Friday 31 August 2018

The crisis in the Catholic Church is a crisis for civilisation

I was moved by a remark the polymath David Goldman, an observant Orthodox Jew, made on Facebook yesterday.
A note to my many Catholic friends: My prayers are with you in this most difficult time. The Catholic Church is the founding institution of the West and the godmother of all the European nations. Its distress weakens civilization.
I only now see what a great danger the Catholic Church and the world is in because of priests interfering with minors, and how very extensive the evil has been, after reading the report of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's grand jury investigation two weeks ago.
If you didn't read about it, the report alleges that 300 priests interfered with a thousand children over seventy years, in one American state alone. These terrible crimes were kept hidden for many years.

The report of the Royal Commission in Australia, published in December, contained things that are outside the remit of a secular body, like the advice that celibacy for priests should be optional, but much more importantly the absolutely devastating allegation that no fewer than 7% - 7%! - of Australian priests have been guilty of abusing minors. 

Can this really be true?

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Things people said to me while I was in Great Britain

I avoided talking about Brexit or Theresa May, two subjects that everyone finds painful and done to death, but I seem to have talked a lot of politics. 

A Russian expert, who sympathises with Ukraine vis-a-vis Russia, told me that Putin is the least bad leader Russia has ever had. I mentioned Czar Alexander II and later thought of Stolypin. Still, my friend might be right.

I shared a table in a pub in Fort William with a young Swedish woman prison officer who had just completed  the West Highland Way, which lasts 96 miles from the outskirts of Glasgow, camping on the way. It sounded fun, if one stayed at B and B's. I asked her how many of the prisoners in her prison (all convicted of drug related crimes) were from ethnic minorities and she said about half.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

York Minster on a cool, rainy Sunday in August

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Will the passing of John McCain mark the end of American interventionism?

The Wall Street Journal:
The death of John McCain will leave Congress without perhaps its loudest voice in support of the robust internationalism that has defined the country’s security relations since World War II.
This is an interesting non-eulogy of John McCain, who died on Saturday, by Tom Woods.
McCain’s preferred foreign policy has yielded death, displacement, and regional chaos on a massive scale, not to mention a huge shot in the arm to the very Islamic radicalism he assured us he was fighting against.
He thinks the media falling over themselves to mourn McCain 'Orwellian'  and compares McCain the Establishment figure with Pat Buchanan, a true maverick.

Durham cathedral, castle and church

The priest yesterday in Durham had a Northern accent and moved swiftly from the words in the Gospel about the Real Presence to the problem of rich people eating the poor. He said St Paul's instruction to wives to submit to husbands was 'awful' and he had been tempted to omit these words from the Gospel reading altogether. He explained that St Paul had expected the imminent second coming and not bothered to preach in favour of sexual equality.

I was at St Cuthbert's Church, a pretty church which is one of the oldest Catholic churches in England, built in 1827. It has a beautiful altarpiece but it saddened me that Catholics celebrate Mass here and not in Durham Cathedral, a contender with Wells and Salisbury for being the most beautiful cathedral in the country. 

Durham Catholics form a community that has survived the Reformation. In 1569 Durham was the centre of the Rising of the North by the Catholic Percys and Nevilles, Earls of

The glories of our blood and state

George Mikes said how old it makes you feel when people who owe you money become boulevards. Simon Milton, in my year at university and a Union star, certainly never borrowed money from me and I knew him only slightly, but he has been a sculpture in Piccadilly for years. I remember him winning a balloon debate as Amy Carter, which shows how unimaginably long ago it was.
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Wednesday 15 August 2018

Scotland the brave

I ate haggis three times in a day and a half in Scotland and shall eat black pudding for the third time in 48 hours. Apart from offal the other themes of my Scotch travels are rain and overcast skies which are forecast to last for another week. And noble prospects, to quote Boswell.

I apologise to readers who want my insights into the violence in Bucharest. I am too far away but I am sure that once more the gendarmes are to blame at least for much of it. I wish it were only in Romania that the police are responsible for  violence against peaceful protesters but it happens even in England. 

Jeremy Warner in today's Daily Telegraph

The great tragedy of Turkey’s latest economic crisis is that it has come just too late to influence the outcome of recent elections, and that, far from dethroning a corrupt and incompetent autocrat, it might, despite the inevitable years of economic hardship that now lie ahead, even bolster his position, irretrievably turning the country Eastwards and away from the Western, secular traditions of modern day Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Erdogan is fast shaping up to be the Mediterranean’s next Nasser, further destabilising a region already wracked by economic/tribal/religious rivalry and war. It would only require him to seize the US nuclear base at Incirlik, as Gamal Abdel Nasser did the Suez canal, to complete the picture.

