Saturday, 23 March 2019

Trump vindicated by Mueller but still the media distorts the story

I have not bothered following closely the tedious story of the Mueller enquiry into Donald Trump's supposed collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. It was clear from the get-go the that there was nothing in the allegation. It then became clear that Robert Mueller was going round the houses trying to find anything, however tangential, that might be useful against anyone somehow associated with Donald Trump. I presume he wanted to indict people in the hope that they would give juicy information against him in plea bargaining. 

At least Mueller did manage to pay for his enquiry twice over, by uncovering tax evasion, but he should not have taken so long.

Finally all is concluded and there is - surprise! - nothing in the idea that Trump and Russia colluded and nor did the Attorney-general interfere with the enquiry. 

Democrat TV show host Rachel Maddow was reduced to tears when reporting it, which is so funny.  It was a reprise of her emotional breakdown in the 2016 election results.

But I am angry because I just read  a long article by Ben Riley-Smith in a conservative British paper, the Daily Telegraph, that contrives to give inattentive readers, and few readers are very attentive, the idea that the investigation did inculpate the president. 

This is exactly what I consider fake news.

I feel foolish remembering how I fell for the stuff left-wingers said, back in the 1980s. The things conservatives say make obvious sense but seem young clever people unintelligent and narrow-minded. And because the things the left say do not make sense at first sight one thinks they must be profound. So they credit the left with bigger brains and bigger hearts, but it is not really so. 

Accusing the right of being primitive, unsophisticated, unkind and ungenerous is just the left's spiel, their sales pitch.

The right have their spiel too, of course, (dis)crediting the left with a list of vices. The poet, Philip Larkin, who was very right-wing indeed and backed neither side in the Second World War (unlike his father who wanted Germany to win) recited the conservative spiel when he said:

"I’ve always been right-wing... I suppose I identify the Right with certain virtues and the Left with certain vices. All very unfair, no doubt. Thrift, hard work, reverence, desire to preserve - those are the virtues, in case you’re wondering; and on the other hand idleness, greed and treason."

Eugenicist Mary Warnock embodied the worst, not the best, of Britain’s ruling class before Mrs Thatcher

The philosopher Lady Warnock died on Thursday aged 94. She was Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge and chaired the committee that decided that embryos could be experimented on up to the age of fourteen days. Enoch Powell introduced a bill that failed to make such experiments illegal. She complained that Enoch was 
“so much in the dirty tricks department. The moment he called his bill ‘The Protection of the Unborn Child Bill’, I knew I had no respect for him whatsoever.”
As headmistress of Oxford High School from 1966 to 1972, Warnock said that when 16-year-old girls got pregnant, she would encourage them to have an abortion and come back to do their O levels. She was for forty years an ardent defender of abortion and later on of assisted dying. 

She was the embodiment of the phrase 'the great and the good'.

Babies, she said, should be screened at birth and disabled ones killed.

Theresa May was never anywhere near up to the job of Prime Minister - or up to her previous job

Winston Churchill's successor as Prime Minister Clement Attlee was famously a man of few words and unemotional about firing ministers. When one minister asked him why he was being fired Attlee tersely said
"Not up to the job."
Back in the 1980s, when I disliked Margaret Thatcher very much, I remember people telling me that there was no alternative (her phrase) because Labour leader Neil Kinnock was simply not up to the job of being Prime Minister. My reply was that no Prime Minister I ever heard of was not up to the job. The grace of office (Norman St John Stevas's fey expression) descended on them.

This was true except for Sir Anthony Eden, but the grace of office did not descend on John Major who was hopeless and much too small a man to be Prime Minister. The same is true of Gordon Brown and most of all the present incumbent.

Rafael Behr in the Guardian yesterday says her fellow European leaders realised this in September:

Friday, 22 March 2019

Douglas Murray in today's Spectator

"My main reason for coming to the region is to speak in Doha for the newly revived ‘Doha Debates’. After my speech, a more than usually aggressive interviewer demands to know why Britain and other European countries have not taken in more Syrian migrants. The Emir’s sister and others are in the audience and I cannot pass up the opportunity to poke my hosts in the eye. I ask how many Syrians have been made citizens by Qatar. There is a terrible silence, followed by some giggling and a small amount of applause which is afterwards said to have come from the foreigners in the audience."

A decision for a short delay - which could become a long one or even go on forever

A rather complicated decision was taken in the early hours of this morning at the Brussels summit, which the BBC at first failed to understand properly. 

