Monday 24 December 2018

No deal is the least bad deal but I do not think it will happen

'If the EU has – for whatever reasons - decided that it’s time to treat Britain like the captive in a Stephen King novel, isn’t it best to tiptoe away when we still have the chance? Mrs May’s proposed transition deal and the accompanying backstop would, as the Attorney General has established, be indefinite. We’d have to accept the EU’s trade terms, or leave Northern Ireland behind. And if we think Brexit looks like a mess now, just wait until we have been through two more years of these talks - but this time, having given away the money.
'This, I suspect, is why the Cabinet is now coming around to the idea of leaving the EU without a trade agreement: the no-deal option.The World Trade Organisation rules we would default to keep tariffs pretty low. To Brussels, payment of tariffs might be punishment enough. Before too long, we could soon be in talks about upgrading to a Canada-style free trade deal - but, crucially, on our terms. We can offer scholarships, generous immigration quotas and, in general, start rebuilding relations with Europe and skip the two years (or more) of punishment beatings masquerading as trade talks.
'And the scale of the no-deal disruption? It’s hard to tell because of hysteria, claim and counter-claim. Border chaos is not inevitable if, as French officials have said, fewer than one in a hundred trucks would have to be checked at Calais. Common sense arrangements on aircraft, driving licenses and even expat pensioners have already been agreed. In its list of disaster scenarios, the Irish government this week considers the possibility that British companies thrive under no-deal, especially if the pound becomes more competitive, posing a risk to Irish rivals. Its “highest priority” is not building a hard border, and we would not build one either. Technology would do the work.'

I agree with Fraser Nelson, who wrote the above, that leaving the EU with no deal is the least bad option. I could however live with Norway, for a time, though not Norway plus. I fear though that Mrs May's deal which is not a deal at all will win. She has persistence. Along with vindictiveness and a wish to boss the country around it is her salient characteristic.

Satire died

Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has written many detective stories that are really satires, told me the other night it is impossible to write satire any more. Reading this story about someone saying that the new actor to play James Bond should be transgender made me feel that she is not exaggerating but part of me thinks that he is joking.


“Arguing with a woman is like reading the Software License Agreement. In the end, you ignore everything and click I agree.”

Eyden I., "Kiss Friendzone Goodbye"

"The artist is not a freak or an oracle or a genius. In fact, the artist is at the epicenter of normality. Poets are wounded in the same ways as everyone else, but with one particular distinction--they are not wounded to the point of speechlessness. Instead, they are wounded into speech. Their job, unlike the roles assigned to most of us, is not to conceal or to disguise their woundedness, but make it glaringly evident. Poets are useful to the culture precisely to the extent that their experience is representative--representative, and murderously frank."

Tony Hoagland's essay, "The Poet As Wounded Citizen" in the December issue of The Writer's Chronicle.

Ain't no drone

The Gatwick drone, which stopped flights from Gatwick airport for days, is as real as the St. Osyth lion or the woman hitchhiker with hair on the back of her hands and an axe in her handbag to whom my mother's hairdresser's customer gave a lift, a putative transgender murderer/ess. That story briefly excited the Metropolitan Police until they found out that the axe lady had been reported accepting lifts up and soen the country for years.

But the drone has given bad people ideas.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Former British Ambassador to the EU takes apart Mrs May's Brexit 'deal'

The hard part is obviously still to come whether something like Mrs May's plan goes ahead or even if it doesn't. The deal settles little.

Sir Ivan Rogers made a lengthy, highly intelligent (of course) and very depressing speech at Liverpool University (full transcript here) at the weekend, which deserves close reading.

He resigned as British ambassador to the European Union in January 2017, after what were said to be innumerable threats to do so going back before the referendum. 
Before serving Mrs May he was private secretary to Kenneth Clark and a close adviser to Messrs. Blair and Brown. He is undoubtedly a Remainer, as almost all senior civil servants are.