Thursday 9 August 2018

'How Matteo Salvini pulled Italy to the far right'

The Guardian regularly publishes a long essay as 'The Long Read'. Today it published an interesting discussion of Matteo Salvini of the League and the new Italian government from which I gleaned these two pieces of information:

The number of immigrants in Italy rose from 2.5 million in 2007 to 5 million in 2017. 

Last year 664,000 Italians died and 464,000 were born, of whom 100,000 had a foreign mother or father.

I also learnt that the Italian Families Minister 
caused a scandal by saying there was no such thing as a gay family and suggesting that laws against hate speech should be repealed. This alerts any Guardian readers who think that the League might have a point about illegal immigrants that the League is evil.

Of course the League is not far right at all. Far right means Sir Oswald Mosley not Enoch Powell, Franco not Poujade, fascists like Mussolini and people who want a dictatorship, not democrats who want to slow or stop immigration and care more about this issue than economics.

The Guardian article has as its premise the idea that economics is what politics is mostly about and talk of immigration is a distraction. But isn't the nation more important to normal people than economics? 

Plenty of things are more important to the left than economic growth, of course, which is why left-wing governments always run out of money and fail.

The real battle is not between the League and the left but the League, which opposes islamification and homosexual civil partnerships, and the Church, which does the same. 

The article does not mention that a Catholic magazine very close to the Vatican, 'The Christian Family', described Salvini as the devil. One priest called him the Anti-Christ.

The former bishop of Caserta, Raffaele Nogaro, said recently

“Morally and as a man of faith I would be willing to turn all churches into mosques if it were useful to the cause and if it helped to save the lives of poor and unhappy men and women, because Christ did not come to earth to build churches but to help men regardless of race, religion, or nationality.”

Monday 6 August 2018


Frank Furedi, ex Trotskyite, in Slate today:

In an age when white privilege is a cultural crime, Jewish privilege and supposed Jewish influence are treated with contempt and resentment. Often this reaction against ‘Jewish privilege’ meshes with hostility to Israel to produce a unique 21st-century species of anti-Semitism. This is why even in an age when victims are routinely celebrated, the oppression of Jews and the experience of the Holocaust are not seen as legitimate claims to victimhood. Indeed, the Holocaust is often turned against the Jews. Israel is often depicted as the heir to Nazi Germany. Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone continually promotes this mendacious argument, with his assertions that Hitler was a great friend of Zionism.

Liberals and ethnic groups

Daniel Hannan‏ Verified account@DanielJHannan 41 minutes ago

The alt-right and the woke Left are not opposites when it comes to race. They both define people by ethnic identity. The real anti-racists are the classical liberals who see everyone as an individual.

Daniel Hannan, Thatcherite and Brexiteer, says that he is a Whig not a Tory. He has that in common with left-wing Tories like Ian Gilmour, David Cameron and probably Harold Macmillan, whose father was a Liberal Unionist and who married the daughter of a Whig duke.

Everyone is an individual and of infinite importance to the economy of the universe, and this is liberalism's great insight, but an individual does not come into the world a blank sheet of paper. It is a great fault of liberalism to misunderstand or ignore the great importance of the many factors which form individuals and societies, especially traditions, cultures, ethnic groups and religions. 

Daniel Hannon gave a talk a year or so about the Anglosphere and was, so I read somewhere on Facebook, visibly upset when asked whether countries in the Anglosphere would still be Anglo if most people in those countries were descended from people from outside the British Isles or even from outside Europe. He got very cross and said he strongly believed that descent was irrelevant and that culture was independent of descent or lineage.  

This is liberalism rather than Toryism.

How to get on in our globalised world and the lion in Sir Edwin Landseer's drawing room

The late Marquis of Bath and friend
I shall be in London shortly, a city I so love, and may have to show some teenagers around, so I read this article in the Daily Telegraph entitled
Six educational London days out, as chosen by a teacher.
It was moderately interesting, though I understood a quite different thing about Landseer's lions at the foot of Nelson's Column, which the writer says were modelled on cats and are anatomically impossible.

Thursday 2 August 2018

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy."

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” Margaret Thatcher

“Britain is something more than a European country; it’s a link between many countries in many continents. I do not believe that Britain can federate with continental Europe.” Clement Attlee in 1952, quoted by Daniel Hannan

Sir Roger Scruton

"A community that has survived its gods has three options. It can find some secular path to the ethical life. Or it can fake the higher emotions, while living without them. Or it can give up pretending and so collapse, as Burke put it, into the 'dust and powder of individuality."

"We have entered, as I see it, a spiritual limbo. Our educational institutions are no longer the bearers of high culture, and public life has been deliberately moronised. But here and there, sheltered from the noise and glare of the media, the old spiritual forces are at work."

"The sexual revolution of modern times has disenchanted the sexual act. Sex has been finally removed from the sacred realm: it has become 'my' affair, in which 'we' no longer