To boil it down, Britain has at least three more weeks in the EU. If Mrs May's plan wins the agreement of Parliament it will be a little longer. If it does not, we have three choices: either leave without a deal (which I'd like), or postpone our departure for months and elect MEPs to the European toy parliament or cancel Article 50. 

Postponement could mean lots of things. 

It could mean a softer Brexit like Norway Plus, which was privately David Cameron's policy, until he backed Mrs May's deal out of party loyalty, and is Jeremy Corbyn's. 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

'Theresa May has decided she is prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal'

This story published in the Financial Times a few minutes ago is a huge scoop. Is it true?
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Theresa May made a momentous choice. After a day of acrimonious debate in her cabinet and inner circle, the prime minister decided that she was willing to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
At Thursday’s European Council meeting in Brussels, EU diplomats wondered whether Mrs May was bluffing, but those close to the prime minister said if she cannot secure her Brexit deal she is determined the UK should embark on a no-deal exit.
Of course she might not be allowed to but if her deal is defeated after a third 'meaningful vote' next week the only choices are leaving with no deal and withdrawing Article 50.

If leaving with no deal goes well, the Conservatives take the credit. If it goes badly Mrs May, if she is still in office, and the government can say it tried its very hardest to avoid  this option, which was forced on them by Labour and by Tory rebels from both the Brexit and Remain wings.

Few papers mention the Italian bus driver accused of trying to kill 51 children was Muslim

The Italian bus driver who allegedly tried to burn to death fifty -one children in his bus is of Senegalese origin - and, we now learn, though not from the BBC or other respectable news sources like the Guardian, the Washington Post or the New York TimesMuslim

The unfairly maligned Daily Mail mentions both his religion and ethnicity. Breitbart hasn't so far mentioned the story at all.

The BBC gives the story prominence, though much less than it gives the six day old Christchurch massacre. The BBC account talks about the heroic immigrant child who bravely telephoned for help and saved everyone. The BBC quotes his father saying he hoped his son would now get Italian citizenship.

The BBC goes on to put the story into context for its readers:

Theresa May is strange without being in the least interesting

Do you think Theresa May suffers from Asperger's syndrome, gentle reader?

When I heard  her speak last night I thought her speech was like all her speeches: deadly dull and repeating what she had said before. I was not paying enough attention because setting herself up as the representative of the people against Parliament was not the best way to get MPs on her side. The papers describe it as inflammatory. Autistic is a word that is not allowed these days, except by psychiatrists as a medical diagnosis. But she is an odd person whatever the exact details of her psychology.

Brexit endgame

The three choices open to the UK at this stage are: Parliament accepting Mrs. May's plan, followed after a short delay by Brexit; withdrawing Article 50, followed by another referendum; or leaving the EU with no deal, which would be followed by a lot of negotiations. 

The House of Commons has voted against leaving with no deal and the EU leaders certainly do not want it. It might still happen. Nobody wanted the First World War to break out but it did. 

Still, I would be very surprised indeed if we leave with no deal (which is the best option now). Angela Merkel is trying hard to prevent it.

Will Mrs May withdraw Article 50 rather than allow a hard Brexit?

Allister Heath in the Daily Telegraph today.
"Mrs May is now the Remainers’ greatest asset: she has gone along with all of their destructive plans, at least since losing her majority in the 2017 election. She has refused to sell Brexit to the people, presenting it entirely as a problem to be solved, poisoning the public debate and preventing us from uniting behind a positive vision.

"She has worked for the civil service establishment, rather than the other way around. She signed up to the warped trap that is the backstop, setting in motion a course of events which now looks like delivering a choice between her awful deal and an even softer non-Brexit. She has no authority and has allowed Philip Hammond, her Chancellor, and his allies to seize control."
Allister Heath fears she may cling on and even at the last moment withdraw Article 50. This is very possible. I hope she is too committed to delivering some sort of Brexit.  

What she should do is prorogue Parliament for a week. Then we would have what the people voted for.

He is right to say that what the Tories need is a new  and Brexiteer leader who can win public support and the next election, which might soon be necessary. In any case her cabinet should force her to resign now and use, if the EU allows us one, a short delay of Brexit to hold a leadership election. It is a bad thing in many ways that party members make the ultimate decision about who is leader, but in this case it means it is out of Remain MPs' hands.

But the worrying thing is that the authority of the referendum result is reduced as each day passes. 

Perhaps the backstop is not a hill worth dying on. I begin to wonder.

