Sunday, 18 December 2016

Letter to the Financial Times by a Remain voter

Two Englishmen in Aleppo

I want to know about what went on in Eastern Aleppo in the last 4 years and why the rebels didn't surrender sooner. I hope we shall know very soon. In fact, this weekend it is just starting to emerge from the fog of propaganda.

'This is a bona fide independent journalist. It seems from what he writes that people are very happy the government has won.

'This was an exchange of lives arranged between Russia, Turkey, and Iran, who all have a stake in this conflict. Why though has it taken so long to get to this point at the expense of so many ordinary Aleppans?The operation was repeated several times as slowly each enclave was emptied. It marked a historic watershed in Syria’s protracted civil war, handing President Assad a victory that was fervently celebrated by the crowds looking on. 
In government-controlled Aleppo there was little sympathy for rebel fighters who many characterise as simply “terrorists”.‘Ali’, who preferred not to give his full name, told me: “People are tired of these rebels. The people of west Aleppo have been living in horror for five years.'
This is an English parson (priest)Andrew Ashdown, who's in Aleppo and who says he visited the refugees unannounced by taxi, without a minder. Meanwhile David Miliband in New York says the regime are going from house to house killing civilians.

'The sense of relief amongst the thousands of refugees is palpable.All were keen to talk, and we interviewed several who had arrived only yesterday and today. They all said the same thing. They said that they had been living in fear. They reported that the fighters have been telling everyone that the Syrian Army would kill anyone who fled to the West, but had killed many themselves who tried to leave – men, women and children. One woman broke down in tears as she told how one of her sons was killed by the rebels a few days ago, and another kidnapped. They also killed anyone who showed signs of supporting the Government. The refugees said that the ‘rebels’ told them that only those who support them are “true Muslims”, and that everyone else are ‘infidels’ and deserve to die.

They told us they had been given very little food: that any aid that reached the area was mostly refused to them or sold at exorbitant prices. Likewise, most had been given no medical treatment. (A doctor who has been working with the refugees for weeks told me last night that in an area recently liberated, a warehouse filled with brand new internationally branded medicines had been discovered.) Most of the refugees said they had had members of their families killed by the rebels and consistently spoke of widespread murder, torture, rape and kidnap by the rebels. They said if anyone left their homes, their properties and belongings were confiscated and stolen.

One old man in a wheelchair who was being given free treatment in the Russian Field Hospital said he had been given no treatment for three years despite asking. He said: “Thank God we are free. We now have food. We can now live our lives. God bless the Syrian Army.” They all said they were glad to be out and to be free. All the refugees without exception were visibly without exception clearly profoundly relieved and happy to be free. One woman said: “This is heaven compared to what we have been living.” We asked if the Syrian Army had ill-treated anyone. They said never. One woman said: “They helped us to escape and they provide us with food and assistance.” '

What Mr. Ashdown wrote a few days ago from Aleppo was repeating what government people had told him and describing places his minders took him. This, however, is good stuff.

What news we have had from Eastern Aleppo for years was from rebel sources which were repeated by the Western media pretty uncritically. Let's see what more we find out now.

A year ago a former British ambassador to Syria said "most of the opposition" is made up of "jihadis", the 'moderate rebels' were just 'a footnote', British policy on Syria was wrong and Russia's right

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Discerning truth and falsehood in the Aleppo story

The story about government forces killing 80 civilians in Eastern Aleppo could be true but is completely unsupported by any evidence, even circumstantial.

Both the Assad regime and the rebels, naturally, spend much money and effort on PR but with this difference. The rebels' PR is repeated in the Western press as objective testimony from 'non-combatant activists', while Western journalists who repeat the story the Syrian government wants to get out, like the utterly unnuanced Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, are vilified as Lord Haw Haws.

Both young women were previously in Gaza. Eva Bartlett reported from there a story that Hamas approved. Had she been critical of Hamas, she would have had to sling her hook sharpish. I am not sure if Vanessa Beeley wrote about Gaza or not. Now they take Assad's side as previously they took Hamas's.

The Syrian civil war became a long time ago part of the conflict between Israel and the Shia states against Iran and Russia. Pro and anti-Israel attitudes colour many people's view of Syria.

Still both ladies appear to be independent and truthful in the narrow sense that they believe that they are telling the true story. Their story should be heard.

Actually, most journalism is repeating the story of someone who has his own agenda. This applies, as we have seen, even to crime stories released by the British police.

Funnily enough, I found myself in a bar in Beirut in October 2014 being stood a drink by a nice Syrian who told me he was a communications specialist who had been hired by Bashir Assad.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Patrick Cockburn: The only alternative to Assad is Isis or Nusra

Click here for an interesting article in The independent by Patrick Cockburn who says

Though Putin is much demonised in the West, the enthusiasm of Western governments to get rid of Assad has ebbed steadily, as it became clear that the only alternative to him was Isis or Nusra.

