Thursday 28 February 2019

Britain is changing

The Office for National Statistics says 261,000 more non-EU citizens came to the UK than left in the year ending September 2018 - the highest since 2004. A more important figure is the number of non EU non EEA people given leave to settle. This was about 60,000 the year before last.

How John Carlisle, who died this week, would have been horrified. I loathed him in the 1980s but the nice people were wrong about immigration and the unpleasant ones, like him, unfortunately were right.

Servants should know their place

The European Commission are not meant to be politicians but the top civil servants of the EU. They should know their place. Instead on Tuesday the European Commission attacked a campaign launched by the Hungarian government the day before attacking Jean-Claude Juncker's migration plans. Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told journalists:
"The Juncker commission made a commitment to fight disinformation and fake news and this case is no exception. The Hungarian government campaign beggars belief. It is shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has." 

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was in Strasbourg in 2017 to speak at a session of the parliament alongside Maltese Prime Minister and got angry angry that only a handful of the assembly’s MEPs decided to attend. The session was intended to review the achievements of the Maltese presidency of the EU. Mr Juncker observed petulantly: 
“The fact that there is about 30 members of parliament present in this debate only serves to illustrate that parliament is not serious in this.” 
I am sure the MEPs, even though they have little to do apart from lobbying, have better ways to spend their time. But the European Union sees members of parliaments as civil servants and civil servants a politicians.

When faced with a real politician like Nigel Farage who is rude about other MEPs and the EU panjandrums the Parliament is shocked.

Swedish town has a welcome sign featuring a local woman wearing a Muslim veil

A Swedish town has a welcome sign featuring a local woman wearing a Muslim veil.

From an article in Zero Hedge: 

"Explaining the billboard as a gesture celebrating diversity, the coastal municipality of Gavle welcomes people with the image of Nizam Hindi - a local Muslim woman who helps run the controversial Al-rashideen mosque."

Simon Schama praises Richard Cobden

I always admired nineteenth century liberalism and the idea that trade made peace, until the last few years showed that the classical liberalism of Cobden and Bright, which the globalist historian Sir Simon Scharma extols in today's Financial Times, has brought Europe to the brink of destruction via mass immigration and the attempt to abolish nations. 

In fairness to Cobden and Bright, free trade and prosperity have usually kept the peace, though the recent liberal attacks on Middle Eastern countries show that this is not invariable. 

In fairness to them too they would have disapproved of the EU as a protectionist tariff union. They were in many ways Thatcherites avant la lettre. They would have been horrified by EU regulations which belong to the 18th century tradition of absolutism, by anti discrimination laws, by compulsory feminism etc, above all by high taxes. Unlike many modern conservatives, they would also have been horrified by sky high arms spending and questioned the need for Nato and whether Russia posed a danger to Nato states. All these things are admirable but not reflected in the liberalism of the FT or the Economist.

Sir Simon is right to praise Gladstone's Home Rule policy, but it would have been a good thing for everyone because it would have kept Ireland in the UK, not, as he says, 'in Britain's ambit'. 

The Good Friday Agreement in 1998, which he admires, was a much less happy idea which meant making terms with an IRA which was already largely defeated. And now a nationalist scam has persuaded Theresa May that the agreement means we cannot have a real border with Eire. 

Joe Chamberlain split the Liberal party in 1886 over Home Rule and then came out in favour of imperial tariffs, because this would have enabled us to create a tariff union of the white dominions, a sort of EU. 

I see that that was a very good idea, even though I am a free trader. A union of Great Britain, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand would have worked very well and would have included all of Ireland. The Irish might have been a problem but probably wouldn't have been. But what to have done with South Africa?

The Financial Times and the Economist represent classical liberalism, pro-business, pro-market and socially liberal, with welfarism added, which until recently seemed roughly conservative but now seems the most formidable and dangerous enemy of real conservatism.

Our epoch is mad

Friedrich Nietzsche: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”

Wednesday 27 February 2019


I just watched Alfred Hitchcock's third talkie, “Murder” (1930). 

Plot spoiler alert! 