'Macron will veto any delay to Brexit unless Mrs May has a clear plan' and she doesn't really

Emmanuel Macron will veto any delay to Brexit, according to this report in Le Point, the French weekly political and news magazine, unless Theresa May comes up with un projet clair, a clear project or plan. 

But her only plan is to find a way in which she can continue presenting her proposal to the House of Commons, even though the Speaker has told her that she cannot. 

She can find a way of doing so but there is no reason to suppose she can persuade Brexiteers to vote for it. They have much less incentive to do so if the delay is only a short one. 

A long delay, which she wanted but was forced by the cabinet to drop, would mean she could threaten Brexiteers that the 2016 referendum might become ancient history and lose its authority. 

The other European Union leaders are expected today to set the date for Brexit, but only to grant an extension when and if the House of Commons backs May’s deal, which the House is much less likely to do than before the Speaker's coup de théâtre and the application for a short delay.

However, Paul Taylor writes in his Politico column today that the EU will grant a delay from self interested motives. 
“No EU country wants to be blamed for precipitating a no-deal Brexit that would inflict severe economic damage not just on the U.K. but also its nearest neighbours. So, no one is likely to veto a postponement if London requests one. Nor does the EU have any right to impose terms on May … Doing so would not only violate British sovereignty; it would also set a precedent that could rebound on other member states in future.”
Brexit was a very boring thriller but now, after so many tedious episodes, it has become nail-biting. 

The BBC Radio Four news makes little secret of the BBC collective view that a hard Brexit would be a disaster. The BBC thinks a short delay is likely, but the reporter Adam Fleming just said 
" I have to say this [the danger of a last-minute unplanned hard Brexit] makes me feel a little bit ill".
The programme then moves on to talk about the hardships faced by illegal immigrants in detention.  

News just in: Italian bus driver tries to burn dozens of schoolchildren alive

Italian police have ended a dramatic ordeal for 51 students and their teachers who were tied up and held captive by their bus driver who threatened to torch everyone inside the vehicle.

Police broke glass windows in the back of the bus and got all the passengers to safety without serious injury before the flames destroyed the vehicle, authorities said.

The driver, an Italian citizen of Senegalese origin in his 40s, said he was protesting against migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Commander Luca De Marchis told local TV. …

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Charles Moore just now in the Spectator blog

"A sad feature of the Brexit story has been how so many people with important official roles have not seemed to understand or, in some cases, even to care, what those roles entail. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England are supposed to assist the British economy, not invest in its collapse. Five cabinet ministers, all supposedly bound by collective responsibility, abstain despite a whip, thereby allowing a vote to prevent ‘no deal’ to pass. The Attorney General is supposed to speak soberly: this one is a music-hall act. The Archbishop of Canterbury says he wants to help us ‘disagree well’, but then alleges that a no-deal Brexit will make lorry queues extend from Dover to Leicester."

What will be the historical significance of the Christchurch killings?

“What did he mean by that?” 
Metternich asked when he heard that Talleyrand had died. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows what the murderer meant by killing 49 worshippers at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

While campaigning for local elections he said the Christchurch massacre was part of an assault on Turkey and Islam and warned anti-Muslim Australians would be "sent back in coffins" like their grandfathers at Gallipoli. 

The Australian Prime Minister said today that these comments were "reckless" and "highly offensive", but Mr Erdogan was right that the massacre was aimed at Islam - or rather, not at Islam but at Muslim immigrants in general.

Mrs May asks for only a short delay (for now)

The Daily Telegraph just now:
Theresa May will today request a short extension of Article 50, a Downing Street source has said, warning that voters are "fed up with Parliament's failure to take a decision".

The Prime Minister will later publish a letter, to be sent to Donald Tusk, the European Council president, which will ask Brussels to agree to a delay.

Mrs May had been expected to request a lengthy extension of up to nine months.
This was the secret decision that Mrs. May refused to share with the cabinet yesterday, even though under the British constitution we have cabinet government and the Prime Minister is only first among equals. 