Why then did Hillary Clinton say eight weeks ago that toppling Assad was her top priority? I suppose it doesn't matter now, but why is regime change British government policy?

Assad and his government are guilty of unspeakable cruelty, as is Russia, but so are Isis and Nusra. At least with Assad Christians will remain in Syria. Without the regime all will flee.

The left-wing papers today deplore Western leaders going soft on Vladimir Putin, but they do not criticise the Syrian rebels or the Saudi intervention in Yemen. 

They should deplore Theresa May, who knows almost nothing about world affairs, humiliating (symbolically emasculating) the Foreign Secretary for saying the Saudis were conducting proxy wars in Syria and Iraq. A schoolboy knows that this is true. A war is going on in Syria and Iraq between the Sunni and Shia powers, Russia backing the Shias and the US, Britain and France siding hesitantly with the Sunnis.

I am interested that Patrick Cockburn also says that the US are closely involved in the fighting to take Mosul and in helping the Kurds against Turkey.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Morally disgusting people praise Castro

Before the Castro tributes, the last time left-wingers were so funny was when Marchais, Yasser Arafat and the others welcomed the Moscow coup in 1991.

But it's not just the left. The BBC are kinder to Castro than they were to Lady Thatcher when she died:

“His critics accused him of being a dictator.”
The Lord Mayor of Dublin has opened a Book of Condolence for Fidel Castro to allow the people of Dublin to "pay their own respects", which is reminiscent of Eamonn de Valera signing the book of condolences in the German Embassy in 1945 on the death of Hitler.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Juncker, Hollande and Corbyn praise Castro, Trump rejoices

European Commission - Statement

Statement by President Juncker on the passing away of Fidel Castro

Brussels, 26 November 2016
Fidel Castro was one of the historic figures of the past century and the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution. With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many. He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond. Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century. His legacy will be judged by history. 
I convey my condolences to the Cuban President Raúl Castro and his family and to the people of Cuba

He has not so far gone as far as Eamonn De Valera who signed the book of condolence at the German embassy on Adolf Hitler's death.  

French President Francois Hollande has mourned the loss the "towering" former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, while noting concerns over human rights under his regime.

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hailed Fidel Castro as a “champion of social justice”, following the announcement of the former Cuban leader’s death, admitted there were “flaws” in the revolutionary leader’s long rule over the Caribbean island, but praised him as a “huge figure of modern history”.

Mr Corbyn said: 
“Fidel Castro’s death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th century socialism. From building a world class health and education system, to Cuba’s record of international solidarity abroad, Castro’s achievements were many.For all his flaws, Castro’s support for Angola played a crucial role in bringing an end to Apartheid in South Africa, and he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.”
President Barack Obama said: 
“We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

The BBC praised Castro's health care programme and role in fighting the apartheid South African regime, without mentioning mass murder, political prisoners or Cubans celebrating his death. Welfare has taken the place of freedom (and religion) in the minds of many people.

In fact South Africans of all races can be grateful that the National Party regime held on long enough to save them from Castro-style communism.

I don't recall Pinochet getting this treatment and yet Pinochet, not more brutal than Castro, was the saviour of his country and made it the prosperous First World economy it is today. He also stepped down after losing a referendum.

And Donald Trump called Castro a "brutal dictator".

A Facebook friend commented: You know what? I think Donny's going to work out just fine.
Donald Trump also said:

"While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve,"

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The purpose of a nation is to exclude people

The purpose of a nation, like any other club, or like any house or dwelling, is to exclude people. This is its raison d'être. Discuss.

Excluding others is one important purpose of states, rather than countries, I suppose. I am not sure countries or nations should have purposes. I rather think they shouldn't.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

This is only the start of a religious war

"A world is collapsing before our eyes," tweeted the French ambassador to the USA, Gerard Araud, as it became clear Trump had won. He deleted it later but he was right, of course. As I watched, I suddenly felt sure that the election of Trump, with all his grave faults, was a last-minute victory for common sense in America and Europe.
But, if I hadn't thought that then, the reaction of his opponents in the USA and in Europe would have convinced me. One or two of the craziest American 'liberals' talk of resistance (armed?) or of killing Trump. 

The New York Times ran a piece by Californian Daniel Duane who said of his fellow Californians, "nearly everyone I know would vote yes tomorrow if we could secede" from the United States. These are the people who are horrified by Confederate flags.

The mainstream liberals compare the result to September 11 and routinely compare the President elect to Hitler or Mussolini. The liberal papers print misleading nonsense and untruths, while complaining about fake (conservative) news, which Twitter is trying to suppress by blocking Breitbart writers etc. 

