Wednesday, 18 April 2018

That was the news

Some people prefer just not to follow the news. I think it's a duty. Perhaps in a macabre way it's even a dark pleasure. But no not a pleasure.

Winnie Mandela who said 
"Together, hand in hand, with our matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country"
died and was praised in the Western press. Necklaces meant burning people alive by putting tyres around their necks filled with petrol.

When F.W. Klerk, who dismantled apartheid and freed Nelson Mandela dies, his obituary will be unflattering.

Emmanuel Macron talked about the threat to democracy from populists, by which he meant the threat to democracy from politicians who offer to do what the public wants. He won widespread praise for this.

In England a male voice choir was ordered to admit women.

Canada announced she will no longer discriminate on the grounds of physical disability when deciding which immigrants to accept.


Tara Ann Thieke‏ @TaraAnnThieke
Basically I don't want to hear a single supporter of the Iraq War offer their foreign policy advice without long, sustained mea culpas and explanations of why they should now be heeded. The burden of proof is on them, not on war skeptics.

Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer):
Principled conservatism: the president can drop bombs wherever he feels like but we can't deport criminal aliens

Robert Fisk's search for truth in the rubble of Douma makes him doubt whether there was a chemical attack

Please read this article. After visiting Douma and speaking to many people there, Robert Fisk doubts there was a chemical attack in Douma.

I don't have any direct information and was beginning to think the British and French governments may have been right about the Syrian government using chemical weapons, until I read this.

The truth is that I am sure the inhabitants of Eastern Ghouta , which was blockaded rather than besieged from 2013 until last year, did not want to be blockaded because they preferred the rebels to the Government (whatever their private opinions). They were effectively held hostage by the rebels, most of whom are by now Islamists or jhadis.

The rebels have been very clever at playing the Western media as we saw with Eastern Aleppo, but only because the media want to be played. The rebels are for the Economist, etc, the good guys and the government and the Iranians are the bad guys. 

I am not sure why we readers and viewers have to back the Saudis, who are responsible for so much of the terrorism which has afflicted the Christian world in the last twenty years, or why we should fear Iran. I see no reason why we should take sides. Most of all I dislike how we are manipulated. 

Oddly, it is genuine liberals like the writers for the Economist and false liberals like the American Democrats and Blairites who want intervention, not real conservatives like Ron Paul or Nigel Farage. Had he been alive Enoch Powell, so much in the news lately, would have argued that we had no national interest in Syria as he argued that we had to national interest in intervening in Croatia in 1991.

I have no problem about intervening where we have decisive force and can get in and get out quickly without consequences. That might have happened in Rwanda, Croatia or Bosnia. It certainly would not be the case in Syria or anywhere in the Middle East.

Do liberals never tire of throwing away the lives of young men on endless and pointless wars for supposedly noble causes that do not serve the interests of their countries?

Censorship and fake tweets

Something very strange happened to me yesterday. Can anyone give me advice?

I was told my Twitter account was being temporarily limited for 8 hours because of a tweet I sent.

This was very annoying but the tweet in question (below) is not one I sent or retweeted though it has my 'avatar'. 

@BourneWolf @AlfDubs @paullewismoney @stellacreasy @YvetteCooperMP @guardian @ThangamMP @safepassageuk @HelpRefugees @refugeecouncil @KateGreenSU Syrian refugees have already been involved in terrorist murders in Europe.

The people it was sent to are not people I know.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

“Like the Roman, I see the River Tiber foaming with blood”

"All quotations are out of context." (Enoch Powell)

Two weeks ago an extraordinary thing happened. The BBC World Service made the fiftieth anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King its first item on the world news. 

Was the fiftieth anniversary of anyone’s death ever before, since the world began, first item on the news around the world? Lenin’s perhaps, in the Soviet bloc in 1984, but not worldwide.

Two weeks after the murder of King and fifty years ago today, Enoch Powell, a member of the British Conservative Shadow Cabinet, gave his famous and misnamed 'Rivers of Blood' speech, in which he warned in very highly coloured terms of the consequences of continued immigration from the former colonies into Great Britain. 

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Syria: the morning after the night before

It looks like America, England and France bombed locations in Syria at the cost of $240 million but no lives. Russia and Syria seem willing to take this without retaliation. This is what the ill-named Mad Dog Mattis counselled. A relief. Things can go on as before.

Donald Trump has shown he has more moral courage than President Obama - or is it immoral? His habit of threatening war with Russia in tweets certainly adds to an unpredictability factor that has a deterrent effect, on Russia and on North Korea, but he should not be acquitted of blame. 

He has intervened in a country where America has no genuine interest and this could be a precedent for further intervention. 

He was elected to keep out of foreign adventures. His supporters want him to protect America from invasion by illegal immigrants, not to protect Syrians from chlorine bombs.

Friday, 13 April 2018


The gentleman has universal sympathies and is not partisan. The small man is partisan and does not have universal sympathies.