He it was who helped David Cameron conduct what Nick Clegg’s wife called the "Mickey mouse negotiation" with the EU, before the referendum campaign started. It was extremely unsuccessful but later Mrs Merkel offered to make more concessions because she was belatedly afraid that Britain would vote to leave. This suggests that the negotiations could have been much more successful. His advice, after the referendum, that it could take a decade for the EU to agree and ratify a comprehensive trade deal with Britain was leaked. It seems he may have been right.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Camille Paglia on Donald Trump in interview in the Spectator

Has Trump governed erratically?
Yes, that’s a fair description. It’s partly because as a non-politician he arrived in Washington without the battalion of allies, advisors, and party flacks that a senator or governor would normally accumulate on the long road to the White House. Trump’s administration is basically a one-man operation, with him relying on gut instinct and sometimes madcap improvisation. There’s often a gonzo humor to it — not that the US president should be slinging barbs at bottom-feeding celebrities or jackass journalists, much as they may deserve it. It’s like a picaresque novel starring a jaunty rogue who takes to Twitter like Tristram Shandy’s asterisk-strewn diary. Trump’s unpredictability might be giving the nation jitters, but it may have put North Korea, at least, on the back foot.
Most Democrats have wildly underestimated Trump from the get-go. I was certainly surprised at how easily he mowed down 17 other candidates in the GOP primaries. He represents widespread popular dissatisfaction with politics as usual. Both major US parties are in turmoil and metamorphosis, as their various factions war and realign. The mainstream media’s nonstop assault on Trump has certainly backfired by cementing his outsider status. He is basically a pragmatic deal-maker, indifferent to ideology. As with Bolsonaro in Brazil, Trump rose because of decades of failure by the political establishment to address urgent systemic problems, including corruption at high levels. Democrats must hammer out their own image and agenda and stop self-destructively insulting half the electorate by treating Trump like Satan.

Saturday 15 December 2018

How Nick Clegg turned me into a Leave voter

From a great article in, of all unexpected places, The Financial Times, by Merryn Somerset Webb, who normally writes about personal finance.
In early 2015 I spent an hour interviewing Nick Clegg. He turned me into a Leave voter.

How? By telling me that we have to accept that we “can’t change the reality” that there are many things in the modern world that can’t be controlled even by national governments. A national government can have “only limited control” over global trade, international crime and climate change, for example. 

He couldn’t, he said, think of an area of public policy that was now not impinged upon by some kind of global decision-making body. This made Westminster something of “a fictional universe”, one in which people “seem to think that they have power” but which is actually a “19th century toytown” in which they do not. 

For Mr Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader, this shift of power from national governments was both inevitable and reasonable. For me, as a firm believer in both the value of the nation state and the importance of maintaining the primacy of democracy over technocratic we-know-bestery, it was neither.

Friday 14 December 2018

Things people say

Just as a matter of curiosity, could any responsible government really give a categorical assurance that under no circumstances would there ever be a hard border with the next-door neighbour?
Ruth Dudley Edwards

From the beginning I’ve been a supporter of Macron and his desire to extend economic globalization. But here’s the problem: The West is experiencing a loss of relative status, due to diminished power and influence. Western societies, including France, are being transformed by immigration beyond what many of their native-born citizens had expected. The rising prominence of terror, migration and security issues have boosted some of the less salubrious sides of the right wing. Add to that mix wage stagnation and the increasingly common view — held by 91 percent in France — that today’s children will not have better lives than their parents. Finally, the decline of organized religion, especially pronounced in Western Europe, has created a spiritual vacuum and a crisis of meaning.
Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg Opinion today.

Until today, I’d assumed that those 117 Tory MPs attempted to vote her [Theresa May] out of her job because they didn’t support her. But maybe they were just trying to be kind.

Michael Deacon feeling sorry for Theresa May today in the Telegraph.

Stop caring about the Irish border - then the backstop no longer matters

Great Britain should not have used Article 50 or negotiated about our divorce bill but vetoed every EU measure we could veto till they gave us what they wanted. We should not have declined the EU presidency which we were due to take up in 2017 but used it to  freeze everything we could while until the EU came to heel. We might have droipped clear hints about leaving Nato too. 

The backstop is not the biggest problem with Mrs May's proposal. The bigger problem is that it  gives away £39 billion and then we have to rely on the EU granting us a trade deal, terms unknown, but certainly involving accepting a huge amount of EU regulations which we do not help write. 

Better alternatives: Norway (not Norway plus) temporarily or a managed or unmanaged hard Brexit.