Liberal tears were enjoyable, but now the power of the liberal American establishment begins to frighten me.
Trump and his first appointments are extremely Philo-Semitic and supportive of Israel, intend scrapping the accommodation with Iran (which saddens me) and yet are accused of being Anti-Semites, without any rational grounds.
Gerard Baker in the Spectator said that condemnation of Trump’s victory was taken up like the call of the muezzin from the media’s minarets.
"Much of New York City stumbled around in the fog of mourning. The principal of the school to which a colleague sends his child sent a note to parents explaining how the school would lead their children through their grief. ‘And now when we most want to weep and mourn, we must come to work and be a source of both solace and inspiration to all our young students,’ it said." 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Why Aren't I 50 Points Ahead You Might Ask?

"Reality is not always probable, or likely." - Jorge Luis Borges

I was more or less neutral  before the result but influenced by Rod Liddle, who told me on Tuesday evening that Trump was probably the lesser evil by a whisker. Watching in the early hours of Wednesday, I found myself delighted when he won so many states he wasn't supposed to have a chance in. I now think he will be good. After all, he has defied expectations all along.
He has proved to be a remarkably good politician and a salesman of genius who likes to win. He has achieved something huge by both both the two parties, the Clinton machine, the Bush machine, the religious right and the bipartisan establishment. Now he may get sideline the climate change industry and institute a rational immigration policy.
I think he'll choose good people and astonish the world by his reasonableness, though I fear he may be too reasonable.
This is the first time an obviously unpleasant man has won a presidential election since ...when?
Johnson maybe (before my time) but he got in because of Kennedy's murder. Nixon though crooked was not so repellent as Trump. Before that, the 19th century I suppose.
Hillary of course was even more unlikable.
People who have had business dealings with Trump testify to how unpleasant he is though he is said to be charming at dinner parties.But the coarseness he displayed throughout he campaign was I suddenly see a brilliant act to appeal to the voters he wanted and to provide endless free advertising.
And he addressed a sassy feminist journalist at a press conference as 'beautiful'. This might be the end of PC. And only someone as uninhibited and unafraid of causing offence as he (can't think of such a person offhand) could end PC.
What I like is that he won despite a chaotic and amateur campaign and hopeless organisation. This meant his movement was a people's revolt.
And he is the nearest to a Pat Buchanan that we can hope for.
It was a remarkable victory and a landslide even though he lost narrowly the popular vote. Had the electoral college not existed the campaign would have been fought in another way, Never trump voters who lived in safe blue states would have voted for him and he would still have won.
The big question - have the Northern non-graduates left the Democrats for good as the Southerners had by 1980?
It's interesting that the Republican candidates for the nomination had to make a pledge to support the nominee (devised because it was feared Trump might run as a third party candidate. Bush and for some time Cruz refused to honour this. People said that trump would refuse to accept the result and now some Democrats are asking the Electoral College to vote in Hillary. The wheel of fortune turns.
What clinched victory? The FBI reopening the email case, Obamacare subs going up 25%, Black Lives Matter, Hillary's 'deplorables' remark, her pantsuits? I suspect that the two reasons, even though America is inward looking, may have been Angela Merkel's decision to enable an invasion of Europe by asylum seekers and the ISIS atrocities.

Brexit and Trump are very different, but both show that the left's and centre left's irrational attachment to open borders may keep them out of power for the foreseeable future. However, I am not sure they are capable of changing.

I think Trump's victory is good news for America and Europe

Reality is not always probable, or likely. Jorge Luis Borges 

It's true Trump's win has sparked an increase in racist rhetoric, but we can hope this vilification of white voters will eventually abate. Ann Coulter

I stopped supporting him after the groping allegations. I was more or less neutral before the result but influenced by Rod Liddle who told me Trump was probably the lesser evil by a whisker. Watching in the early hours of Wednesday, I found myself delighted when he won so many states he wasn't supposed to have a chance in.
I had assumed Hillary Clinton would win yet when results came in they seemed oddly unsurprising. I now think he will be good. After all, he has defied expectations all along.

He has proved to be a remarkably good politician and a salesman of genius, who likes to win. He has achieved something huge by overcoming both the two parties, the Clinton machine, the Bush machine, the religious right and the bipartisan establishment. Now he may get to sideline the climate change industry and institute a rational immigration policy.

I think he'll choose good people and astonish the world by his reasonableness, though I fear he may be too reasonable.

This is the first time an obviously unpleasant man has won a presidential election since ...when?

Johnson maybe (before my time) but he got in because of Kennedy's murder. Nixon though crooked was not so repellent as Trump. Before that the 19th century I suppose.

Hillary of course was even more unlikable.