It may be a surprise to the writer but not to me - because she had no alternative. A longer
delay would mean letting the people speak by taking part in the European toy parliament elections. That could have destroyed both the Conservative and Labour parties, and still

No more warrior saints

Jonathan Foreman in Quadrant yesterday:
In his book The British Dream, David Goodhart recalls a debate with two establishment figures, one a bishop, the other the then-head of the BBC; the first said he would always put global welfare before national welfare, the second said he personally felt a greater obligation to people from Burundi than people from Birmingham. Both men presumably believed that these opinions showed them to be enlightened cosmopolitans, modern citizens of the world. It could in fact suggest a kind of laziness rather than open-mindedness. (A cynic would say such loyalty to everyone really means loyalty just to oneself.) Loyalty to country is admirable partly because it is difficult. It can be much easier to feel an instant connection with fellow academics, bureaucrats, activists, journalists or doctors in other countries than with one’s own countrymen from a different social class and educational background. Disdain for the latter is one of the reasons why middle class Britons so often, like Dickens’ Mrs Jellaby, feel more compassion for picturesque poor people in foreign countries than for disadvantaged folk at home. It is one of the reasons why the UK spends ever greater amounts on foreign aid.
Where do I stand? 

I love my country and the English people with all my heart and soul and feel the same about Romania my adopted country, but I also love every country I ever visited, and I have visited seventy-odd, with all my heart and soul. 

And I feel the same about all the countries I never visited but only heard of. I want them all to thrive and to be themselves, true to their traditions,  rather than globalised and all the same. This is the main reason for disliking excessive migration.

Though to be honest I love all countries in the world passionately with three exceptions: the UAE, Lichtenstein and the USA. I except them probably because they seem to me not real countries but synthetic artifices. 

However I was only in the USA for five hours in Buffalo, the armpit of America, in 1980. I imagine the ghost-haunted American South might enchant me and all those wonderfully conservative beauties. 

I only could stand Liechtenstein for a few hours, with its toy train bearing Japanese tourists around the streets, despite having a friend there, and I was in the UAE for  three days. I did hate Dubai though, as I said in this blog..

And, if I am completely honest modern, superficially Westernised China left me a bit cold. 

But countries sometimes do until you get to know them. Greece took me some time to love, because it is Americanised, up to date and tourist infested. Bulgaria's charms were too subtle for quite a long time.

I also think the poor in Africa or in Eastern Europe are having it much harder than the poor in Birmingham and therefore they have more of my sympathy and I consider helping them in some ways a greater priority than helping my countrymen. It's not that we are more aware of global poverty than in the nineteenth century but we no longer think it divinely ordained or so inevitable.

But, nevertheless, I do not at all like the head of the BBC saying he puts global welfare above the national interest. What alarms me is that he speaks for great swathes of opinion formers and of the absurdly swollen British graduate class.  Here is the crux of the modern developed world's problems.

The bishop's attitude is also telling - post 1960 Christianity is hugely responsible for people thinking patriotism is questionable.   How different were all the warrior saints who died protecting their countries - from my patron St Edmund of East Anglia to Joan of Arc and on and on.

Brazil backs Trump on immigration: Most immigrants do not have good intentions

“We do agree with President Trump’s decision or proposal on the wall. The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions. They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people.”

Brazilian President Bolsonaro, who is visiting Washington, on Monday evening on Fox News.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Pasul Tihuța

No alt text provided for this image

Backstop would be fabulous for Northern Ireland?

The Financial Times reported yesterday from County Armagh that farmers and businesses have spotted that the backstop arrangement is a “fabulous” opportunity for the Northern Irish economy and want the DUP to stop opposing it.

Narcissism, Bercow and the Brexit soap opera - which is no longer boring at all

Speaker of the House John Bercow speaks in Parliament, in London 

Hysteria was the mental ailment that the world suffered from in Freud's day - especially the world of women with means who did not go out to work. Now it seems to be narcissism. 

Messrs. Obama and Trump, obviously, are narcissists. Mr. Obama spoke a eulogy to Shimon Peres much of which was a eulogy to him, Mr. Obama. 

But the most extreme narcissist of all is Mr Toad himself, Speaker John Bercow, who has put paid to the British Government's plans for Thursday’s European Council summit and for leaving the EU. The plan had been to use the threat of a long extension to Article 50 extension to get Theresa May's deal through parliament either before or days after the European summit. 

Instead the Speaker, quoting a ruling from the chair in 1604, has said that the government cannot bring back substantially the same motion to the House a second time. The Government's motion in favour of Mrs May's plan for Brexit, of course, has already been rejected twice by whopping majorities

We now have eight and a half working days before Britain is required under British and European law to leave the EU, without a deal if none can be agreed - and none has.

There are ways around the roadblock that the Speaker represents, though none of them are at all straightforward, but there are other problems for the Government. The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn reports that if Brexit is delayed

“As many as 20 members of the hardline European Research Group have told whips they will carry out ‘vote strikes’ — a move that would push Mrs. May’s minority government to the verge of collapse.”
They risk an Article 50 delay that leads to a softer form of Brexit. 