The murderer is a transvestite who kills to prevent his dark secret being revealed: that though he passes for white he is a half-caste. 

How beguiling the repressed, class conscious England of 1930 seems, still more than half Victorian.

The story hinges on a poor young woman condemned to be hanged, for a murder the half-caste man committed, and the actor manager, who sat on the jury that found her guilty, who sets out to clear her name. 

Although it may seem wrong to many readers that murderers nowadays serve only fourteen years rather than be executed, the horror of miscarriages of justice is a reminder of why hanging is something which we are better off without. 

That and the lack of proof that the death penalty deters.

Though I remember Arthur Latham, who was the last Labour MP in to vote in favour of hanging, saying in the House that he had opposed hanging until he spoke to a prisoner who told him that had hanging been the penalty for murder that would have deterred him.

The British House of Commons no longer has periodical debates on this issue, as EU law no longer permits member countries to decide this issue for themselves. Even people like me who have always opposed hanging should hugely regret this.


Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. is a law professor at Harvard University and faculty dean of one of the college's 12 residential houses. 50 students want him to resign from the faculty for agreeing to represent Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Harvard's administration agreed to conduct a review. I am not sure if the fifty are law students and hope they are not, but it augurs very badly for the American elite of twenty years from now. Though I suppose noisy political activist students have been intolerant left wing extremists since the 1960s. 

Professor Sullivan, despite his Irish name, is black, by the way.

Activist is the Duchess of Sussex's description of herself and she began her activism as a child complaining about sexist washing up commercials on television. One does feel that the American Democrats are as objectionable and destructive as any left wing socialists. They were not always like this. They went bad in the 1960s like so much else. 

Sunset in Bucharest

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Police leader calls for more positive racial discrimination

News item today:

"Radical new laws should allow police to positively discriminate in favour of minority ethnic recruits, otherwise the ranks of officers will be too white for decades to come, the leader of Britain’s police chiefs has said.
In an interview to mark the 20th anniversary of the Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence, Sara Thornton said police had made huge progress, but “unconscious bias” still existed and the way they used their powers needed to be seen to be fair.
Thornton is the chair [sic] of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and will retire next month after 33 years of service."
When this woman was Chief Constable of Oxfordshire she did nothing about Muslim rape gangs for years and declined to resign when the truth came to light.

Will Brexit now happen? Probably not if it is delayed more than a couple of months

Yanis Varoufakis, once Finance Minister in the Greek far left government, was right when he said two days ago in the Daily Telegraph that the British mistake was going along with Article 50, which was written with no intention that it would ever be used.

If you have a two year deadline the real negotiation happens in the last few days. if you postpone the decision for a couple of months the decision is still postponed till the last few days.

There is no point in postponing the decision and no need for the EU to agree to do so.

If they decide that we should remain in the EU for two years that means until almost five years after the vote and that means it's hard to deny the case for another referendum. The question therefore arises: is the deal that Mrs May hopes to negotiate if we leave at the end of next month worse than staying in?

I am honestly not sure.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the Brexiteers in the House of Commons have today decided that any deal is better than not leaving. As I knew, leaving with no deal will not happen though I think it the least bad option - least bad that is since it is too late for the Norway option that Boris Johnson would have gone for.

I remember people criticising him because Norway was seen as a soft Brexit.


Globalisation is ravaging Spain

Spain's economy collapsed like every European economy in 2008 and because of the euro Spain could not devalue. Spain has bounced back starting in 2014, unemployment has been halved but real wages have fallen and over a quarter of workers are on temporary contracts. 

Peter Franklin in Unherd says that this is internal devaluation and is the background to the rise of the anti-immigration party Vox. I think the rush of immigrants from Africa is enough to explain why people vote for Vox but internal devaluation is an important part of the story too. 

Spain has it bad and the euro and massive immigration flows are in large part to blame. To distract voters the left-wing government wants to exhume General Franco's corpse (literally). 

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Yanis Varoufakis today is very insightful

A bad Brexit deal, and even more so a no-deal Brexit, will be detrimental to the UK and to the EU. Mrs Merkel, Mr Macron and Mr Juncker are just as aware of this as Mrs May. If Article 50 had not stipulated a fixed deadline, the EU’s leadership would have no option but to negotiate in good faith until they struck a mutually advantageous deal with the British government.