People who have had business dealings with Trump testify to how unpleasant he is, though he is said to be charming at dinner parties. But the coarseness he displayed throughout he campaign was, I suddenly see, a brilliant act to appeal to the voters he wanted and to provide endless free advertising.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The view from India: 'Trump's victory and Brexit are the West girding its loins to face off the Wahhabi threat'

Here is a very interesting Indian view of Donald Trump's victory.
Under a Trump presidency, expect a profound rearrangement of the world order. This is Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations playing out. First it was Brexit, for essentially the same reasons. Now it’s Trump. The West is girding its loins to face off the Wahhabi threat that has arisen. It has no patience for a hoity-toity liberal elite that only gets in the way and compromises the West’s economic and social vitality. Americans are ready to put America first. That’s why Trump won.
Facebook fascinatingly shows you how the liberal elite think. An example is this comment left just now on someone's wall:
We had the demented moral relativism of the left making excuses for 9/11 and other such acts of terror, now we're seeing the demented moral relativism of the right defending Trump. This will show a lot of hypocrites up at least, there will be plenty who make excuses for one and not the other. We should come up with a name for them...
Find an equivalence between defending Mr. Trump and murdering 3,000 people and then complain about demented moral relativism. Isn't it wonderful? And people like that think Trump supporters are stupid.

And don't understand why the Donald was elected.

Someone else on Facebook yesterday opined:

This is the worst day in the entire history of the nation; worse than Pearl Harbor, worse than 9-11, worse than JFK's assassination.
How painful the next four years are going to be for these people, whether President Trump succeeds, as we must hope, or fails.  

Another reason Trump won

A lot of the craziness comes from cultural/ethnic issues—rural White Americans who feel they are losing their country, and they are right. They are losing their country. In the end, the power they now have will go away, but it’s a very difficult and dangerous time until then. 
That was the annoying Nobel prize winner and political polemicist Paul Krugman, in 2014. 

Professor Krugman, nevertheless, was shocked by the election result and took it hard. He tweeted:

I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did. I have warned that we could become a failed state, but didn't realize 1

that it wasn't just the radicalism of the GOP, but deep hatred in a large segment of the population. How do we move forward? 2/

This tweet elicited the reply:

Yeah it's almost like when you deliberately try to destroy an entire group of people, they get mad.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The phrase "épater les bourgeois" might have been invented for this moment

Social media on Trump

Ann Coulter ‏@AnnCoulter 14 Nov 2015
They can wait if they like until next November for the actual balloting, but Donald Trump was elected president tonight.

'This is like Brexit in at least this respect: The morning after, lots of people will be staring into their coffee and wondering how screaming insults at people didn't win them over.'

John Rentoul tweeted:
My fellow members of the metropolitan liberal elite: let's stop insulting the US electorate and try to work out why, shall we?

Latin American Trump

Ironically, Trump seems like he will be a rather Latin American leader. A populist in the Morales mould.

It wasn't about Hillary

Till last night I thought any Democrat but Hillary could easily beat Trump. Now I don't. 

It was a revolt against what Democrats and the GOP had become, against globalism. Bernie was part of the revolt too, but he could not have won. Biden has a down to earth, avuncular quality and is a nice man (though it's hard to respect a man who says he's a Catholic but backs abortion), but it wasn't about personalities. Except in that Trump's amazing coarseness and dangerous outspokenness was what made people see him as the antidote to identity politics.

Please remember that what we make of Trump is filtered through the American press, that is horrified by him (there are simply no words) and the European press that is always horrified by Republicans. 

In 2000 George W Bush was treated in the European media as a potentially dangerous idiot, who hadn't visited Europe. In the end, it tuned out that he had once, as a teenager with his mother and father on holiday. Reagan was always regarded in Europe as a dangerous fool, throughout his eight years in the White House.

Why Trump won

I am tired after only three hours' sleep last night but instead of blogging give you this from a very interesting article by Scott McConnell in 'The American Conservative'. The whole piece is here.

On some issues, establishment liberal opinion had moved so far to the left as to be unrecognizable. As blogger Steve Sailer noted, in 2000 the New York Times editorial page opposed amnesty for illegal aliens both because it would encourage more illegal immigration and because it would have deleterious effects on the employment and wages of lower-income native-born Americans. Sixteen years later, when Trump suggested that the core of immigration policy should be concern for its impact on the well-being of Americans, he was denounced as a raving bigot by the same New York Times...............

There is, of course, much racism in American history, and there are enormous crimes for which Europe continues to strive to atone. But neither anti-racism nor respect for other cultures should be turned into a national or civilizational suicide pact. Here what Irving Kristol famously wrote about Sen. Joseph McCarthy comes to mind: “There is one thing that the American people know about Senator McCarthy: he like them is unequivocally anti-Communist. About the spokesmen for American liberalism, they feel they know no such thing.”