The key to understanding is that the backstop is not needed if Mrs May forgets her stupid promise that there would be no hard border between Northern and Southern Ireland. Mrs May should have accepted the Canadian option, which she said in the House the day before yesterday she was offered by Donald Tusk - and let the Irish chips fall where they may. I am sure they will still let her do this. 

Forget the Irish border. It is not important. 

No-one will erect customs barriers along it and if they did so, which both both Eire and the UK promise they will not and which they will not need to do (because technology can solve the problem without customs officers), that would not in any way infringe the Good Friday Agreement. 

Thursday 13 December 2018

Theresa May, killer zombie, keeps moving forward

I was praying so hard that Tory MPs got rid of Theresa May, but like a killer zombie she seems dead but indestructible. She won by 200 votes to 117 in a secret ballot.

The election was called yesterday morning and was over by early evening. Her briefest of election campaigns was memorable for a big lie. She said a leadership election would take so long that Brexit would have to be postponed when she knew that, unlike the Great War whose centenary we just marked, it would be over by Christmas.

It would seem that most back-benchers voted against her, but no-one knows. Many of the cabinet may secretly have done so. She is now
the self-confessedly temporary leader of an extremely divided minority Government.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Britain is in her greatest peril since the 17th century

Journalists doorstepped David Cameron today asking him if he feels guilty about the mess he has created by calling a referendum. This is an interesting example of how anti-democratic British opinion formers are, but of course the former Prime Minister they should be mobbing is John Major. By passing up the chance to veto the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, he is responsible not only for the referendum result but for ruining the European Community.

Theresa May is a much worse leader than David Cameron (who was good in his own terms), Sir John Major, Lord North, who was in fact not that bad, or Sir Anthony Eden. To compare her with Tony Blair is to compare chalk and cheese. He was a consummate leader who did terrible things. She is, like Gordon Brown, a terrible leader but she looks to be a as ruinous or even more ruinous than Tony Blair

Thank God enough letters have gone in to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee to require a leadership election in the British Conservative Party. 

Logically that had to happen, just as logically Theresa May had to postpone the House of Commons vote in which her government's policy would have been defeated by 100 or 200 votes.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Romania is the most religious country in Europe

The Pew Research Center revealed in a report published on Wednesday that Romania is the most religious nation in Europe, judged by four criteria: the importance people ascribe to religion in their lives, regular religious practice, prayer life, and certainty of belief.

I have known this for a long time although, as Eugene Ionesco said, religion in Romania means something completely different from what it does in Catholic or Protestant countries. It is about the other world and about contemplative prayer. It is makes Romania to a Westerner so beautiful and strange.

According to the Pew Report, 64% of Romanians believe in God with absolute certainty and 50% say religion is very important in their lives. 50% also say they attend services at least monthly, but can this last be true?

Saturday 8 December 2018

Atheism usually hides a religion

Terry Eagleton reviewing 'Seven Types of Atheism' by John Gray. I think this is obvious nowadays. The whole review is here.
"Gray also believes that humanists are in bad faith. Most of them are atheists, but all they have done is substitute humanity for God. They thus remain in thrall to the very religious faith they reject. In fact, most supposedly secular thought in Gray’s view is repressed religion, from the liberalism of John Locke to the millenarian visions of the Jacobins and Bolsheviks. The popular belief that atheism and religion are opposites is, in his view, a mistake."

Croon it again: Daniel Cohn-Bendit is scandalised by French protesters

Daniel Cohn-Bendit - Danny the Red - is the man of 1968, the Parisian revolutionary, whose name everyone remembers. Even I do and I was only 6 at the time. He is now, like many far leftists, a Green Party politician. By a delicious irony that historians will relish, he has angrily condemned the Gilets Jaunes, the Yellow Jackets, as the people in the French countryside are known who are protesting against Macron's stinging taxes on diesel fuel. He said, accurately,
“I hear people from la France Insoumise [the hard left] talking about this being a great people’s revolt and how the people are speaking, but these are the same ordinary people who pushed Trump into power.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit's wonderful reaction symbolises everything about what is happening and will happen, not only in France but throughout Europe. 

The world in which we are living is the world dreamt of by the 68-ers: internationalist,

'The myth of xenophobic Britain. Take it from an immigrant: this is one of the most welcoming nations on Earth.'

A Russian British comedian who voted Remain explains how angry he is that British people think leave voters are xenophobes and explains why here in Spiked.