"I believe that people should be allowed to say anything they like about anyone online – except for accusing them of criminal acts without proof, or for threatening criminal acts against them. I believe also that trolls who do not write under their real names very much degrade the level of public slanging matches and, if they are so keen on being fictional characters, should have their voting rights removed for an allotted period of time in order to teach them that the immeasurable benefit of free speech has solemn responsibilities as well as cheap thrills. And to punish them for being cowards."

Julie Burchill in the latest Spectator - I agree.

"With May, it was different. She didn’t answer questions or make small talk, or big talk. She is present only in that she makes you feel her pain. Social interaction appears torturous for her, and so it is for all around her. Dancing, snooker, her endlessly repeating what we know are lies, walking into meetings where everyone despises her. I used to feel a bit sorry for her. But that lunch, when I stared into the abyss and saw someone who has no need to make anyone else feel at ease, made me understand she is a dangerous, power-crazed maniac. The dullness is a cover. That’s all."

Suzanne Moore today in the Guardian, discussing the time she lunched with Theresa May

''Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.'' 

Cyril Connolly

A headline in the Catholic Herald - once so dull a paper

Pope Francis covered up for bishop who had gay porn on his phone, Vatican journalist says

The Catholic Herald - once so dull a paper- under its great editor Damien Thompson is now only too rivetting. 

This scandal is horrific and terribly important. Admirers of the Pope like Austen Ivereigh lamely point out that the pornography featured boys who had reached the age of consent, as if that is all right then.

Will the Pope survive all this scandal? Yes, because he is the Pope.

Meanwhile, today we learnt officially that Cardinal Pell has been convicted of child abuse - in this case I think he is a victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice. 

The victim's story sounds very unlikely and he told it only after the other alleged victim of the Cardinal had died. It does not make sense that horrible acts could take place in a cathedral sacristy after a Pontifical High Mass: sacristies immediately after Mass are busy places, full of people, as Father Alexander Lucie Smith has pointed out. Damian Thompson Austen Ivereigh are in rare agreement in not believing this. The boy might be mentally ill and Australians have nowadays become anti-clerical and anti-Catholic. 

Though perhaps most places are these days, alas, outside Eastern Europe at least.

Why ban Hezbollah?

I don 't like organisations being banned and see little justification for it ever. I do not know much about the political wing of Hezbollah, except it is backed by Iran and wins many votes and seats in the Lebanon. I have not seen any evidence that its political wing is any threat to Britain but the British Home Secretary has decided that it will be banned.

Sinn Fein the political wing of the IRA was not banned even though the IRA was murdering British people.
Tony Blair made terms with the IRA terrorists which I regret. His hugely rich Institute has been lobbied hard and successfully for the UK to ban Hezbollah and was paid $12 million by Iran’s enemy, the Saudi monarchy. 

Hezbollah have been fighting against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria, who have been fighting on the side of the so called moderate rebels backed by the Anglo-Americans.


When I quote things it does not mean I endorse what I quote, but I agree with all these, especially the first.

Yoram Hazony‏ @yhazonyUniversities are not really independent institutions. They are a cartel policed by accrediting bodies at the departmental level and peer review at the professorial level. They are the equivalent of an imperial state--vast and exerting constant pressure for all to homogenize.

18 hours ago18 hours agoMoreWinston Churchill was once asked if Ireland was in the Commonwealth or not. "They're half-in and half-out," he said. Maybe that could be a template for UK to EU? Ireland was indeed ambiguous about whether it was in Commonwealth & everyone accepted that.

Andrew Neil‏Verified account @afneil
So if Labour now backs a second referendum what will be their position — Leave or Remain?

Daniel Hannan‏Verified account @DanielJHannan
A reminder that every Labour MP was elected on this manifesto commitment just over 18 months ago.