In the now global faceoff between Western civilization versus mass immigration fused with multiculturalism, Kristol’s words describe with uncanny accuracy the dichotomy between Donald Trump and his supporters on one hand and those most feverishly denouncing him on the other. Among the former, for all their faults, are those who want, unequivocally, Western civilization to survive. About the latter, no such thing is certain.

Revolutions bring odd people like Trump to power

NC called for Trump. It does look like he will win. What a revolutionary year 2016 is like 1989 and 1789.

Trump is a demagogue and unknown quality but this is a non violent revolution. Revolutions bring odd people to power. Demographics probably made this the last time something like this could happen. I suppose the 1933 election was the last comparable election but the New Deal was largely a cut and paste of Hoover's policies.

It's partly a revolt by women against feminism and whites against mass immigration. The Trump voters don't think Trump is a good candidate but he is a battering ram with which to force a citadel.

Of course Trump is not far right or even right at all but Andrew Neil compares him to Orban and the Greek communist-ish government.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Is the decadent West in terminal decline?

An article in Xinhua, the state-controlled Chinese news agency said that the US election shows 
the twisted mentality of an empire moving downhill.
That makes sense, though I think it is Europe that is in decline much more than America.

Christopher Booker in the Telegraph thinks the same. In an article headlined

It doesn't matter who wins the US election. The decadent West is in terminal decline
he says :
...Britons of the early Fifties could see the society this revolution has now brought about, with half of our children born out of wedlock, same-sex marriage, the all-pervasive cult of empty celebrity, the rise of intolerant “political correctness”, the woefully diminished standing of our politicians, our ever-rising sea of national debt, they would reel back in horror at our “decadence”.
The period since 2000 has been as dramatic as the one 1985-2000. The disastrous wars of the last fifteen years have diminished the standing of the West, while its economic dominance of the world lessens. The euro, immigrants and terrorism pose huge, insoluble problems for Europe. 

This reminds me of historians Neagu Djuvara's and Bernard Lewis's conviction that Europe's inescapable destiny is to become Muslim.

The fact that Europe, more united than at any time since the fall of Rome, feels it requires American, British and Canadian help to defend itself is very telling.

I increasingly feel that we may be living in a period like the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the golden age where Gibbon starts his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Come to think of it, there is something of an outlandish late Roman emperor about Donald Trump, perhaps a rich wheat importer who got his position in an auction held by the Praetorian guard. 

As Goldsmith put it,
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.

Europe has been in relative decline since the late 19th century and no longer enjoys the ascendancy that it once did, measured in all ways, over the rest of the world. Clearly this process is continuing. On the other hand, Europeans are enjoying in many ways a golden age, as are most parts of the world, measured not only in material but in many other terms.

But think how few great men Europe (and the West in general) has produced since 1945, outside the spheres of technology, medicine and hard science. Who are the great writers, painters, composers, philosophers?

Christianity is flourishing in Africa, China and Korea, but Islam is flourishing in Europe. Europe is flourishing vicariously in the former British colonies of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but they are becoming much less European, less Christian and more multicultural. The old order changeth.

Few conservatives in England want Trump to win

A lot of Americans who like Donald Trump assume that British people who voted for Brexit also want Mr. Trump to win. In fact this is not so. 

According to a Gallup polls of 32 countries, 15% of British voters want Mr. Trump to win, 64% want Mrs Clinton and 21% don't know. I am told most committed UKIP supporters want Donald Trump to win but UKIP polls around 6% of the British electorate. Most people who voted for Brexit therefore do not want Mr. Trump. 

I live in Romania but I know that to most Britons he seems terrifying. We rarely respect American presidents because they are so different from our leading politicians, for many reasons to do with very different cultures and to do with our parliamentary system. Kennedy, George H W Bush, Obama and Romney were the sort of men who at a stretch seemed imaginable as British Prime Ministers - possibly Clinton and more easily Gore. The perpetually grinning Carter, Reagan the B-film actor, Pat Buchanan, George W Bush, Cruz, Ben Carson and Donald Trump certainly did or do not. 

This is partly about style and in Mr. Trump's case the looseness of what he says

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A tight race between two awful people, one of whom is a skilled politician

What happened to the decent Democratic party of Carter and Bill Clinton? Economics happened to it and demographics, I suppose. They gave up on working class men and the South.
The big developments in America since 1989, apart from September 11th, are the decline of religious belief and Third World immigrants. You see this with both parties.
The Republican party of Reagan is dead forever and George W Bush killed traditional American conservatism, which was never conservatism anyway but 19th century liberalism plus pork-barrelling.
Hillary would intervene in Syria which is bad - very bad. She is the war candidate and a globalist who'd fit nicely into any Western European country. She is secretive, dishonest and has no political skills beyond craftiness. Everything she touches goes wrong, most of all Libya.

