Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Brexit: what on earth does the UK do now? Three proposed solutions

"The oasis in the desert was a mirage." 
Andrew Rawnsley put beautifully how Theresa May's and Olly Robbins' attempt to impose their proposals for Brexit on the Conservative party in Parliament seems to be vanishing into thin air.

Last night Leave MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg made the Prime Minister accept four amendments in order to avoid a Commons defeat on the Customs Bill, a piece of legislation vital to leaving the EU. These amendments make it certain that the EU will reject Mrs. May's plan, something that would almost certainly have happened in any case.

So her plan is sunk and she has lost two leading cabinet ministers and her authority.

Mrs May reveals that Trump's 'brutal advice' was to sue the EU

I suppose this is the most fascinating period in British parliamentary history since the lead up to the 1867 Reform Act with Jacob Rees-Mogg's European Reform group as the Adullamite cave. If only the Tories were led by a Disraeli. The only recent Tory with Disraelian qualities was David Cameron. 

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 and the referendums on Scottish and British independence were Disraelian. Like Disraeli in the election of 1868 David Cameron proved to have been too clever by half and ended up losing power.

All this would be enjoyable were it not unspeakably painful. Theresa May through ineptitude and cunning, her two cardinal qualities, has ruined everything. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Roy Greenslade hypocrisy

Roy Greenslade is one of my bêtes noiresRuth Dudley Edwards on Roy Greenslade's article in today's Guardian:
So Roy Greenslade, one-time writer for An Phoblacht [Sinn Fein's official magazine] (under a pseudonym) and longtime friend of such IRA luminaries as Pat Doherty and John Downey - the alleged Hyde Park bomber - is worried for democracy because of Donald Trump. He ends his column quoting the worries about post-Brexit human rights expressed by Martina Anderson MEP, who served time for being an IRA bomber and is proud of ex-colleagues who murdered in the name of Irish unity. I notice he appears to have stopped disclosing his An Phoblacht connections which he did only because of protests to his new editor.

Bath Club

The old Bath Club in St. James's St. owned a Canaletto. A member once told a waiter he had heard they had a good Canaletto and could he bring him a bottle. The waiter went away and returned to say tactfully that there were no more bottles left.

Italian government points to a new form of politics

Here is an article well worth reading about the Italian government by a very insightful Italian journalist called Alessandra Bocchi. She thinks it points to a new form of politics, different from the old left-right division.

I quote.
The new government’s eclectic program emphasizes environmentalism, claiming that “man and the environment are two sides of the same coin,” and calls for a reduction of carbon emissions and an end to fossil fuels. The mixed ideological character of the new coalition is illustrated by Alberto Bagnai, a left-wing euroskeptic economist who represents the League in the Italian Senate. His book, The Sunset of the Euro, decries the single currency as a means for Germany to exert its dominance in the Eurozone. Bagnai also strongly opposes mass immigration, calling it a tool to drive down wages and increase exploitation of workers: “It’s no surprise that ‘left-wing’ ‘intellectuals’ don’t care about immigrants’ impact on wages—it’s because they’re not low skilled workers.”

How popular are Trump, Merkel, May, Macron, Trudeau and the Italian governing coalition?

Polls can be terribly unreliable, but are always interesting.

36% of Germans find Putin more likable than Trump. 70% find Putin less frightening.

71% of Russians have an unfavorable view of Trump.

77% of Britons did so before his visit, though 51% thought him right to make his views clear on Brexit.

However, Trump is doing much better in the polls in his home country than Mrs. May or Messrs. Macron and Trudeau in theirs. He is one point behind Mrs. Merkel.

Donald Trump - 47%. 

Theresa May - 25%. 

Macron - two recent polls put him on 32% and 34%.

Angela Merkel 48%. 

Justin Trudeau 34%.

Five Stars/League coalition government in Italy 60%.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Donald Trump is now leader of the opposition in the whole of Europe

Donald Trump's visit to Great Britain has been much more significant and exciting than I expected. I had looked forward to it being richly comic. It has been much more than that.

Yesterday, Theresa May was required to stand next to him at a press conference, 
and be smilingly polite, while he repeated his damning judgement on immigration into Europe and the problems it brings. 

Friday, 13 July 2018

Donald Trump is accused of lying, but it is his truthfulness that really angers people

Image may contain: 2 people, including Sheri Leigh, text

I had been looking forward to President (that STILL sounds odd) Trump's visit to Great Britain for months. Everyone has, I imagine, except Theresa May and her colleagues.

He sometimes disappoints, but his visit to Britain has already proven to be a virtuoso performance. He is what the world badly needs, a troll of genius. 

But it is not about 'the great cause of cheering us all up', though he does cheer up many conservatives. It is about changing the world.

Because the world exists in people's minds and is shaped by discourse. President Trump's great achievement has been to change the previously narrow limits on permissible discourse, the previously very cramped Overton window.