Tom Gallagher Retweeted philipamery
This is an apt observation for what's happened to the British - supposedly mainstream - left in the same period.
philipamery @philipamery
A great Australian Labor man, Kim Beazley (Snr) said in 1970: “When I joined the Labor Party, it contained the cream of the working class. But as I look about me now, all I see are the dregs of the middle class. When will you...stop using the Labor Party as a cultural spittoon?”

Tom Gallagher‏ @cultfree54
The Spanish PM is seeking to release the ghosts of the Spanish civil War not because he is worried about Europe but because he is desperate that his unappealing government survive an election where he faces rejection.

Monday 25 February 2019

Delingpole on the BBC’s Dangerous, Far-Left Bias

James Delingpole is one of my heroes. Read here his angry denunciation of a biassed BBC documentary about 'Tommy Robinson' (inverted commas because it is not his real name). It involves the BBC and HOPE Not Hate — which is a left wing and unsavoury group. It seems this row will be a big one.

It is alleged that the BBC used dirty tricks to elicit an accusation of sexual assault against Robinson that the alleged victim then retracted, but which the BBC used anyway. 

Corbyn's Bombshell: The Independent Group has achieved more in a week than the SDP achieved in 7 years

Well I was wrong. The departure of the Independent Group from Labour was not pointless. 

They have persuaded Jeremy Corbyn to demand the British government either ask the EU for customs union plus plus plus or hold a second referendum. 

This is in defiance of the Labour manifesto at last year's election which backed Brexit.

The Independent Group has achieved more in a week than the last right-wing Labour spin-off, the SDP 1981-88 RIP, achieved in seven arduous years.

The man to blame for the mess Britain is in is Michael Gove.  Had he stood as Tory leader at the start of the contest and won in 2016, or had not sabotaged Boris Johnson's candidature, we should have a Leave supporter for Prime Minister.

Nigel Farage should not have resigned as UKIP leader in 2016, though at the time it seemed very reasonable and clever of him - he seemed to have achieved Brexit. We were all very, very naive about that. 

Mrs Rod Liddle wasn't though. She told her husband, when on the morning after the referendum he admitted being having some qualms about Leave's victory,
“Don’t worry, they won’t let it happen.”
She might well be right, one way or another.

Were Jeremy Corbyn asking for the Norway deal that would be fine, for now. Instead, he has made his demands so steep that Theresa May cannot meet them. And remaining in the customs union as opposed to close alignment would be disastrous, for reasons I have explained several times. 

A second referendum may happen, but it will cost Labour a lot of Leave votes.

I think Leave would win a second referendum, but no-one knows. 

We know what Leave's slogan would be. 

"Tell them again.'

Will there be another general election in which Labour loses seats, before a second referendum?

Mrs. May could ensure we leave the EU by suspending Parliament for five weeks, but she won't - because she does not want to leave with no deal any more than any of the Remainers, of whom she is one. 

Corbyn doesn't have that excuse - he is a Leaver who pretends, unconvincingly, to be Remain.

It was always obvious that Jeremy Corbyn had a decisive say over Brexit - but only in the sense that he can probably bring about a second referendum - how the electorate votes is up to them, if they have a free vote. Which might be a big if. 

Such a vote should not, of course, include Remain as an option but will. 

Will it include leaving with no deal as an option? 

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian thinks that to do so would be irresponsible, as if anything could be achieved by negotiations with the EU were leaving with no deal no longer possible.

Mr Corbyn has not said how he will advise electors to vote. He'd be wise to give no advice at all.

I would like us, at this point, to leave with no deal, but this cannot happen with this House of Commons. I always knew that. 

I'd like the Norway option or the Canada option. 

I think I'd prefer staying in to either Theresa May's or Jeremy Corbyn's proposals.

Staying in would only be for a time. As Mr Gorbachev's spokesman said, when asked whether glasnost and perestroika were permanent

 "You can't squeeze toothpaste back into the tube "

Will the Revolution Devour Bernie?

From an American Conservative article called How the Revolution Could Devour Bernie.
Sanders was pilloried for his refusal to support open borders in a 2015 interview with liberal pundit Ezra Klein. “No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal,” Sanders replied, later calling it “right-wing.” He added, “It would make everybody in America poorer—you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that.” Klein’s website then ran a piece with a headline claiming “Bernie Sanders’s fear of immigrant labor is ugly—and wrongheaded.” 