I am undecided about who should win. Trump might be good. Or terrible. If the latter he would be the best thing that could happen to the Democrats and left-of-centrists around the world. He is a bad man - a twice divorced womaniser - with a controversial business record - who boasts of groping pussies. Vain, very easily distracted, a short fuse.

Still he might - already is - changing thinking worldwide about many things, most of all PC.

He addressed a woman journalist at a press conference as 'Beautiful'. This is appalling or magnificent depending on taste.

One term for Hillary, stymied by a Republican Congress, and then an impressive Republican POTUS who is not a globalist might be the best outcome.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Is the Pope Catholic?

'Is the Pope Catholic?' used to be a jocular way of saying something was certain. Now it almost seems like a real, not a rhetorical, question.

At least he made it clear this week that women cannot be priests. 

Trump presidency and victory for Assad might make the world safer

Former Chief of British Defence Staff Lord Richards on Syria:
“The fact is, the only way to get it to stop now is to allow Assad to win and win quickly and then turn on [ISIL] with the Russians.” 
Lord Richards also thinks Trump less warlike than Hillary (obviously). 

This is what I have been saying for a long time. The article is here. Not because I like Putin or fail to see that the Assad is monstrous and ha\s committed far more terrible crimes even than ISIS at least in Syria.

The article is here.

God Save the Queen

On the BBC's main political news programme, Newsnight, presenter Kirsty Wark's response to an MP's suggestion that the BBC should play God Save the Queen at close down every night, as they used always to do, was to play the Sex Pistols singing their version of God Save the Queen. 

All stuff the BBC was, of course, far too terrified to broadcast when it came out 40 years ago. A song that offends the sort of people who vote Tory or even voted for Brexit, so of no concern to the BBC.

The BBC, paid for by all TV users, doesn't understand why people say it is biased to the left or should be abolished.

Romanians would be outraged if the state TV did something like this - but in Eastern Europe people think like normal human beings and have not become decadent.

No outrage in the British press - where are the mauve faced retired majors of yesteryear?

The BBC in fact used to be very reverential about just one British institution, the monarchy. No longer. 

In fact the BBC still is reverential - but about foreigners not the Queen. Compare the way they treated and treat Nelson Mandela. The mourning on the BBC on his death made my friend Sean Gabb compare it with the official mourning in the USSR on the death of Stalin.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary neck and neck! Oh my fur and whiskers!

I started the morning with the BBC World Service, pro-immigrant and pro-Hillary. 'This is bad news' said the newsreader at the end of an item about low black turnout in early voting in Florida, adding as an afterthought, "for Hillary". Some woman is saying "I have seen her comfort children who are scared their parents will be deported." That remark perfectly encapsulates why people who like Trump do so.

Another woman says: "Imagine a president 
[Trump] whom it's so easy to rile up. That's a much better point."

It's not the bias so much as the perfectly objective reporting from the Jungle at Calais that shows the essentially pro-migrant point of view of the BBC. The accurate, uncritical reporting of the migrants and the activists trying to help them get into England.

Yet the Jungle doesn't even matter - more migrants than are in the Jungle are entering Europe day by day without discussion, except when activists say they are in some way being mistreated.

If you only follow the news that has happened and ignore what's going to happen you miss surprisingly little. Turning from speculation about the US election the really interesting news today is that 20% of the world's population is on Facebook.

The evening before last a Labour-supporting novelist who's my Facebook friend was deploring 'how they will furnish the White House'. 'Will' not 'would'. I went to Google news and saw the extraordinary improvement in Trump's numbers.

Am I wavering, having decided that he just won't do?

He'd badly damage US prestige. And he's a ghastly man, vain, touchy, self-interested and a demagogue. But he has created and given voice to a very important social movement and would change the zeitgeist. He would be the anti Angela Merkel.

Hillary is much safer than Trump and, after all, I thought Obama was mediocre but OK. Bill was fairly good.

But she is not her husband or Obama. She is very bad news. It will be four years of scandals, but not even interesting scandals. Four years of the emails. I don't know if I have the strength.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Trollope was a sort of literary Canaletto

Anthony Trollope was a sort of literary Canaletto. 

Here he is talking to George Eliot about how he wrote his novels.

Parliamentary rule is the key to Britain's greatness

'After many European disappointments, we have rediscovered the key to our national success, which is not imperial, but parliamentary.' Charles Moore today in this article.

6 quotations

Interviewer: Could I ask you what failings in individuals, in others, you could most readily excuse?

