rights keep getting entangled with war.

In a comparable way, politicians think of countries as being based in values not on blood and history.

This reminds me that so called ethical foreign policies are very unethical. It is ethical, in necessity, to send young men to die for their country but not for values or for democracy in Iraq.

This is why people like Boris Johnson, whom I had hoped would be good but is proving a terrible Foreign Secretary, think we have to follow the USA into whatever adventure they get involved in. Presumably, because he too thinks foreign policy is about values and our and American values are the same.

As I said before, he resembles Hillary Clinton in drag.

Which reminds me of these words of Enoch Powell talking to Margaret Thatcher.

Enoch Powell: No, we do not fight for values. I would fight for this country even if it had a communist government.Margaret Thatcher: Nonsense, Enoch. If I send British troops abroad, it will be to defend our values.Powell: No, Prime Minister, values exist in a transcendental realm, beyond space and time. They can neither be fought for, nor destroyed.

The strange thing is that, even when we send young men to die, we are nowadays supposed to do so for 'values' not for their nation. And even nations are supposed to be based on values, not blood.

Why are nations, and especially ethnic states, out of fashion among the priestly caste who (normally, except in referendums and US elections) decide things?


"There is another Irish tradition I'd like to mention. It is based on sheer arrogance, the determination to live. Poetry can keep life itself alive. You can endure almost anything as long as you can sing about it. Do you know Raftery? Anthony Raftery, from the eighteenth century, blind and illiterate, who carried a hand harp. He was standing in a bar and someone asked, who is that poor, frail old man leaning there in the corner with a harp in his hand? Raftery turned around and said: "I am Raftery, the poet, full of hope and love, with no light in my eyes, and with gentleness that has no misery, going west upon my pilgrimage by the light of my heart, though feeble and tired to the end of my road, and behold me now, with my back to the wall, playing music unto empty pockets."" 
James Wright

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The interesting reason why Trump won and the Tories will win

According to polling and focus groups quoted in The Washington Post, Donald Trump won because the white working class thought that Hillary would make them poorer and Trump wouldn't. Now Theresa May has to pull off the same trick.

The Tories are the one party that does not exist to restrict freedom

The Tory party is the one party, with the exception of Ukip, that does not exist for the express purpose of restricting freedom. It's also the only one, except for Ukip, that claims to care about the British nation rather than internationalism. The Greens are, of course, the worst party of all, worse than Corbyn's Labour.

Why doesn't Labour want Blair back?

As a Conservative who absolutely detests what Tony Blair did to my country, I cannot understand why Labour doesn't beg him to stand for Parliament and lead them again.

When he became leader of the Labour party, I was hopeful that he would help working class people, bind our country together, make Labour a sort of Liberal Party and reform the welfare state. Instead he has made the country more disunited than ever, by enacting devolution and vast unprecedented immigration. I never the loss of freedoms and loss of sovereignty to the EU. The last of those is being rectified. Immigration and devolution are irrevocable.

But these are not the reasons Labour doesn't like him any more. They feel more comfortable losing than winning.

Then there was unjust and catastrophic invasion of Iraq, to which few in Labour objected at the time.

Labour since 1900 has achieved nothing really

The British Labour Party is essentially a 20th century (wrong) answer to a 19th century problem.

Labour was always a mistake. The Liberals were much more radical, much more intelligent and would have fought the 1915 general election on land nationalisation. Labour, at least for a long time, didn't have many ideas, till the Webbs taught them nationalisation. They existed originally to get working class trade unionists into the House.

The first Labour government's one memorable achievement was adding the words 'patriotism is not enough' to the statue of Nurse Cavell. 
The second Labour government's big achievement was the Lido in Hyde Park. At least the latter was useful. Later Labour governments had only one important positive achievement. They raised the perception and self-perception of the working class.

But this would have happened anyway, without Labour.

A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of fascism

A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre not of communism, as Marx proclaimed in 1848, but of fascism or the far right. 

Spectre is the right word, for spectres are imaginary and the threat of fascism is imaginary, just as the threat of communism was in 1848

But, as in 1848, it's a fear of the people by their rulers.

In case you hadn't noticed, the left is nowadays terrified of the workers. Needlessly, as the workers are brainwashed too.

I do not think it is especially useful to call Islamists fascists as they are different in quite a few ways from Mussolini's movement, but if they are fascists then they are a fascist threat that is certainly not imaginary.

Steve Bannon may have been right when he said,
I think we are in a crisis of the underpinnings of capitalism and on top of that we’re now, I believe, at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism.

Donald Trump thinks he could have done a deal to prevent the Civil War

I think Donald Trump has an arguable point when he said had Jackson been a generation younger perhaps he'd have found a way of avoiding the Civil War, which caused 700,000 deaths. Here, on the BBC site, three historians take issue with him. How academics hate the President.

One of them, Jim Grossman, says:
He starts from the wrong premise - the premise that the Civil War should somehow have been avoided, and that someone more skilled on the White House could have avoided it. If one sees the Civil War as a war of liberation, which is what it was, then it shouldn't have been avoided. Had you compromised out the differences between the government and the confederacy, or between anti-slavery forces and southern slaveholders, the victims would have been the enslaved people of the south.
Historians usually say the war was fought on the issue of preserving the Union, not abolishing slavery, but as Paul Gottfried said in The Managerial President
All the major conflicts into which our leaders thrust us from the Civil War on, with the possible exception of Vietnam, are seen as morally desirable actions. … The U.S. is a land of morally driven, energetic presidents who have made us into the envy and dread of the world.

"Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant"

Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant and then it tries to silence good.

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia

"Anti-racism will be for the 21st century what communism was for the 20th century, a source of violence"

This very important interview with French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut from 2005 was taken down from the Haaretz website, but has now been put back and is (always, it seems) very topical. Alain Finkielkraut later made a reluctant apology for his remarks.

Experts seek and wield huge power and should always be distrusted

The World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, has said over the weekend that a popular revolt against experts needed to be taken seriously and that the Brexit referendum result had been partly a reaction against economists who claimed to be making unbiased judgments but were actually taking political or moral positions.
Brexit was a vote against the expert advice of economists. We have to earn back our credibility as professionals who will give an unbiased answer. In political discourse, activists often claim that their position is morally superior and no one seems to care, but when economists did so, voters reacted very negatively, perhaps because they are alert to even a whiff of hypocrisy and they sensed that economists were behaving like activists yet invoking the authority of science.

"We are strictly impartial in this exciting Syrian conflict"

I agree with Jeremy Corbyn that we must not intervene in Syria. If he won't use the H-Bomb and doesn't see any point in Great Britain belonging to Nato he's right about those things too.

On the plane I read this 2 week old article by Rod Liddle that is so good you must read it. He makes the common sense observation that the American missile attack to punish Syria for killing innocent children itself killed innocent children and asks why killing civilians with chemical weapons is worse than blowing them up.

In fact it is about exploding not just bombs but the silly Democrat canard that Trump is a Russian agent and showing the world, including Russia, China and North Korea, that Trump is not Obama. This, oddly, is the way to make the Left decide that Trump is not so scary as they had thought, when they feared he wanted peace with Russia and Syria.