This left-wing economic nationalism might make Sanders attractive to the white working-class voters who cast the decisive ballots for Donald Trump in 2016. So too would the fact that while Sanders is reliably liberal on social issues, including the obligatory support for abortion on demand, he is clearly not animated by them. The key swing voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are economically liberal but socially conservative.

Waking early on June 24, 2016

Rod Liddle knows how to write. The opening to his article in the yesterday's Sunday Times:
'My feelings on the morning of June 24, 2016, were of euphoria and excitement, tinged with that horrible, nagging worry you sometimes get when you have just taken off on a long-haul flight and can’t quite remember if you’ve left the gas oven on. And so you gingerly look out of the plane, as it ascends over Kent, to see if there is evidence of fire engines and smoke down below. Trepidation, then. 

'I mentioned this to my wife that morning as David Dimbleby and the pundits were still wailing in the BBC studios. “Don’t worry,” she said with a little bitterness, “they won’t let it happen.”'
I confess I am surprised and impressed that  Brexit of some sort seems likely to happen but I am not sure the Brexit that is likely to happen is not worse than staying in the EU as a resentful, embittered and recalcitrant member determined at some point to make another escape bid.

I stupidly went to bed after the Sunderland result (the BBC did not grasp its significance, though I should have done) still sure Remain had won. When I woke in the middle of the night I could not be bothered to get up to confirm my fears. What a lot of fun I missed.

When I got up at 6.45, which was 4.45 British time, and switched on the computer in my cold sitting room the BBC had just called it for Leave.  I was very happy and very astonished I also felt slightly scared. Referendums unlike general elections or Parliamentary votes, are irrevocable. I remember thinking it felt as it as I had opened the exit to an aeroplane in mid-flight.

Sunday 24 February 2019

David Owen on how the next five weeks will play out in Brexitland

Lord Owen, the former Dr David Owen, writes interestingly in the Sunday Times about how he thinks the next five weeks before Great Britain is due to leave the EU will play out.
A series of votes in the Commons has made it clear that only an EU-UK international withdrawal treaty has any chance of achieving a majority, unless Jeremy Corbyn, after his most recent visit to Brussels, tables an official opposition motion. That motion would be to exit the EU through becoming a non-EU contracting party to the European Economic Area agreement, and it would be much harder to reach a majority if it added a commitment to negotiating with the EU any form of customs union.

I took these pictures of the Dimbovita at lunchtime

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and water

The Lancet: 6.5 million immigrants registered with British GPs 2007-2017

The Lancet, the leading medical magazine in the UK, recently said that 6.5 million migrants have registered with GPs in the last 10 years. 

This figure comes from the British Government's Office for National Statistics, but does not tell us how many migrants arrived and then left, or how many changed GPs (for example, when they moved from one town to another).

Still, this is a solid and very arresting statistic and one that's easy to remember and mention in conversation. It should be the subject of conversation across the country were it not for Brexit, to which it is linked. 

It is very hard to get real information about immigration from the Government because the number of immigrants coming into the country is hidden by talk of 'net immigration'. Net immigration does not mean the number of immigrants minus the number of immigrants who leave the UK, which would be very useful, but minus the total number of British people and immigrants who leave Britain. As Rod Liddle said, with net immigration a hundred thousand Britons leave the country, a hundred thousand Somalis enter, net result no change.

Gregory's has come back to Lipscani!

The Greek cafe, part of a fast food chain, has after many years come back to its old site in Lipscani, opposite the National Bank and close to me. 

I had forgotten all about it. I shall once more have the croissant special with ham and cheese inside. I'm on a diet, but that won't deter me.

I remember when Gregory's first arrived in my manor. I disapproved of it rather strongly as the first sign of gentrification. I told my mother when I took here there in 2002 that Romanians went there because it made them feel for a few moments that they were in the West. 

