Monday 30 July 2018

Romanians with net worth over $50 million in 2017

I post this simply to show how very rich Romanians compare with the super-rich elsewhere.

US: 38,500

China: 13,940

Japan: 9,960

Germany: 8,070

Canada: 5,500

France: 5,240 

UK: 4,580

Italy: 3,150

India: 2,920

Russia: 2,620

South Korea: 2,610

Brazil: 2,390

Saudi: 1,540

Mexico: 570

Romania: 240

(Knight Frank’s Wealth Report)

Friday 27 July 2018


Climate change denial should be a crime.

I assumed this was a fake but Alistair Campbell, Blair's PR adviser REALLY said this. Just now. 

"The French have not recovered from Sartre and perhaps never will. For they have had to live with an intellectual establishment that has consistently repudiated the two things that hold the country together: Christianity and the idea of France." Sir Roger Scruton, The Power of Negative Thinking.

Søren Kierkegaard

You cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. 

If I have ventured wrongly, very well, life then helps me with its penalty. But if I haven't ventured at all, who helps me then?

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.


"By understanding many things, I have accomplished nothing." The last words of Grotius.

Progressives are fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson's dictum on the necessity of a revolution every twenty years. They may be about to finally have one.
Cathy Barry Willinge

Honestly, the solutions to life's problems are simple...get your heart and mind right with God through Jesus Christ, use your strength to contend for Him, get married before you have kids, have kids though, stay married and treat others well.
The less you think of yourself the better oFf you will be, because you be crazy and you know it.
Jennifer Lokken 

BBC News: Eddie Ndopu is “unapologetically brilliant, black, queer and disabled....I want to be the first wheelchair user in space"

Thursday 26 July 2018

Sir Roger Scruton quotations

"The accumulated evidence of human nature tells us the only improvement that lies within our control is the improvement of ourselves"

"People are drawn to religion by their consciousness of consciousness, by an awareness of a light shining in the centre of their being"

"Love is not the answer, but the question, the thing that sets us searching for meaning in a world from which meaning has retreated"

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Trump is doing a Nixon in China in reverse - two must-read articles published today

I read two very striking articles about Donald Trump today that you should read too.

I agree completely with this article, by Jon Basil Utley, the publisher of The American Conservative, who asks what the reason is for either Europe or America to spend huge sums on Nato. There is none. Russia is not going to invade any Nato country.

He correctly says, as I have known since 1989, that the the big threat to the world comes from nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists. In 1989 I imagined the terrorists using them to blackmail governments. Now I know that if the Islamists get them they will use them. The Pakistani bomb particularly worries me. More than an Iranian bomb.

He makes another good point:

For all the Democratic and Big Media attacks on Trump for supposedly caving in to Putin, he gave Putin nothing.


"Typical of Hollywood to cast a black actor in a stereotypical role as a slave. Why not 12 Years a Bank Manager?"
Godfrey Elfwick, who has now been banned from Twitter

"Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals."
Clare Boothe Luce

"Everything in the universe relates to the number 5, one way or another, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter."

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Anna Sándor de Kénos, friend of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, has died

'With the death of Anna Sándor de Kénos, the last living link to the Transylvania and Hungary of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Between the Woods and the Water has gone.'

Here is the Daily Telegraph obituary.

Civilisation and barbarians - but which are which?

"The luckless American who happens to be born a conservative...either folds up his heart and withers in a corner - in remote places you sometimes find such a solitary gaunt idealist - or else he flies to Oxford or Florence or Montmarte to save his soul - or perhaps not to save it." George Santayana

"The cultural elites are drawn more and more towards identity politics, but they regard their national identity as no big deal. Those sections of the elite that are charged with

Why care if the British government doesn’t mind ISIS murderers being executed?

Why do the BBC and the papers care that the British government doesn’t mind if British ISIS murderers are executed in the USA? I thought we had a Tory government, at least theoretically. 

I have never even been in favour of hanging, but why on earth should we stop the Americans executing people? It's one of their old-fashioned customs, like using Fahrenheit and going to church.