Routines where I ridicule the locals are often better received than jokes about Russia or my marriage. By contrast, a British comic who made fun of the locals in Russia would be the one in stitches, not the audience.

It Girl Becomes a Defender of the Catholic Faith

The New York Times has a lovely and inspiring story about the famous 1980s party girl Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis (b. 1960) and her best friend Princess Alessandra Borghese who in middle age have become fervent Catholics and love the Tridentine Mass. I mean no disrespect to either princess, who I am sure have been very chaste, but this slightly brings to mind the Baroness de Courtebiche in Gabriel Chevalier's novel Clochemerle, who at the age of 47 decided to forsake the boudoirs of fashionable Paris for the life of a devout Catholic landowner in her native village. 

Generalisations are always valuable

Generalisations are aphorisms. We need more of them. Gibbon, Macaulay, Addison, all good writers until our decadent modern age traded in them.

But today whenever Oscar Wilde (if he were not in prison for sex with young boys) were to make one of his wonderful remarks people would just reply, 'Oscar, you can't generalise'.

Thursday 6 December 2018

How to identify right-wing children in kindergartens and make them left-wing

Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, reported that a 60-page guide Ene, Mene, Muh – And You’re Out! has been issued to help kindergarten teachers and parents deal with children who had expressed racist sentiments or appeared to be indoctrinated by neo-Nazi ideology. 

In a story entitled "Row over snooping manual," Bild suggested that it was an attempt to get children to identify “Nazi parents”.

Where Great Britain is now

Allister Heath in today's Daily Telegraph:
Both sides have been terrifyingly naïve. Brexiteers thought they understood the rules: you win the referendum, the government leaves the EU. They didn’t realize the game was rigged.
The anthropological rituals and language of democracy still exist, and have even been extended in recent years, but they are now largely a charade to camouflage a massive power grab by the bureaucracy.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on love of ones people

"Love for one’s people is as natural as love for one’s family. No one can be faulted for this love, only respected. After all, no matter how much the modern world whirls and jerks about, we still aim to keep intact our family, and we hold it in special regard, suffused with sympathy. A nation is a family, too, except an order of magnitude higher in numbers. It is bound by unique internal ties: a common language, a common cultural tradition, a shared historical memory, and a shared set of problems to resolve in the future. Why, then, should the self-preservation of a people be held a sin?”
I came across this quotation in this very interesting article from the Catholic magazine, Crisis.

Wednesday 5 December 2018


"The freedom to which modern man aspires is not that of the free man, but that of the slave on his day off." Nicolás Gómez Dávila

"A society in the grip of political correctness is on the look-out for the scapegoat, who will heal its divisions, by showing that it is he, not they, that is the cause of them." Sir Roger Scruton

Christianity and feminism

Can anyone who believes the biological differences between men and women are God-given and that wives should obey husbands, as Christians do, be feminist?


"Tomorrow's world cannot exist without morals, without faith and memory. Cynicism, narrow interests and cowardice must not occupy our lives." King Michael of Romania

"A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it." Albert Einstein in a note that was sold last year at auction for $1,560,000.

"A study into the differences in maturity between genders revealed both men and women agree men remain 'immature' well into their late 30s and early 40s. But the average age at which women mature emerged as 32." Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2013

'The Labour Party is “led by people who regret the outcome of the Cold War”'. Headline for Daniel Hannan interview in The Backbencher.

December afternoon in Bucharest

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Why We Hate Each Other

This is interesting and true.

'Mr. Sasse’s assertion that loneliness is killing us takes on even darker significance in the wake of the mail-bomb campaign against critics of President Trump and the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, both of which were perpetrated by isolated — and apparently very lonely — men. Mr. Sasse’s book was published before these events, but he presciently described what he believes lonely people increasingly do to fill the hole of belonging in their lives: They turn to angry politics.

Lord Salisbury: 'Defensive and troubled EU is out of date in a fast-changing world'

The Marquess of Salisbury is my favourite living politician, just as his great great-grandfather, the Prime Minister, is my favourite dead one. In an elegant article in a super magazine called Reaction he (the living one) argues that the EU is
an ancien regime faced with the transfer of global economic power to East of Suez and, with the exception of the United Kingdom, the relative decline of the intellectual power houses that enabled Western Europe to dominate the last three centuries.