This is a very telling measure of how much has been transformed in Bucharest in the last fifteen years. Long before it closed Gregory's had come to seem old-fashioned and tacky.

I remember, from that visit in 2002 with my mother, a tall bespectacled American walking along Lipscani, then a very shabby street indeed, past the entrance to Gregory's, a yard ahead of his wife who was complaining querulously. I remember him suddenly stopping, turning to her and saying loudly, 

'I keep telling you. You're in Romania. You've got to lower your expectations.'

Saturday 23 February 2019

Do ghosts really exist? Of course

Do ghosts really exist? Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College thinks yes and writes that Catholics (and presumably other Christians) should not try to contact or communicate with them

I know very well that this is right, although it is interesting how very much more normal it is to believe in ghosts now than it was in the eighteenth century England, when Dr Johnson was mocked for thinking they might exist. He did however show that the Cock Lane Ghost was a fraud.

Someone wrote an historical detective story with Dr Johnson as the detective and he made a good one, showing Ossian to have been a fraud, for example.


These people fail to predict UKIP, Brexit, etc., even after they've happened. But when it comes to a liberal centrist party, "They have eyes that see things other men cannot see, the eyes of a visionary or of a house agent."

Hate Crime Myths are Dangerous Political Weapons

An American actor, one Jussie Smollett, has been charged with wasting police time by staging a 'racist and homophobic attack' on himself. Liberal Americans asked us not to pass judgment on the incident but keep an open mind (does this strike you as amusing, gentle reader, or is it just me?). But finally they seem to have given up the fight, unlike in the case of the allegedly racist smirking by the Covington Catholic boys. In that case, some leftists still stick to their guns when most have admitted their mistake. The boys are suing for a whopping $250 million in damages for defamation.

I have been reading about bogus 'hate crimes' in the USA ever since the 2016 election and before. Here is a useful, long list of fictitious crimes invented to slur Donald Trump and his supporters.

Friday 22 February 2019

Morality in politics causes most of the problems

Theresa May is duplicitous, vindictive, power hungry and constantly breaks her promises. But these things are by no means the worse things about her. The worst things about her are her periodic outbreaks of morality, which Macaulay said made the English ridiculous. Her morals led her to promise that there would be no hard border with Northern Ireland, a promise quite unnecessary that is destroying Brexit.

George Osborne was a power hungry schemer and trimmer, but the worst thing about him was his morality, his passionate belief in the EU, international organisations and internationalism. During the 2016 referendum campaign, Max Hastings, a Remainer, urged him to hold out some scintilla of hope to the many people distressed by immigration levels.

“I think we should leave that to Ukip”, he said primly. But what about raising the possibility of revisiting the ECHR? The chancellor responded that to fly any such kite “would set a very poor example to countries such as Belarus”. I came home and transferred my little all into US dollars.'
Tony Blair was scheming but it was his idealism that caused all the trouble: mass immigration; unjust wars of intervention in foreign countries; state imposed feminism and political correctness, etc, etc. The same is equally true of Harold Wilson, who brought in hate speech laws (though it was under Tony Blair that they were first very widely used). 

Looking to Europe, it's very true of Frau Merkel and of HerrJuncker, who constantly calls for more to be done for refugees.

A lot of the problem, even though most people in Western Europe are now godless, stems from theology, which underlies everything in history. It stems from the left-wing Christianity that seized hold of the Catholic Church and of Protestantism in the 1960s and has not loosened its grip. 

Orthodox Christianity has not been touched by this as it was not touched by the Reformation or the Enlightenment and this, I have slowly come to see, is a large part of why, though I am a Catholic, I find Romania so very congenial.

The greatest living Englishman, historian, priest and religious writer Dr Edward Norman, said long ago, in his 1978 Reith Lectures, that for modern man welfare considerations had taken the place of the sacred. 

Things have changed since 1978. Now, although welfare considerations are still held to be sacred, anti-discrimination ideas and ideals are widely considered the holy of holies.

The deep state: Did the FBI bring down Nixon?