Meanwhile Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will hold meetings with the small opposition parties and the Norway Plus group of Tory and Labour MPs — Nick Boles, Oliver Letwin, Stephen Kinnock and Lucy Powell — as he considers whether Labour should soften its position further to strike a deal across the House.

In fact, most of the House would prefer Norway Plus to Theresa May's proposals. This is not clear because Jeremy Corbyn is playing political games. 

Norway Plus means staying in the customs union and would be disastrous, for reasons I have explained, if permanent, but so long as it is not permanent it could be a way of getting us out of the EU without making perilous long-term commitments.

No deal, Canada and Norway are all much better destinations but are not in reach at present. I can't help thinking Theresa May's plan is the worst possible plan in the worst of all possible worlds.

Norman Lamont, however, disagrees and now very reluctantly supports it, as do Michael Howard and David Davis, the Brexiteer elder statesmen.

"Trump slammed for 'silence' on white supremacist threat"

As Douglas Murray said, the demand (by liberals and the left) for fascists far exceeds the demand.

However the man arrested for the Christchurch massacre does admit to being one and to admiring Sir Oswald Mosley who also admitted to being one, which helps the media. 

The alleged mass murderer is not a conservative, he said, because conservatives merely mean big corporations. Of course, that is not what conservatism should mean, but it does seem often to mean free market economics rather than Christianity, or the nation, or tradition, or freedom, or hierarchy, the things it should mean. 

However, I do not wish to pay a murderer the respect of discussing his opinions, though, on the other hand, I see absolutely no reason why his so-called 'Manifesto' should be removed from the internet.

What I prefer to discuss is why Mr Trump has been assailed by small l liberals in the press for saying white supremacists are a small group of people. They are clearly very few in number. 

When Muslims massacre innocent people, as they did much more often recently than did right-wing white men who worry about the great replacement, everyone always rushes to say that Islamist extremists are a very small minority of Muslims.  Of course they are, but certainly no smaller a minority than are white extremists. 

Monday, 18 March 2019

What next? Nigel Farage's boast

I chose a very bad time to stop reading the newspapers. It freed up huge amounts of time but I cannot miss these moments in our island story.

I imagine the government will find some way round the Speaker's ruling this afternoon forbidding them to introduce substantially the same motion a third time after it was heavily defeated, citing a decision by Speaker Phelips in 1604 and various occasions when the precedent was followed, the most recent being in 1943. 

Did Mrs May really think no deal was better than a bad deal, she would have prorogued Parliament weeks ago and left with no deal. Now she may prorogue Parliament and recall it within days in order to get round the ruling (this was done in 1948 to get round the provisions of the 1911 Parliament Act and pass the 1949 Parliament Act). 

But the Father of the European Parliament, one Elmar Brok, who sits on the toy Parliament’s Brexit steering group, said that Nigel Farage is saying that he has “already agreed with Salvini… that he will refuse any extension” to Britain’s Article 50 negotiations with Brussels, to ensure the United Kingdom leaves the EU on March 29th as currently scheduled, with no deal.

somehow do not believe Mr. Salvini said this, but who knows these days?

Does it have my vote to be true if it may? Oh yes.

Rod Dreher on the Christchurch massacre

One of the biggest lies we hear whenever there is a mass terror attack, such as the one against New Zealand’s Muslims, is that the killing was “senseless.” It’s not without reason when ISIS does it, and it’s not without reason when people like Brenton Tarrant, the alleged NZ shooter, do it. The acts are evil, but not senseless; there is a rationale for what they do….Everything Tarrant identifies as qualities of a disintegrating Western civilization is true. You may think that declining numbers of ethnic Europeans is a good thing, or something that has no particular moral meaning. But it really is happening…It is simply bizarre to think that all Europeans are going to acquiesce gently in the overwhelming of their nations by immigrants in this century.
Rod Dreher, Radicalization & DegenerationThe American Conservative, three days ago.

Oscar Wilde was a pederast

For decades, Woody Allen was immune to almost any and all accusations against him because of Annie Hall. He was even forgiven for every film since. But at present his own genius opt-out appears to be up for reconsideration because of fresh claims about long-ago aspects of his private life. It is a familiar problem. At various times in recent decades, Oscar Wilde’s reputation has again teetered on a ledge for similar reasons. Today, when anybody mentions the rent boys and their age, defenders of Wilde understandably stress their counter-arguments. In truth, it has simply become recognised that we cannot do without the greatest comedies in the English language. So small evasions are permitted.