The gentleman is dignified but not arrogant. The small man is arrogant but not dignified. Confucius

"I do find that the left have a tendency to suffer actual pain if exposed to non-left opinions."
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Tweets today

Matthew Goodwin

"What is the root of the defeatism on Brexit? It is a distrust of your own people. You'd rather get in bed with other elites and liberal cosmopolitans than your own community. They want Brexit to fail, to teach 'the people' a lesson"

CJC‏ @Chris_Cheetham
“When war breaks out, people say: "It's too stupid; it can't last long." But though a war may well be "too stupid," that doesn't prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.” ― Albert Camus

Thursday, 12 April 2018

I have thought about it - we should keep our hands off Syria

[Published in Taki's Magazine.]

The BBC 5 o'clock news started with the most extraordinary and chilling words I have heard in fifty years of watching or listening to the BBC News. 
Russia and America edge closer to war over Syria.
Previously the most chilling words I had heard were 
Russian troops have entered Czechoslovakia.
I should say that I see virtually no possibility of fighting between America and Russia, but virtually is not absolutely.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Taken today by Octav Dragan

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Today was a heavenly day.

They lie and lie about Viktor Orban

"What is happening in Hungary today can accordingly be interpreted by stating that the prevailing political leadership has today attempted to ensure that people’s personal work and interests, which must be acknowledged, are closely linked to the life of the community and the nation, and that this relationship is preserved and reinforced. In other words, the Hungarian nation is not simply a group of individuals but a community that must be organised, reinforced and in fact constructed. And so in this sense the new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organisation, but instead includes a different, special, national approach." Viktor Orbán’s Speech at the 25th Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp, Romania, July 30, 2014. 

The words 'illiberal state', much quoted, look very different in context. He meant conservative and national as opposed to liberal. It is clear from the context that 'iIlliberal' was a mistranslation - it is defined as

Monday, 9 April 2018

Frank Furedi: for anti-populist ideologues democracy is an afterthought

Polling booths in Hungary were kept open as voters still queued at 7pm when they were due to close

Frank Furedi says very truly:
For anti-populist ideologues democracy is an afterthought - especially in places like Hungary. Why because the people are unreliable and then to vote the wrong way. And yet they dishonestly go on about threat of dictatorships.
He has written a very good article which says everything you need to know about the election result. It includes this insight.
The emergence of Hungary as the bad boy of Europe has little to do with its supposed plunge into authoritarianism. As I argued in my book, Populism and the European Culture Wars, the pathologisation of the Orban regime is largely due to its promotion of national sovereignty and its willingness to uphold traditions and values, including those of Christianity. It is hostile to those who would dismiss the legacy of Europe’s past as the ‘bad old days’. Hungary is hated by the Western political oligarchy for the simple reason that it dares to challenge post-traditionalism, identity politics and anti-humanism.

Easter in Bucharest - acknowledgements, Octav Dragan

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What did I think of Uzbekistan?

Tashkent is a very eery, quiet place with wide roads, few cars and few pedestrians. The Bradt Guide said Samarkand was bustling but it was nothing of the sort. It too was almost deserted. Neither city had a centre or much life.

The mosques were beautiful, over-restored for the benefit of tourists but empty of worshippers. Islam I felt was repressed by the Communists much more than was Christianity in other parts of the Soviet Union and this repression continues now, though

Hungary delivers a kick to globalism

"Not in nationalism does one find the main key to the epoch of the early Soviet years, but in the destructive whirlwind of internationalism, estranged from any feeling of nationality or traditions." Solzhenitsyn

Viktor Orban and the coalition he leads has won a third landslide victory in a row in Hungary with a thirds majority in Parliament, large enough to amend the constitution. The more right-wing party Jobbik came second with 20% while the reformed Communists won only 12%.

Brussels will take it very badly. 

The untruths in the media shock me. The Daily Telegraph's Peter Forster said a few minutes ago that
Viktor Orban won another landslide with a campaign drenched in ethno-nationalism and unabashed anti-semitism.

Friday, 6 April 2018

BBC World News in Samarkand

The BBC World Service starts the world news with today being the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's murder. I find this quite bizarre. It reminds me a bit of the Soviet Union celebrating Lenin.

Now the BBC is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the sell-out of Northern Ireland. The BBC loves it but regrets that the two communities are still two communities.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Tamburlane's tomb

I saw the tomb today of Tamburlane in Samarkand and must now read the play by Marlowe, which I can download on my kindle. 

I found the Samarkand Necropolis much more beautiful. Here among many others are buried Tamburlane's favourite two wives. He had 90 legal wives and very many concubines.  

He is responsible for the death of perhaps 17 million people, perhaps 4% of the world's population. He is naturally regarded as a very great man and a national hero of the Uzbeks, despite being no more Uzbek than Boadicea was English. Coach parties swarm converge on his tomb. 

How will Hitler be regarded in 700 years?

Nobody knows.

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