Brexit may be a shambles, but need not be

'I still travel abroad a lot of my time, and I am very conscious of how the rest of the world views this country. Contrary to what many might think, most people overseas have taken the idea of Brexit in their stride, and it has not fundamentally changed what they think of Britain. But becoming a complete shambles is another matter.

'I don’t know what will follow a decisive rejection of the deal. It could be a constitutional shambles, a second referendum shambles, a no-deal exit shambles or a Corbyn government shambles. I just know that it will be an abysmal shambles whatever would happen next. People who say that the deal is the worst of all worlds haven’t understood how bad things might get.'

William Hague in the Daily Telegraph today, arguing manfully for Mrs. May's deal. I believe that people do not think worse of Britain because of Brexit and that they will think worse of us if the outcome is a shambles, but it is clear that her deal is a shambles. I think a worse shambles than no deal. certainly a much bigger one than the Norwegian, Swiss or Canadian models which we could have copied and probably still can.

The Overton Window

Unherd is something I subscribe to. It sends me emails with interesting political articles, from a range of viewpoints from left to right. It just invited me to a debate in London, between five people, none of whom are conservatives, entitled “Immigration and Diversity Politics: A Challenge to Liberal Democracy?”

All I want to say about this is that the debate was originally on the question “Is rising ethnic diversity a threat to the West?”, until last month when the title was changed. It was changed after what is called a Twitterstorm from people who said asking such a question was inadmissible and normalised racism.

Make of this what you will, gentle reader. I just thought it worth telling you.

Sunday 25 November 2018

Robert Tombs: ‘If Brexit is finished, then so is democracy’

Robert Tombs, who supervised me in my fourth year at Cambridge, was a handsome thirty-something then. I remember he gave me an odd look when I said I found Joseph de Maistre an attractive figure. 

For some reason, Dr Tombs now has grey hair and has retired, but history is the only thing you get better at as you grow older and he is on his best form these days. His The English and Their History is a masterpiece which, like Macaulay's History of England, replaced the latest novel on the dressing tables of fashionable young ladies. 

He is on great form in this interview with the post-Trotskyite magazine Spiked. It's so good that I cannot help ignoring the laws of copyright and quoting a lot of it. Please read it all here.

Atheist school

A letter in today's Sunday Times, commenting on an article last week by a humanist about British church schools.

Natural selection 
Why don’t Roberts and her humanist friends start a free school? It could have a statue of Charles Darwin in the hall and its motto could be “Survival of the fittest”.
John Davey, Worthing

"Can 'voluntary colonialism' stop migration from Africa to Europe?" It's a great idea but the answer is no

An item from the BBC:
A controversial proposal by a German minister that foreign powers acquire land in Africa to curb migration has been rejected by the African Union, writes the BBC's Dickens Olewe.

Thank God Theresa May lost the election

Thank God that Mrs May called her unnecessary general election last year, allowed seven weeks for campaigning instead of the usual three and a half, and campaigned so appallingly that the Tories lost their majority and are dependent on the Paisleyite Democratic Unionists.

If she had at her back the majority everyone expected, of 70 or 90 MPs, her (Olly Robbins' and the civil service's) deal would go through parliament.

I did not like Margaret Thatcher in her time but miss her very badly now. Every British Tory - even every British patriot - must.

Things hang in the balance in England this weekend, but thank God that there are signs that Mrs May's terrible deal will not pass the House of Commons.

If the deal that's been agreed does go through, and it still well might at the first attempt or second, the consequences would be fatal for Britain. As a Liberal Democrat Remainer political scientist friend said to me after her terms were announced, clearly no deal is now necessary. 

I agree with him, unless a third way can be found and one does.

A Catholic shift on divorce and very much else

Anyone who is interested in the way in which Pope Francis is changing the Catholic Church should read this brief excerpt from an interview with Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, the new Superior General of the Jesuits, a position that used to be called the “Black Pope”, in the days, before the Second Vatican Council, when Jesuits were known for their fidelity to the Holy See. 

After a long gap of almost fifty years Jesuits are ultramontanes again, faithful to the first Jesuit pope, who is a typical modern Jesuit, left-wing in politics and liberal in theology.