I believe in human rights strongly, if human rights mean freedom (they don’t). I therefore

Monday 23 July 2018

Back to an outpost of civilisation

On Saturday I went back to Pacuiul lui Soare with Mihai once more and a visiting friend. This time the sand was not as hot as coals, or hot at all, the river was not warm and instead of being alone on the island we were one of five or six groups. The motorway from Bucharest to the coast has been completed. The  road in which Mihai and I sunk into the mud is now closed off and the track we used, though shorter and dryer, is much worse, not a road at all. It would have been quicker to walk than drive down it.

I recommend, gentle reader, that you do as we did on a hot Saturday a few months after Mihai and I first visited the island, when we left Bucharest early for the almost desert island with what my father would have called a nice bunch of fellows and girls and a picnic, from which wine was not absent.

This is what I wrote after my first visit.

For Romanians Bulgaria used to be just a place you had to go through to get to Greece or Turkey, although now it is a holiday destination in its own right, but for Bulgarians Romania is a place you don't have to go to at all.

Saturday 21 July 2018

Chaplain dismissed for Benediction to atone for gay pride event

Father Mark Morris, Catholic chaplain at Glasgow Caledonian University, formerly Glasgow Poly, has been relieved from his duties by the University after he announced in his parish newsletter that he would pray the Rosary and hold Benediction at his parish church (unconnected with his role at the university) in reparation for what the newsletter called
 “the gross offence to God that is Pride Glasgow.”
He did this in response to a request from a parishioner.

The University Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Pamela Gillies, who is co-author of You, Me and HIV: Making Sense of Safer Sex for Those with Learning Difficultiesissued this statement:

Kissinger: Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era

Henry Kissinger makes interesting, though elliptical and "halting" remarks about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in an interview in the Financial Times, which you might or might not find locked behind the paywall. It opened for me the first time but not when I tried to reread it.

On Donald Trump:

“I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.”

Dr. Kissinger wanted an American-Russian summit but not one like the one that took place this week.

Friday 20 July 2018

Donald Trump has achieved a great diplomatic coup and brought peace to Syria

Imagine how the world would be had Hillary won in 2016. Of all the reasons to be pleased that she did not, the biggest is the fact that peace is being agreed in Syria. Had Hillary won, the Americans would have achieved regime change there. She said, days before the election that she was expected to win, that toppling Assad would be her top priority.

My impression of Donald Trump rose a lot after his performances recently in Europe and Great Britain. His undiplomatic, impolite, crudely expressed thoughts on Brexit and Nato were right and, more to the point, it was good to have them said. 

Then came the embarrassingly terrible press conference that he gave with Vladimir Putin
in Helsinki, at which President Trump went off on tangents, fought domestic political battles in a foreign capital and preferred the duplicitous Russian's bare word to the information provided by the CIA about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US election. 

Attempts that no rational person has any doubts about, though it is almost impossible to imagine that they swung the election. Putin, whom everyone knows is a more shameless liar than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

Neo-con jihadis

Paul Gottfried explains here that of course neo-cons are imperialists. He uses the word imperialism as if it were a bad thing, when in its time British imperialism did a huge amount of good, as well as some bad things. The neo-cons had idealistic motives for wanting to export their values to the world but unlike the great Clive of India, who was not idealistic at all, their legacy is disastrous. 

Vladimir Putin is a bad man, as was Peter the Great. Putin's bloodless invasion of the Crimea and the bloody proxy wars he wages in Eastern Ukraine are completely unjustified, but his perception that he is combating US and EU imperialism is accurate enough. 

Thursday 19 July 2018

Seen on Facebook: time is the new currency

This guy last night...he said time was the new currency. It is more precious than money, or material things. Giving people your time is love. What do you think? I think I agree.

Someone once said the broad difference between Americans and Europeans is the first like stuff and the second like time.

Tuesday 17 July 2018

The biggest British political crisis since 1886

There never was a Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times'. Any more than Stalin asked how many divisions the Pope had or Napoleon asked of a general 'Is he lucky?' Nevertheless, Britain does live in very interesting times.