Rod Liddle: Brexit, BBC bias and the liberal elite

"What you've actually got is virtually Dubai, where there's an affluent white elite preying on the appalling wages of incoming service people from abroad. I think it's a disgusting way to live."
Rod Liddle in this interview talks about how London has changed in his lifetime.

I was interested to find that the figures we were first told were wrong and that in fact over 40% of voters in London voted to leave the EU. But in the centre of London in good jobs there are a lot of graduates who voted Remain and hate Brexit.

Shutting down debate over Muslims

As I mentioned yesterday, the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, where the massacre on Friday took place, had a small congregation yet produced two terrorists that are known about: Daryl Jones and Christopher Havard, both of whom were involved with Al Qaeda and killed in drone strikes.

Their parents blamed the Christchurch mosque for introducing the pair to radical Islam, according to a 
news story from 2014 in the New Zealand online magazine Stuff. 

Stuff quoted someone who attended the mosque saying,
“A visiting speaker from Indonesia talked about violent jihad and plenty shared his views.”
It sounds as though the mosque was not always the innocent place of worship that it appeared.

Of course, none of this mitigates the crime of murder in any way or even explains it. I have no idea whether the man arrested knew of any of this backstory. 

But the important point is this. This story would flog a lot of newspapers but instead was deliberately taken off the internet, by the news magazine, after the massacre. 


That the press has not just kept quiet about this story but rather actively suppressed it is terribly wrong and worrying. Once more, in Douglas Murray's words, the press seem to be negotiating between their readers and the truth.

Bertrand Russell quotations

Eliminate distractions.

It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions make it impossible to earn a living. 

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Today is St Gertrude's Day - she is the patron saint of cats

Saint Gertrude praying as mice (or holy souls) scamper up her crozier. Image via Wikimedia.
She has a crozier because she was an abbess. More about this charming saint here.

Nuclear energy is not dangerous after all

It seems nuclear energy is not dangerous after all, unless you use it to drop a bomb. So says Michael Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress, a think tank, writing in Forbes magazine. 

Radiation from Chernobyl will kill at most 200 people, while the radiation from Fukushima and Three Mile Island will kill nobody.

It seems the stuff we have been reading for years is untrue. 

Why are experts not more sceptical? 

"Les savants ne sont pas curieux",

as Freud said, quoting Anatole France. Absolutely right. 

This is true of all experts, especially biblical scholars, climatologists and, I regret to say, historians.

It reminds me of a popular American car bumper sticker from 1980:
"More people died at Chappaquiddick than died at Three Mile Island."
Left-wing American politicians are even less sceptical about things that fit their world view. A surge of emotion that overcomes them, when they think they are trying to protect innocent people against powerful bad ones, stops them from thinking clearly. They are always lionesses protecting their young.

Why was it so important that the video of the Christchurch killings be suppressed?

I don't know if this is a stupid question but why was it very important to remove the 1.5 million copies of the video made by the alleged Christchurch mass murderer from Facebook and Twitter?

I am much more worried about restrictions on freedom of speech than I am about a video which is of clear public interest being watched.

“She is mean. She is rude. She is cruel. She is stupid. I have heard that from almost everyone who has dealt with her”

A very interesting and enjoyable article in the German press about how absolute awful Theresa May is.

It quotes Matthew Parris, whose views on Brexit and the UKIP electorate I disagree with but whom in general I greatly respect.

"She is mean. She is rude. She is cruel. She is stupid. I have heard that from almost everyone who has dealt with her," Parris says. He said he had never expected this much hatred, "and that is not a word I use lightly."

John O'Sullivan ‏

If May's deal goes through, the Tories will own the catastrophe that follows--something called Brexit that isn't Brexit, that subjects Britain to EU rules indefinitely and leads to endless controversy. See today's Survation poll for the first fruits.

Removing no deal from the table gives Remainers what they want only if MPs adopt another Brexit deal. If not, no deal remains on the table--indeed, it IS the table. But if May's non-Brexit deal passes, she'll claim Brexit achieved. Blame for its failures then rests on "Brexit."

He may well be right that Theresa May's deal would be much worse for the Conservative Party than not leaving. I have enormously admired him (and his colleague the late, great Frank Johnson) since my schooldays and he is one of the few people whose wisdom I tend to trust.

Christchurch suspect is an eco-fascist who admires the People’s Republic of China.