Q: Is it also possible to question the statement in Matthew 19:3-6: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder”?
Abascal: I go along with what Pope Francis says. One does not bring into doubt, one brings into discernment. . .

Friday 23 November 2018


"My view is that if we had a second referendum tomorrow, Leave would win again. And not only would Leave win again, but Leave voters would say: what didn’t you understand about Leave the first time?" Diane Abbott, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, talking to the Nick Robinson on the BBC today. She also thinks that Mrs. May's agreement will get through. I think I'd prefer another referendum.

“Don’t be afraid of those who tell us that we cannot run our own affairs, that we have not the ingenuity to mobilise our resources and overcome our economic problems. We can do that and save the freedom of our country at the same time.” Michael Foot, 1975.

Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists

Hillary Clinton in an interview in The Guardian today.
“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame. I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message – ‘we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support’ – because if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic.”
Historians of the future will tell readers after we are dead why the political elites took so long to understand and accept that electorates do not like mass immigration. After years

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Pope Francis: 'The wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all'. Is this true?

The Pope on Sunday preached
"Let us ask for the grace to hear the cry of all those tossed by the waves of life. The cry of the poor....It is the cry of all those Lazaruses who weep while the wealthy few feast on what, in justice, belongs to all. Injustice is the perverse root of poverty."
We ought to hear the cry of the poor and friendless and others that the Pope lists. Yes the wealthy few, who include everybody without money worries in Western countries, should give away their possessions to the poor, if they do not have dependents to look after or other obligations to fulfill. But do the belongings of the wealthy few 'belong, in justice, to all'? This is something else and, in fact, a strange doctrine.

Strange for Catholics, at least. As my mentor Mgr. Alfred Gilbey said, the Catholic Church, which preaches the voluntary renunciation of worldly possessions, has always been the firmest defender of property rights.

Tuesday 20 November 2018


I wish my father (who fought for a referendum on our membership of the EU) was alive today to witness the unbelievable irony of Heseltine, Major, Blair and almost the entire establishment campaigning for... a(nother) referendum on our membership of the EU.

In 1981, the year Ronald Reagan became America's 40th President, 44.3 percent of the world lived in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1.90 per person per day). Last year, it was 9.6 percent. That's a decline of 78 percent.

"Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world."

Catholic bishops commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the feast of my patron saint, St. Edmund, King and Martyr, the King of East Anglia and English Catholic hero who was martyred in 869 at the hands of infidels invading England - from Sweden. In 869 and for many centuries thereafter the Catholic Church took a strong line against invasions and infidel migrants.

I discovered today that the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have a collective Twitter account and prefer, rather than tweet about St. Edmund or other saints, to tweet about a secular feast called the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Blasphemy and free speech

I had no time to read the ECHR judgment on the case of an Austrian who insulted the (supposed) prophet Mahomet, but it is nothing to worry about and is not a precedent for other countries. It simply upheld an Austrian law in Austria that makes insulting religions illegal. There was nothing particularly draconian about the law, either, when you bear in mind the hate speech laws that obtain in most European countries. 

People suggested that it was a sad evidence of the islamisation of Europe were mistaken. A law professor friend of mine who thought so should have known better. Move along, nothing to see.

The future Pope Francis received a damning assessment report from his superior

"Since Father Bergoglio [now Pope Francis], as a Jesuit, would need a dispensation to be
appointed [a bishop], it was necessary to obtain a report from his order, for which
Cardinal Quarracino applied in 1991. It was provided by the Jesuit General, and it represents the most damning character study of Jorge Bergoglio composed by anyone before his election as Pope. The text of the
report has never been made public, but the following account is given by a 
priest who had access to it before it disappeared from the Jesuit archive:

Father Kolvenbach accused Bergoglio of a series of defects, ranging from habitual use of vulgar language to deviousness, disobedience concealed under a mask of humility, and lack of psychological balance; with a view to his suitability as a future bishop, the report pointed out that he had been a divisive figure as Provincial of his own order. It is not surprising that, on being elected Pope, Francis made efforts to get his hands on the existing copies of the document, and the original filed in the official Jesuit archives in Rome has disappeared. As regards the fairness of the report, we ought to allow for the hostility of the Jesuits who were in control in Argentina at the time, but in reality Bergoglio had been exaggerating this so as to pose as a martyr to Cardinal Quarracino (the phenomenon that Father

Kolvenbach may have had in mind when he referred to disobedience under a mask of humility). When due allowance is made, the Kolvenbach Report can hardly be read as the depiction of a model religious by his superior."