Evelyn Waugh: Drunkenness.

Interviewer: Any others? Or are you so severe?

EW: (Slight pause) Anger. Lust. Dishonouring their father and mother. Coveting their neighbour's ox, ass, wife. Killing. I think there is almost nothing I can't excuse, except perhaps worshipping graven images. That seems idiotic.

Seven reasons to raise a child in Romania,and one reason not to

Romania is a wonderful place in which to bring up children, as this article "Seven reasons to raise a child in Romania, and one reason not to" suggests. The author, Debbie Stowe, could have added that private tutors are very cheap and you can easily pay for 1 to 1 full time tuition (EUR 300 a month should cover it) plus pay for extra things like Greek. Children play in the street, start conversations with passing adults and grow up in a civilised 1950s country - that is worth more than rubies. They grow up without feminist and PC indoctrination. Most people take the existence of God for granted.

Debbie neglects to say that Romanian children are left at home alone at a young age. Pace Debbie, thankfully not too many are taken to restaurants, which is a scourge in other Latin countries. Many children are just handed over to grandmothers.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Hard Brexit is a liberal solution

I think hard Brexit, low taxes and low regulations could be a success. And pure nineteenth century liberalism. Unsurprisingly the Liberal Democrats are passionately opposed.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The greater the truth, the greater the libel: European report says British politicians failed to control the press

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), part of the Council of Europe, has issued a report criticising the British media for using 

offensive, discriminatory and provocative terminology
and blamed it for a supposed rise in racist and xenophobic attacks (in fact there wasn't one) after the Brexit vote.

It cited Katie Hopkins’ article in The Sun, where she likened refugees to “cockroaches” with the headline: 

Rescue boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants.
The report urged the press to “take stock of the importance of responsible reporting, not only to avoid perpetuating prejudice and biased information, but also to avoid harm to targeted persons or vulnerable groups”. It specifically mentioned that the fuelling of prejudice against Muslims “showed a reckless disregard… for their safety” and complained that politicians have failed to control the press'
Have failed to control the press...
Political control of the press in England lapsed in the reign of King William III but is likely to make a comeback unless we are very lucky. Human rights are the enemy of freedom of speech, as of many other freedoms.

Camille Paglia on Donald Trump

But people want change and they’re sick of the establishment — so you get this great popular surge, like you had one as well… This idea that Trump represents such a threat to western civilisation — it’s often predicted about presidents and nothing ever happens — yet if Trump wins it will be an amazing moment of change because it would destroy the power structure of the Republican party, the power structure of the Democratic party and destroy the power of the media. It would be an incredible release of energy… at a moment of international tension and crisis.

Ancestral voices prophesying war in Syria

I do not like Putin's regime at all, absolutely do not condone what he has done in Ukraine, am aware of the war crimes of the Syrian government which Putin supports, but I see no sense in the UK or USA getting involved in Syria. I want the war in Syria to end as quickly as possible. And I note that the people who are most worried about Russia, like Anne Applebaum, Edward Lucas, The Economist, the European Commission etc are often the people least worried about migrants, Islam and Islamists, mass immigration into Europe - and wonder if this is a coincidence.

Russia has a GDP smaller than South Korea's. We accord them far too much importance. They are not the threat people think. I start to think the EU, which is a force for good in Eastern Europe, is more of a danger to Western Europe

How Romanians view Brexit

A few Romanians think it's magnificent of Britain to decide to leave the EU, but most are displeased, many very angry, because the only reason they can imagine why we are leaving is because of dislike of Eastern European immigrants. This hurts them all the more since the UK has so many non-white citizens.

They think we are even more arrogant then they already believed (which was very). They mostly don't believe that we simply want to make our own laws.

Among the politicians there is unhappiness about losing an ally at Brussels and incomprehension that we are leaving just because of a referendum. Referendum results in Romania are often simply ignored. Or even rigged. The result of the EU referendum here was widely believed to be rigged (so that the minimum turnout threshold was reached).

And Romanian politicians do not understand why David Cameron called a referendum just because he won an election on a promise to do so.

It all makes you proud to be British.

They also mostly think we won't really leave. And the lesson I draw is that no-one ever understands another country's politics.

'Vast' EU immigration was a 'MISTAKE', admits multiculturalism expert

I don't usually read the Express, though my grandmother read it, but this article was posted on Facebook by a Romanian who was incensed by it. She was angry that a British Muslim was suggesting that too many Eastern European migrants had come to the UK.

This is a very common complaint from Romanians. Why do we British accept Pakistanis but do not like Romanians?