'The Washington Post created a morality play about an out-of-control government brought to heel by two young, enterprising journalists and a courageous newspaper. That simply wasn’t what happened. Instead, it was about the FBI using The Washington Post to leak information to destroy the president, and The Washington Post willingly serving as the conduit for that information while withholding an essential dimension of the story by concealing Deep Throat’s identity.'

These are the words of George Friedman, founder and CEO of respected American private intelligence site Stratfor and author of 
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

It's an interesting allegation, as we discovered this week that the FBI and American Justice Department officials discussed whether to remove Donald Trump from office using the 25th Amendment on the ground that he was incapable of discharging his duties. 

The political struggles between FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and President John F.Kennedy were, of course, also hugely important and very murky.

Is Assad determined the 6 million Syrian refugees won't return?

The refugees from Syria serve Iran's and Mr Assad's interests, according to David Gardener in The Financial Times

About 6m Syrians, overwhelmingly Sunni, are in exile and the Assads look determined to prevent any return to the prewar population balance that nearly toppled their minority regime.
I wonder if this is true. It's an interesting idea, though the Syrian civil war should not be seen as a Shia-Sunni conflict. Most officers in the Syrian army are Sunni. 

The West's priority should be making sure all the refugees are sent back to Syria. There is no humanitarian reason why they should not be sent back, as the war is over, and they are not particularly opposed to the regime or they would gave fought against it.

Is this why the flood of refugees suddenly happened - something which has never been explained and which was not connected to any worsening of the situation for civilians in Syria?

The centre cannot hold? It seems to be holding very well to me

Jeremy Warner today said it well. 
'Beyond wanting to reverse Brexit and spend a bit more of our money, it is not obvious what the Independent Group offers by way of novelty.' 
They offer nothing new, obviously. Reheated is the word. 

And yet a lot of Labour voters, most, would prefer a moderate left-wing party to one led by Trotskyites.

There are, it is often not understood, a sizeable number of extreme left-wing voters in Britain (there are a lot fewer extreme right-wing voters) but many of them do not like Mr Corbyn at the moment, because he is not offering a second referendum. Most Labour voters, however, have nothing in common with the leftists who joined the party by paying £3

A shame that the Independent Group is passionately Remain, because Britain needs another sort of new party altogether that can appeal to Labour Leave voters, (Nigel Farage's new one?), but it has no choice as many of its members were to have been deselected and would not fight the next election. And even though they are globalists and sign up to the Blairite agenda, including regulations, taxes, mass immigration and liberal wars, they are  better than the far left Corbynites, who also favour mass immigration.

What is clear is that under David Cameron, but much more so under Theresa May, the Tories have become mildly left-of-centre social liberals. Britain had three social democratic parties like Germany does - until Jeremy Corbyn and AfD came along. 

And the difference is that AfD is treated like a pariah while Mr Corbyn could become Prime Minister. 

The Brexit vote has exploded a bomb under the Blairite consensus in the Tory party to a slight extent, but only slightly. The modernising agenda is still there, but postponed while we think only about Brexit.

Would a Tory Jeremy Corbyn be a useful thing? I suppose not, because a right-wing Corbyn would not be an inventive or creative palaeo-conservative or a British Trump, but a fascist. Not a single Tory MP, not anywhere on the backbenches, is remotely as distant from the political consensus as Jeremy Corbyn and his pals and nor are Nigel Farage or UKIP. 

Still, a Labour split at any time in history is a good thing for the Tories and for mankind. The Tories should not run candidates against the Labour renegades and hope the Liberal Democrats copy them. 

The Tory renegades have only the issue of Brexit and there is no medium term future in that, though some renegades (thankfully not La Soubry) might keep their seats and be in effect independents. I doubt it though.

Should the Independent Group call themselves the Liberal Party? It would be a better name than New Labour.


'The secret of success is constancy to purpose.' Disraeli

'Karl Popper, foremost philosopher of science, once stated that “the growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement,” yet disagreement with a growing number of orthodoxies is becoming increasingly dangerous.' Hans Peter Dietz

Thursday 21 February 2019

Iran has been lucky in her enemies

The Iranian government has been blessed by exceptional good fortune. 