Until today, I found the question of whether Theresa May stays or goes much less interesting than what sort of Brexit takes place. Nevertheless, last night it became clear that she has lost control of the Commons and, as an anonymous minister told the Times, probably will not be able get any Brexit agreement through the House.

Our chief ally, the USA, has done its best to undermine the Prime Minister and British foreign policy. The last time this happened was when Eisenhower scuppered the Anglo-French march on the Suez Canal in 1956. On this occasion, though, America seems to have British interests at heart.

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

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

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

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

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

I suppose this is the most fascinating period in British parliamentary history since the lead up to the 1867 Reform Act, with Anna Soubry and the more extreme Tory Remainers playing the part of the Adullamite Cave, the faction of Liberals who tried to prevent working class men getting the vote, at the cost of bring down their own government. 

Monday 16 July 2018

Roy Greenslade hypocrisy

Annoying left-wing journalist Roy Greenslade has long one of my bêtes noires, but I did not know until now that he was sympathetic to the political arm of the murderous I.R.A

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

Bath Club

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

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

Polls can be terribly unreliable, but are always interesting.

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

71% of Russians have an unfavorable view of Trump.

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

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

Donald Trump - 47%. 

Theresa May - 25%. 

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

Angela Merkel 48%. 

Justin Trudeau 34%.

Five Stars/League coalition government in Italy 60%.

Friday 13 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

The concept of fake news is itself fake

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

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

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

Tuesday 10 July 2018

John O'Sullivan Retweeted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 9 July 2018

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

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

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

Theresa May humiliated in cabinet

Liberal Democrat David Laws was a member of the 2010-15 coalition cabinet and often attended cabinet. In his diary he recounts an incident in 2012 when the cabinet discussed Chinese visas.

“This soon turned out to be a full-frontal attack on the home secretary. Theresa May remained very quiet, seething with anger, while the chancellor, sitting right next to her on her left, launched his scathing attack.

“Cameron got visibly angry and began to go through all the points on the chancellor’s list, one by one. Theresa stuttered and stumbled and looked desperately through her briefing notes for the answers that she needed — but without finding any. Other ministers looked embarrassed at seeing the home secretary squirm so badly.”

"Senior cabinet ministers aren’t usually humiliated in this way, and I doubt Theresa May will forget this.”

This is an extract from David Laws' memoirs. We very easily imagine Theresa May squirming. She is not nearly as clever as Messrs. Cameron and Osborne, was a hopeless Home Secretary and is now an incompetent Prime Minister.  She cannot say anything interesting. Was there ever a Prime Minister with less verve or originality?


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

Robert Tombs

I so love a good political crisis - and especially this one

If it's the Chequers deal, Brexit doesn't mean Brexit. Jacob Rees-Mogg

Should Boris follow you out? David Davis: “People can only make these decisions of principle by themselves”. No pressure then.

John Barron MP asks key question which PM dodges. Regulatory alignment with EU means any free trade deals with 3rd parties means imports from 3rd parties would have to conform with EU rules.

  1. Bet when the histories are written we'll find it wasn't just the customs plan - which is not *that* awful - but the way it was pushed onto the Cabinet that triggered this. Contrast the 1976 IMF loan crisis. TWO MONTHS of Cabinet meetings. All ideas exhausted. Respect shown.

I bet Mr Trump will stir Theresa May's pot

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

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

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

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

Boris Johnson resigns but his delay may be fatal for him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought this tweet gets it right.

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

Sunday 8 July 2018

The day the dream died

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

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

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

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

Friday 6 July 2018

A 'Duty to Hate Britain'

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

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

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

Macron fights Orban for Europe's soul

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

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

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

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

The Declaration of Independence is hate speech

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

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

Thursday 5 July 2018

The real meaning of the Statue of Liberty

BBC news item this morning:

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

Monday 2 July 2018

Four quotations

“Remember, together with the Chinese we comprise a quarter of the world’s population.” Enver Hoxha, quoted by Simon Heffer in the latest issue of the Sunday Telegraph.

“Of course the UK is one state to the EU’s 27, but in economic terms our departure is equivalent to the 19 smallest members heading for the exit.” Henry Newman