From The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy (Italian: Il papa dittatore)
by 'Marcantonio Colonna' (November 2017). On 19 March 2018, the author was revealed to be Henry Sire.

Monday 19 November 2018

Britons in Romania talk to an Austrian paper about Brexit

This article by Marlies Eder, published in the Austrian newspaper “Die Presse” last month, is reproduced by kind permission, translated by Frank Fisher. Like all newspaper articles about things one knows about, it contains fairly big mistakes, but in this case only three or four. 

“Go Back to Your Rainy Island”

Brexit. Around 2,200 [source? - some estimate a much smaller number - P.V.E.W.] Britons live in Romania, in contrast to 411,000 Romanians in Great Britain. A majority is against Brexit and are afraid that they may be forced to go back home. [I don't think anyone is afraid they may be forced to go home. P.V.E.W.]

Bucharest. It seems as though he provoked the seconds-long silence. Colin Shaw says nothing as he climbs into his 1996 green Land Rover. Obviously on the right side, not the left. He explains only when asked that he drove the whole way from Great Britain to Romania in the British all-terrain vehicle in order to transport tourists around the Carpathian mountains. But after more than 20 years he’s finished with it.


Jawdrop moment from the Sunday papers... "Dominic Raab was told by British diplomats that Martin Selmayr had boasted that losing Northern Ireland would be the "price" Britain has to pay for Brexit." The Beast of Brussels strikes again. And under the 'deal', he'll get his wish.

“There was a referendum in 2016, a majority voted to leave the EU, there are many reasons why people voted. I don’t think you call a referendum and then say you don’t like the result and go away from it. You’ve got to understand why people voted and negotiate the best deal you can.”

Jeremy Corbyn on Sky News last night

Sunday 18 November 2018

The revolution in the Catholic Church

Cardinal Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, talking about Pope Francis’ silence on Archbishop Vigano’s charge of disregarding credible accusations of paedophlia by prelates:
“The Pope has a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things—of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”
The Archbishop of Washington D.C., Cardinal Wuerl, who has since resigned:
“I don’t think this is some massive, massive crisis.”
Those predictions did not age well, to use a cliché. The crisis is a massive, massive one. 

Was there a bigger one since the Reformation?

I recommend this thought-provoking article by R. R. Reno, the editor of First Things, headlined The Populist Wave Hits the Catholic Church: How Pope Francis Triggered a Rebellion, though I think the headline is misleading. 

The article is not about rebellion, but about the Pope's teaching, and it seems to me that it is the Pope who is a populist, if a populist is someone who says things to appeal to the crowds and win popularity. 

Bloody, Cosmopolitan Sarajevo

After the two terrible world wars in which ninety or even a hundred million died, huge and very painful movements of people took place in Europe to try to straighten out Central and Eastern Europe's ethnic tangle, in order to prevent further wars. Nowadays, the people in charge in Western Europe (academics, journalists, clergypersons, civil servants, NGOs, politicians) have drawn the lesson that creating and enlarging new ethnic minorities is a way to eschew atavism and racism and prevent a repetition of the horrors of the recent past.

This conclusion is perverse, I think, and so does Will Collins, writing in an article in The American Conservative about Bloody, Cosmopolitan Sarajevo
. He says

NATO, the European Union, the memories of two devastating wars, and the Soviet threat have been variously credited for the decades of peace Europe has enjoyed since the end of the Second World War. The uncomfortable reality is that this enduring peace is also the result of the often violent resettlement of ethnic groups within coherent national borders. The cultural, linguistic, and religious fault lines that exploded into violence during the first half of the 20th century have been largely erased from the map, replaced by a series of uniform national blocs.
It’s no accident that the one place in Europe that wasn’t completely reorganized along these lines is still a tinder box. The Balkans erupted in the 1990s because Yugoslavia temporarily defied this pan-European trend of state building, thanks largely to Marshal Tito’s charismatic authoritarianism.