America destroyed her two mortal foes, Saddam and the Taliban, and brought democracy of a sort to Iraq, which meant Sunni rule. 

No doubt the mullahs think it is because God is on their side. They do not know that God is an Englishman.

Saddam was a very old fashioned figure from the 1930s, who invaded neighbouring countries in a way that has become very rare. He invaded Iran without any justification and the war was as terrible as the First World War. The Iranians think America encouraged Saddam. This explains the putative Saudi desire to get the bomb. 

The bomb is not any use for aggressive purposes in any conventional war and dropping one is not of interest to anyone except nihilistic terrorists like Al Qaeda or ISIS. Iranian leaders do not want to hasten the end of the world, whatever you may have read, but want one to protect themselves against their neighbours and the Anglo-Americans, just as Saddam wanted weapons of mass destruction.

David Gardener writes this in an article in The Financial Times

Saddam using chemical weapons on Iranian army and rained down missiles on  cities, while the world stood by. That is why Iran sought a nuclear capability. That is also its justification for establishing forward lines of defence in neighbouring countries, and its winning formula of militias and missiles. Under regional and international siege, it has indeed withstood all enemies. But it needed their help.

The Israeli invasion of civil war-racked Lebanon in 1982, greenlit by Washington, helped create conditions for Iran to develop Hizbollah, which would become its paramilitary spearhead in the Levant. The reckless US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 took out a tyrant but also demolished a bulwark against revolutionary Iran. Amid chaos and carnage it installed Shia governance in an Arab heartland country for the first time in centuries, rekindling the embers of Sunni-Shia enmity.

The explosion of Sunni jihadi extremism in Iraq after the invasion, and then Syria as the west subcontracted support for the majority Sunni rebellion there to the Gulf states, also garnered kudos for Iran and its paramilitaries for their role in defeating Isis. The Trump administration’s attempt to marshal a Saudi-led Arab bloc behind a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians allows Tehran to posture as the only power that stands by the Palestinian cause.

There is a litany of epic failures here. Before Mr Trump came to power, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had already all but replicated the Hizbollah paramilitary model in Iraq and Syria — except on a larger scale. Hizbollah and the big Iraqi Shia militias also won legitimacy at the ballot box last year.

Iran is not a threat to anyone except the Sunni monarchies and Israel and not really even to them. The Saudis and the Sunni extremists are the great threat to Christendom/the West. America should stop being wagged by its Saudi and Israeli tails and I think this is happening. I think it inevitable, really,

Do I want the Iranian mullahs to cede power? Yes, but without foreign intervention. 

Or at least so I thought until recently. 

But I am aware of a contradiction here as the rebels who took up arms against the regime in Syria (a secular regime but much less democratic and even more cruel than the one in Iran) did unspeakable harm and caused a bloodbath. 

The problem is that there is no strong man in Iran like the Shah to replace the mullahs and democracy is not going to work.

Once again we see the limitations of liberalism, a creed which seems to be in decline.

Restoring the monarchy might be the solution but the Shah's father was a dictator who grabbed power and made himself Shah.

It is all very perplexing.

Sherelle Jacobs thinks she understand TIG's Machiavellian strategy

Perhaps I am getting old. Certainly I have a lot of work to do and I am preoccupied by the myriad horrors afflicting the Catholic Church, but I simply could not understand what the point of The Independent Group of MPs, who this week left the British Labour Party, was. 

Until, that is, I read a very good article by Sherelle Jacobs in today's Daily Telegraph. 

She gives a convincing explanation. She thinks they know full well that they cannot break the to party system thanks to our electoral system
But the Anna Soubrys and Chuka Umunnas have been facing deselection for months. Knowing that the political end is probably nigh for them anyway, these obscure MPs have spotted an opportunity to change the course of history, and in the process write themselves a legacy. That is to force the Prime Minister to kill off Brexit, in a calculated kamikaze-style plot. 

Phrases that have taken on negative connotations

  1. What are the best examples of phrases that have taken on negative connotations, despite the words themselves being wholly positive? For instance, “health and safety”, “do-gooder”, arguably now “human rights”.
  2. You can add Conservative Party to the list.