The man arrested for massacring 49 worshippers in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand posted a manifesto online just before the attack. I haven't read it and do not intend to but he said in it:
“For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist, I am sure the journalists will love that. I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley’s views and consider myself an eco-fascist. The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.”
I hope we shall be spared a lot of tedious boilerplate commentary about this massacre, about islamophobia, racism, Donald Trump and anti-immigration politics being to blame and so on and I should also like to be spared whataboutery. 

Rod Liddle, who must have even odder Facebook friends than me, complains that at a moment for mourning some people are complaining that the flag is flying at half mast over Buckingham Palace, that the attacks were called terrorism and the murderer called right wing. 

I see people are pointing out that recently 130 Christians were killed by Muslims in Nigeria and the other day 23 were killed by Muslims in the Philippines. This is important, of course, and in general the war against Christians is woefully and shamefully unremarked even by, or especially by, the churches. But it seems distasteful to turn murder into politics. Let the dead be buried. 

Yet the murders are an entirely political act. 

This massacre is part of a sequence and the rate of massacres will surely speed up. Nor is this very surprising. What action can we or should we take in response?

Beyond tightening gun laws, I mean, and restricting free speech further on the internet. The suspect had a gun licence.

I wish to avoid scoring political points and yet some points are very important, especially about the way the media distort the truth and the way politicians think it scandalous that a video made by the suspect has been spread across the world via Facebook. 

More importantly, a friend on Facebook just posted this which is very interesting if true and it seems to be true from what I can find on the net. Googling, I see that it was first posted by the controversialist Milo Yiannopoulos.

The Al Noor mosque in Christchurch targeted by Brenton Tarrant produced at least two terrorists, from a very small congregation: al-Qaida recruit Daryl Jones, killed by a drone, and Christopher Havard. The parents of these boys say their sons were radicalized by extremist preachers at Al Noor. The boys were in Yemen with the guys who trained the Charlie Hebdo killers. A 2014 story at (now scrubbed from the internet) quotes a mosque attendee who says, “A visiting speaker from Indonesia talked about violent jihad and plenty shared his views.” Three questions: How many news reports have you read these details in? If you’d known that this mosque was a terrorist factory, would it have changed your feelings about the news at all? Finally, how does it make you feel to learn that the media has been not just ignoring these facts but deleting stories to hide them over the past 24 hours?

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Brexit: it looks as though Theresa May, Olly Robbins and the civil servants will win

On Thursday Theresa May's deal comes back to the Commons for a third time if the Speaker allows the Government to have a third attempt. It is against the rules of procedure and the Speaker is a narcissistic man who likes making big waves and who is publicly opposed to Brexit, but he probably will not stop it.

The man who should have discarded his peerage and been made Prime Minister when David Cameron resigned is his predecessor, Michael Howard, (the sons of immigrants from Romania, by the way) who horrified his successor by supporting Brexit.

Today he says that he would have voted against Theresa May's deal on the two occasions

On the Late Massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand

As you know, gentle reader, at least 49 people were killed yesterday and another 20 injured when a well-armed man opened fire on worshippers in a mosque at Christchurch, New Zealand.

The man arrested is 28 and seems to have killed for the sake of attracting attention to his political ideas on Facebook, YouTube and other websites.

He had a firearms licence, should that question occur to you. This story is not about lax gun licensing laws.

Clearly, politically motivated mass killings are a phenomenon which we must expect to continue far into the future and probably become more common. Possibly much more common.

I posted this argument in favour of referendums back in July 2011

I am not a theoretical democrat. I do not blame Lord Grey for not giving the working class the vote. That would be like blaming Henry III for not introducing the NHS. But I have come round to being a strong believer in referendums (never forsooth referenda please). I made this philosophical journey independently, by the way, of Daniel Hannan who takes the same view. But my views are bolstered by this, which I came across thanks to libertarian writer and novelist Dr. Sean Gabb.
“…progressives should be very wary about referendums. They are rarely instruments for change – and almost never on the actual questions posed. If we had proceeded by referendum, most of the social advances of the past 100 years would have been stopped in their tracks.” (Julian Priestly, “Regressive referendum a rallying point for reactionary xenophobes”, Tribune, 22nd April 2011, p.19.)

Friday, 15 March 2019

Delaying Brexit is not popular among British voters (but what business of theirs is it?)

38% of the British favour delaying Brexit. 43% oppose doing so.


Peter Drucker
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.