The concept of fake news is itself fake

The Times is stuffed full of articles today denouncing fake news and supporting regulation of social media. This of course is in the interests of the rich man who is the paper's proprietor, and his employees, so can be ignored - except that these sorts of arguments are one of the biggest dangers to free speech, and therefore freedom, in a world where the media are no longer controlled by a few people.

You see the same thing with the disgraceful campaign by left-wing English writer Peter Jukes for laws on privacy to restrain the press. His target, however, is the Murdoch press and other newspapers.

Fake news you have always with you, alas, and is part of the human condition. Fake news

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

John O'Sullivan Retweeted

Theresa May's Chequers plan is "the biggest loss of British sovereignty since Britain's accession to the EU in 1973"
- Sir Ivan Rogers, UK ex-ambassador to EU, and very stauch remainer.

Andrew Lilico
I'm a Johnsonian (Frank) more than a Johnsonian (Boris), but I've followed Boris since his Telegraph days in Brussels. The evidence is clear: He was always tempted by Brexit & when the referendum made it politically possible, he chose Leave and helped win it. Genuinely, thanks.

Trump's visit to Britain is going to be richly comic.Think Evelyn Waugh. I cannot wait.

'Donald Trump has said it is for the British people to decide if Theresa May should stay on as Prime Minister and suggested he will meet Boris Johnson during his visit to the UK.
'Speaking on the White House lawn, the US President said that Mr Johnson is "a great friend of mine" and said that the UK is in "turmoil". He suggested that his meeting with Vladimir Putin will be "easier" than his meeting with Mrs May.
'He said: "I have Nato, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly Putin may be the easiest of all. Who would think, who would think.

The EU will decide Britain's fate and Theresa May will not be forced to quit

“If you want to succeed in politics,” Lloyd George is said to have observed, “you must keep your conscience well under control."

David Davis should have resigned on Friday after the twelve hour cabinet meeting decided in favour of a soft Brexit. Still he did resign, after thinking about it all weekend, and his decision deserves respect. 

He does not want to bring down Theresa May. He could have brought her down in the twenty-four hours after the election result last year but chose not to, out of loyalty and because he had advised her to call an election. Though he did not advise her to campaign for seven weeks in a dispiritingly robotic and mindless way, repeating over and over the meaningless mantra 'Strong and stable' as her advisers had instructed her to do.

His delay means Boris Johnson's resignation is not about principle but about maintaining his position as leader of the Brexiteers, or rather of those backbench Brexiteers that do not agree with Michael Gove that what the cabinet decided on is the best we can get.

Boris Johnson's problem is that after being very rude about the proposals in the meeting he then surprised colleagues by pledging to back it with enthusiasm. One cabinet minister said:

Monday, 9 July 2018

The Queen's first Foreign Secretary was Anthony Eden, whom she later knighted

Today, 66 years after Eden kissed hands as Foreign Secretary, the Queen appointed Jeremy Hunt to replace Boris Johnson.

Image may contain: 1 person

5 April 1955 was decided upon as the date when Churchill would finally tender his resignation to the Queen, to be succeeded as Prime Minister by Eden. The evening before, Churchill hosted a farewell dinner, attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, at 10 Downing Street. After the dinner, his long-serving secretary John 'Jock'  Colville found the Prime Minister sitting on his bed in evening dress, wearing the Garter and staring into space. Colville asked him softly what he was thinking about. Colville imagined he was looking back over his 55 years in politics, but instead Churchill said, “I don’t believe Anthony can do it.”


“The referendum was a vote of confidence in our institutions, even though it was a vote of no confidence in the people running them.”

Robert Tombs

I bet Mr Trump will stir Theresa May's pot

Mr Trump is coming to the UK on Friday 13 July. I so hope he stirs the Brexit pot and trolls Theresa May, offering us a free trade deal if they scrap her plan. I bet he does. Those two can't stand one another.

She deserves it, after the way she reprimanded him for retweeting three video clips of violent Muslims, that came from a tiny right-wing party called Britain First. Nothing was said about the alarming contents of the clips themselves and no-one disputed the things portrayed in them happened. But as ever the story suddenly was about Islamophobia.

I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for Mrs May who, after learning of her Foreign Secretary's resignation, on top of Mr. Davis's at midnight, and then defending her policy in the House all afternoon, goes off to meet the new Austrian Prime Minister.

In the House, the cameras kept panning to Liam Fox, who looked unhappy throughout and did not nod as the Prime Minister spoke. Will he resign next?

Boris Johnson resigns but his delay may be fatal for him

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's resignation came as a big surprise to me though it should not have done.

Nor should David Davis's resignation at midnight last night.

