Thursday 27 June 2019



'It may be said, however, that even if the theoretical book-trained Socialist is not a working man himself, at least he is actuated by a love of the working class. He is endeavouring to shed his bourgeois status and fight on the side of the proletariat–that, obviously, must be his motive.

'But is it? Sometimes I look at a Socialist–the intellectual, tract-writing type of Socialist, with his pullover, his fuzzy hair, and his Marxian quotation–and wonder what the devil his motive really is. It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of the working class, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed. The underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard.'

George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

'Cameron liked to present himself as a moderniser, urging the party in 2001 to “change its language, change its approach, start with a blank sheet of paper”. Yet there followed a remarkable caveat: that modernisation would be harder for the Conservatives than for Labour, “because there are no obvious areas of policy that need to be dropped”. Four years later, he insisted that the party needed “fundamental change”, not “slick rebranding”. But what was change to mean, if the policies remained the same? By 2007, his leadership had acquired a purposeless character, from which it was only rescued by the financial crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis. As Rupert Murdoch told the New Yorker in a 2006 interview, before their relationship turned sour, Cameron was “charming, he’s very bright, and he behaves as if he doesn’t believe in anything… He’s a PR guy.”

'If complacency has dried up one of the wells of Conservative thought, secularisation closed off another. The party no longer thinks seriously about concepts such as original sin or imperfectability, ideas that once drove its suspicion of utopian projects. It is no longer rooted in a historic institution that confronted it with a higher set of values than the market. The party retains a dwindling band of theologians, whose “Red Toryism” marks one of the few recent attempts to chart a new direction for Conservatism. Yet they no longer speak a language that resonates with the wider party.'

Robert Saunders, New Statesman, 12 June 2019

'Marrakech, as you probably know, is now a hugely popular tourist destination. Uber travel snobs, I expect, would probably argue that it has peaked. Back in the day, when the only place to stay was (Churchill’s favourite winter resort) La Mamounia or your gay aristocratic friend’s exquisitely restored riad, I’m sure you could still wander round feeling intrepid, and adventurous, and louche, like a character from a Paul Bowles novel. Not now it’s serviced direct by Ryanair and EasyJet you can’t.'

James Delingpole in the Spectator yesterday


  1. The singularity of the present time lies in the fact that the geopolitical retreat of the West has coincided with the advance of a hyperbolic liberal ideology in western societies. The fall of communism was celebrated as the endpoint of political development. In future, the only legitimate mode of government would consist of replicas of liberal democracy. But rather than a victory for liberalism, the Soviet collapse was the defeat of an illiberal Enlightenment project originating with the Jacobins and implemented by Lenin. Far from embracing another western ideology – the cult of the free market – post-communist Russia has become a Eurasian power defining itself against the West as a separate civilisation founded in Eastern Orthodox religion. Similarly, when China rejected Maoism it was not in order to embrace a western-style market economy. Instead a neo-Confucian variant of state capitalism has been developed, on whose continuing success western economies now heavily depend.

    John Gray

  2. Russia is an Orthodox Christian nation, and there have always been problems between Orthodox Christianity and the Catholic world. This is exactly why I will now say a few words about Catholics. Are there any problems there? Yes, there are, but they cannot be over-exaggerated and used for destroying the Roman Catholic Church itself. This is what cannot be done.

    Sometimes, I get the feeling that these liberal circles are beginning to use certain elements and problems of the Catholic Church as a tool for destroying the Church itself. This is what I consider to be incorrect and dangerous.

    All right, have we forgotten that all of us live in a world based on Biblical values? Even atheists and everyone else live in this world. We do not have to think about this every day, attend church and pray, thereby showing that we are devout Christians or Muslims or Jews. However, deep inside, there must be some fundamental human rules and moral values. In this sense, traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist.

    Vladimir Putin

  3. LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Breakdancing moved a step closer to the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday, and now organizers can look to book a street venue in Paris.

    Called breaking in Olympic circles, its medal debut was last October at the Buenos Aires Youth Summer Games. The street dance competitions will have 16 athletes in each of the men's and women's medal events in Paris.

    IOC members formally endorsed requests from Paris officials in February and their own executive board in March to provisionally add breakdancing to the program, pending a final decision in December 2020.

  4. Russia is not an Orthodox nation, especially now after communism. You can look it up on Wikipedia, a very large chunk of the population is atheist or spiritual (but not religious), and a large and fast growing minority is Muslim. Self declared Orthodox Christians make up less than half of the population, and real believers are probably fewer. Don't fall for the propaganda, Communism has largely achieved its end goal in Russia.