Curiouser and curiouser

The Conservative Government motion requesting the said Government to ask the EU to allow a delayed Brexit passed the House of Commons by a large majority last night, because of Labour support. Most Conservative MPs voted against it in a free vote, along with some Labour MPs who defied their whip.  

Stranger things than that happen when you allow MPs a free vote, but very rarely things as strange as the behaviour of the Rt. Hon. Stephen Barclay, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He made a speech summing up in favour of the motion, telling MPs 
“It is time for this House to act in the national interest, it’s time to put forward an extension that is realistic” 
and then voted against it.

The Dâmbovița this morning

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Things are still going to plan for Theresa May - the plan Olly Robbins explained in the bar in Brussels

Sky news presenter Beth Rigby, following the vote against no deal: ‘I don’t understand: why you don’t just take her deal and bank the win?’

Mark Francois, MP: ‘Because it’s not a win, it’s a lose. I’m not going to bank a lose. I was in the army, I wasn’t trained to lose’
A former Conservative Chief Whip said today that once whipping discipline is lost it cannot be regained. Despite this, the Government kept control of what is on the House of Commons Order Paper by a majority of two votes tonight , subject always to what the Speaker decides. 

MPs also voted 412 to 202 in favour of asking the EU for a delay to Brexit until June.

It may seem as if Mrs. May has lost badly, but things are no worse than she could reasonably have expected. In fact, things are still going to plan for her - the plan mentioned by Olly Robbins in the Brussels bar.
“Extension is possible, but if they [MPs] don’t vote for the deal then the extension is a long one.”
The choice will be either a short delay if Mrs May's deal passes, which gives the EU all they want, or a long delay on which the EU will insist, presumably in cahoots with Downing St. and Mr Robbins. 

European Council President Donald Tusk said tonight that he would press for a long extension to Article 50, to give the UK time to ‘rethink its Brexit strategy’. A long extension would mean Britain taking part in the elections to the EU Parliament and almost certainly mean a second referendum.

Mrs May's  plan is better for the EU than a hostile UK forced to remain in the EU against her will. The EU hope that after a punishment beating during the trade negotiations that will follow her Brexit the UK will decide to come back, without the rebate Mrs Thatcher won and accepting the euro.

Bronwen Maddox, former Foreign Editor of The Times, said on Sky News today that if the Brexiteers accept Mrs May's proposals they will then take over and lead the Conservative party. 

She thinks they should swallow their principles and accept the fait accompli. I expect that most will. 

Will they all? If not, Labour support is crucial.

The other options are what Labour says it wants - staying in the customs union, which is Norway Plus - or the Norway option, outside the customs union but probably closely aligned to it and with free movement of Europeans.

Mrs May was right when she said no deal was better than a bad deal, but she was being deceitful when she said it, because she clearly believed the opposite. 

She could have ensured leaving with no deal rather than a bad deal simply by proroguing Parliament for two and a half weeks. 

Nothing could have been further from her mind, of course.

On the other hand, I could be wrong. Robert Peston thinks she has little chance of getting her Brexit passed without Labour and why should Labour betray the majority of its supporters and members who want a second referendum, just because they fought the last election pledged to respect the referendum result?

My sixth-form Virgil comes to mind.

"Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt."

"The world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart."

Another historic night at Westminster

Last  night was another night as historic as the debates on the Reform Act in 1832 or on the European Communities Act 1972, which took Britain into what the British then called the Common Market.

For readers who are not following British news closely, or are doing so but are still confused, here is an explanation of what is happening with Brexit.

Last night in dramatic scenes, but not so very unexpectedly, the House of Commons defied the Government and voted by 312 to 308 to reject a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances. Four cabinet ministers and twelve other ministers defied the whip and abstained. 

They should resign, of course, but will not and they will not be fired. One minister alone honourably did resign, forwent her car and salary and voted against it.

This vote has no legal force. Under British law, a law passed because the Supreme Court upheld Gina Miller's challenge to the Government over using Article 50, and under EU law  the UK must leave the EU on 29 March.

But leaving with no deal is not going to happen. It never was.

The government will try a third time to pass its deal, although according to Erskine May, the House of Commons rulebook, it has no right to bring back a motion that has been defeated by the House and this has been heavily defeated twice.

In any case, a short delay is necessary, but the EU may impose what conditions it likes before granting a delay or may refuse one altogether.  The House will vote today on whether to ask for a delay till June.

Some ministers, according to the Daily Telegraph, are discussing a two year delay. If this happens a second referendum is inevitable.