Dr Uberoi, the 'expert in multiculturalism', thinks the UK voted to leave the EU because we were going through 'darker times' and were in the grip of morbid emotions. It sounds like a collective psychosis of some sort. Clearly he is in some ways an ass. But he also says something interesting, that what is remarkable is that after 43 years no emotional arguments were deployed in the referendum campaign for staying in the EU. The arguments on the Remain side 

“ weren’t about ‘we want to be with these people, we are part of Europe, we cannot sever this connection’ – those types of arguments… despite 40 years of union, didn’t exist.”
He is right - the arguments adduced by Remain were mostly economic, as they were in the 1975 referendum.  He might have added that even the economic arguments were pretty well purely negative. 

He might also have added that the reason why those arguments were not made is because politicians thought that they would not have found an echo in the hearts of voters.

The one non-economic argument occasionally heard was that being in the EU helped maintain peace in Europe. But this was clearly not true.

The reasons why we are leaving and other countries are not are complex, but the biggest reason is that we had a referendum and they didn't.

The comments to the Express article are interesting, as comments on articles about immigration always are. This caught my attention.

CHRISTIANS should be encouraged to marry Muslims as a way of tackling Islamophobia, a senior peer claimed today. Lord Scott, a former Supreme Court Judge, cited his own family - in which two of his four children married Muslims - as an example of how interfaith families can thrive. The peer, who sits as a crossbencher in the Lords, made the comments during a debate on how to improve relations between the Muslim community and other faith groups in the UK. He said: "Of my two sons one has become a Muslim and of my two daughters one of those has become a Muslim, and I have 12 lovely grandchildren, seven of whom are little Muslims..."I do just wonder that if an improvement is needed between the faith groups, one way of promoting that might be to encourage interfaith marriages."

Although polls suggest that immigration was not the primary reason for the Brexit vote immigration is an issue that naturally people feel intensely about - more so than even their standard of living. 25% of people asked in a survey in 2014 said that they would like ALL immigrants to be deported. 23% didn't answer the question. See p 17 of the survey here. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


Translations are like mistresses ... the faithful ones are apt to be ugly and the beautiful ones false. Ogden Nash

What would happen to the earth if the moon blew up tomorrow? Nothing. It is a social construct that needs to be fearlessly confronted. Alex Woodcock-Clarke

Did Abraham Lincoln want to deport people too?

The joke American Republicans are telling is that if Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he would vote for Trump. But since he's dead, he will most likely be voting for Hillary.

But how would Lincoln vote if he were alive today? 

I understand why people, including Republicans, say it's wrong that the party of Lincoln should nominate Donald Trump. He is of course less a Republican than a sort-of Democrat. However, Donald Trump's promise to deport illegal immigrants would be unlikely to deter Lincoln from voting for his party. Abe, after deciding to free the slaves, originally wanted to send all the freed slaves to Central America. 

It is not clear whether he had in mind deporting them. He hoped they would leave voluntarily.

In 1862, Lincoln invited a delegation of black men to the White House, the first time African Americans had been invited to the White House, to suggest this. He told them:
"Your race are suffering, in my judgment, the greatest wrong inflicted on any people. But even when you cease to be slaves, you are cut off from many of the advantages which the other race enjoys. The aspiration of man is to enjoy equality with the best when free; but on this broad continent not a single man of your race is made the equal of a single man of ours.
...It is better for us both, therefore, to be separated. There is an unwillingness on the part of our people, harsh as it may be, for you free coloured people to remain...." Continued here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Dad's Army and the Matter of Britain

The death of Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army, prompts me to repost this article about the TV programme and the British myth. Since I wrote it, the referendum that David Cameron offered to prevent Tory voters defecting to UKIP has changed British history. It is once again ourselves alone - apart from, that is, Nato and the Americans.

Jonathan Freedland has written a thought-provoking, if condescending, article in The Guardian, likening Nigel Farage, the leader of the British Eurosceptic party UKIP, to Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army. I think Private Walker is more apposite but let that pass.  (If you don't know the programme it is pointless for me to explain but you might enjoy this.)

I prefer to point out that Captain Mainwaring, Pooterish, self-important, ridiculous, was a hero, whereas his much more agreeable adjunct, Sergeant Wilson, intelligent, suave, funny and upper middle-class, was weak. Mainwaring would have laid down his life for his country. Wilson would have been a defeatist, perhaps a quisling, had the Germans conquered Sussex, at least if not carefully watched by Mainwaring. 

Actually, the real myth bequeathed by the Second World War is that fascism is still a great danger or will be in Europe in the next twenty years. Evil morphs. The nearest thing to a fascist threat today and for the foreseeable future comes from Muslim extremists, not anti immigration parties.

Going to war with Germany with 1939 was in any case catastrophic for Britain, for the country we ostensibly went to war to save, Poland, for our ally France - and for the whole world. This truth is obscured by heroic myths. Continued here.