'The Brexit Deal Is Just Too Good for Europe'

I thought Leonid Bershidsky wrote an interesting article for Bloomberg. He thinks that by playing poker brilliantly there's a chance that Michel Barnier may have agreed a deal so bad for the British that the British Parliament will not accept it.
The problem, of course, with the documents being so good for Europe is that they’re so bad for the Brits. Guenter Verheugen, who served as a European Commissioner for more than a decade, wrote on Friday that playing to win every point in the Brexit negotiations wasn’t necessarily the best strategy. “Anyone who presses the British into an EU corset that is too tight today will lose any chance of their coming back voluntarily,” he wrote.

So tight is the corset that there’s an extremely high chance of May’s deal being shot down by U.K. lawmakers. Yet her deal would be nigh on impossible to renegotiate for any other British prime minister, given the EU’s position. As such, there’s still a real danger of no deal at all (unless the advocates of a second referendum score an unlikely victory). In a no-deal scenario, losses for European businesses would be immediate and brutal.

Life rushes by

I'm reminded of this line from the movie The Red Shoes: "Life rushes by, time rushes by, but the Red Shoes go on dancing forever." All of that applies to me, except for the red shoes part. Everything seems to be rushing by, and I'm floating above it all, reaching my hand out to life, but not quite grasping it, like waving your hand for a taxi that is clearly occupied. 

Jonathan Ames

Tradition and bigotry

What harm can it do saying that women don’t have penises? Quite a lot, actually, if my experience is anything to go on. After sharing a statement with that message on Twitter, along with a screenshot from a Spectator article, the backlash was swift. Less than a month after sending that tweet, I had lost my position as president-elect of Humanist Students as well as my role as assistant editor of Durham University’s philosophy society’s undergraduate journal, Critique. I was also given the boot as co-editor-in-chief of Durham University’s online student magazine, the Bubble.
Angelos Sofocleous

It is rather a curious coincidence that in every controversy in which I have been hitherto, I have always been entirely right.
G. K. Chesterton‏

Joseph Sobran‏ @joesobranquotes 
To liberalism, tradition, which Chesterton called "the democracy of the dead," is nothing but bigotry, and may be safely ignored. Liberals want to be open-minded about everything — except the past. They seem to think our ancestors got everything wrong.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Kerry: Europe is already crushed under transformation due to immigration

Former Democrat presidential candidate and Secretary of State John Kerry discussed climate change on Thursday, at a meeting sponsored by the Guardian at Central Hall in London: 
“We are heading for catastrophe unless we respond to some life-threatening challenges very rapidly. We have a climate-denying president that pulls us out of the the Paris climate change agreement at a time when literally every day matters. Europe is already crushed under this transformation that is taking place due to migration. In Germany Angela Merkel is weakened. Italian politics is significantly impacted."

There will not be customs inspections at the Irish border in any event

A Dutch official explains what a number of customs experts have explained, that even in the unlikely case of the hardest possible Brexit there would be no need for customs inspections at the Irish border. Not even of the cursory kind that I underwent on the train to Northern Ireland from Dublin in 1982.

Brexit tweets

  1.  I accept responsibility for many things, but not the outcome of the Brexit negotiation. It seems extraordinary that a group of Remainers could screw it up so comprehensively and then point at Brexiters and say, “See! We told you it would be impossible to get a good deal.”ore


“The idea of an integrated Europe is historically looking backward. We never belonged to the Holy Roman Empire, and we never belonged to the reactionary organisation after 1815. We have always looked outward, out to the New World, and to Asia and Africa.”

Clement Attlee, 1962

Brexit: things seem slightly less hopeless today

The mistake was putting a Remainer, someone whom David Cameron described as more Europhile than him or George Osborne, in charge of Brexit. 

For this mistake I blame Michael Gove, the only Leave candidate who could have led the country out of the EU when Cameron resigned. Instead he originally chose not to stand for the leadership but to back Boris Johnson, before deciding that Johnson was not up to the job and stabbing him in the front by standing. He did this to save the country from Johnson rather than in the hope of winning and he looked disloyal, Machiavellian and untrustworthy.

Theresa May did not get to where she is by brains. Nor by eloquence, charisma, likeability or intuition. She got where she is by luck, as most Prime Ministers do (Brown, Eden and Chamberlain were the exceptions in modern times), but mostly by persistence. 

I remember the pornographer David Sullivan saying in an interview that intelligence was