Mr. Davis's resignation left Boris without credibility, but so does the report that he promised at dinner with the cabinet on Friday evening, after its 12 hour meeting at which Boris's Brexiteer faction lost badly, to defend Theresa May's cabinet's Brexit position wholeheartedly.

Mr. Davis seemed to invite the Foreign Secretary to resign when he was asked about him in an interview on Radio 4 this morning. David Davis put him in a very difficult position indeed, whether intentionally or not. A resignation by Boris Johnson and other cabinet ministers on Friday evening would have been much easier for Boris Johnson. Donald Davis has resigned on a matter of principle and honour. Boris's resignation is a ruse and he is damaged goods.

The problem for the Tories and all parties in Britain is structural. It takes months to elect a new leader and the people worst qualified to make a decision - party members - get to do so. That's why, appalling though she is, it's hard to see the party dropping its incompetent and ill starred leader.

But what matters now to me that somehow in this scrum the ball might be, to use a rugby expression, fumbled and Britain ends up not leaving the EU at all. And to cap it all being ruled by a Trotskyite far left populist government.

The Queen's first Foreign Secretary in 1952 was Anthony Eden, whom she later knighted. Now she will appoint another.

I thought this tweet gets it right.

Damian Thompson@holysmoke This is what happens when you hang on to a Prime Minister who is easily as selfish and unprincipled as Boris. The room-temperature IQ doesn’t help, either.

Somali refugees terrorising London

"In the Evening Standard, Wayne, an ex-gangster from Plumstead, gave an interview in which he explained that the resettled kids from war zones had upped the ante in gangland. ‘In the last ten years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence. These people had seen family members mutilated, so when they said, “I’m gonna smash you up”, us guys would be shouting, “Yo blud, wot you mean?” and they would just pull out a blade and juk [stab] you in the chest. It upped the speed and level for us British-born guys. We had to arm up to protect ourselves. It created an upward spiral.’

Sunday, 8 July 2018

The day the dream died

There is an Indian proverb that says a woman conquers a man by her stillness.

Two women leaders of very different calibres, Angela Merkel, who is a very successful national leader, and Theresa May who is certainly not, illustrate the effectiveness of stillness and slowness in getting them what they want. Each made disastrous mistakes from which they cannot recover when they made uncharacteristically sudden and unheralded decisions (to let in limitless migrants and call the 2017 snap election).

The British cabinet's very long delayed decision about what deal they want with the EU means adopting something rather like the arrangement Norway has with the EU. This enables Norway to escape the common fisheries policy but means she obeys laws she does not help to make. Norway also has to pay vast amounts to trade with the EU and permit free movement by citizens of EU countries, things the British Government hopes optimistically to avoid.  

The very powerful senior civil servants of the Treasury, which is the centre of power in the British government, as I always feared and expected, have persuaded the

Friday, 6 July 2018

A 'Duty to Hate Britain'

A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country.
I hope I write well but on the subject of migrants I cannot write better than Douglas Murray, Deputy Editor of the Spectator and a prophet. He is almost the only prophetic voice in modern England, which is in her greatest danger for centuries. On the subject of immigration the media and almost every other public figure there deal in lies and cowardly evasions. 

I really do recommend you read his masterful account of the career of tube bomber Ahmed Hassan who came close to murdering a lot of people in London in September. Some brief quotations:
At Brooklands College in July 2017, Ahmed Hassan was awarded a prize as "student of the year". He used the £20 Amazon voucher he received to purchase the first of the ingredients he needed to build his bomb...

At every stage, the British state helped Hassan in every way it could. It took in a person who had no right to be in the country -- who indeed had entered the

Macron fights Orban for Europe's soul

Emanuel Macron is the most important and significant politician in the world right now and sees his career as a Manichean struggle of liberalism against the forces of what he considers darkness. 

He is right and his success or failure will have huge consequences. 
Ben Judah reports that he sees his term as an existential battle against populism in Europe trying to breakup the European Union and sees Brexit in this light. 

This makes sense, but is not good news for the wretched British government. Nor for the Hungarian government, though they seem to know what they are doing.

On June 18, France ambassador in Budapest, Éric Fournier, send a report to the Quai d'Orsay which was leaked to Mediapart on Friday. In it Fournier said Viktor Orban is not  a populist or an extremist. These things, he said, were press inventions.

The Declaration of Independence is hate speech

The Liberty County Vindicator, a local newspaper in a small town in Texas, was uploading the Declaration of Independence in parts to their Facebook page when the tenth instalment was disallowed by Facebook as “hate speech”. It was the part where the Declaration says of poor, benign King George III:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The real meaning of the Statue of Liberty

BBC news item this morning:

The woman who climbed up on the Statue of Liberty and sat on the monument's base is in detention, police say.
Tourists were evacuated from Liberty Island in New York Harbour on Wednesday during a three-hour stand-off with local and federal authorities.