Wednesday, 29 December 2021

The left are enemies of the people

The left has acquired the bourgeois vices of cosmopolitanism, snobbery and contempt for their own country and countrymen.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Knut Witkowski one year ago

 "I'm not an "expert" who does the politicians bidding to get government money. I'm an independent scientist. Two epidemics this season, InfB in Dec and infA in Feb have been ended naturally (ie by Herd Immunity developing). If COVID hadn't been "flattened" (prolonged), it would have been over in May with less then 100K deaths. All other deaths were caused by our politicians, who were helped "experts" like Fauci. 2 weeks ago, we needed 60% to be immune for HI, now we need 90%. Science is not decided by majority vote. If you wear a mask you increase the risk of the vulnerable dying and the next wave developing, it's your right, but I prefer to act responsibly." 

Knut Wittkowski on LinkedIn one year ago today. Was he right?

Sunday, 26 December 2021

From the first reading at Mass today

"Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure." Ecclesiasticus 3.2.3. This is why we should honour and try hard to love our country, right or wrong. 

Friday, 24 December 2021

Yet more quotations

“I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed.”
Leonard Cohen

"If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me."
Alice Roosevelt Longworth

"Aristocracy may have its faults but ratocracy, which is what in practice a meritocratic system produces, is proving even worse."
Peregrine Worsthorne

"They all laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now"
Bob Monkhouse

Trust your instinct

I find it almost impossible to listen to audio or watch video in the age of clicks, but I watched a very stimulating discussion with John Cleese, which I recommend to you, about creativity. John Cleese quoted Bernard Berenson the American art historian saying he could recommend a forgery because it made him feel ill.

Some people give you a bad feeling in your stomach. It is more important to trust your instinct than your reason.

I have a historian's instinct about things which often serves me. I know some stories are thin and shallow - the arguments for lockdowns are an example.

I gave up the news and social media almost completely (I allow myself the press over my breakfast like a Victorian paterfamilias) so I was a week late catching this article in the Daily Mail by Professor Jay Bhattacharya, headlined

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Quotations

You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.
Jordan Peterson

Out with stereotypes, feminism proclaims. But stereotypes are the west's stunning sexual personae, the vehicles of art's assault against nature. The moment there is imagination, there is myth.
Camille Paglia

Women select men. That makes them nature, because nature is what selects. And you can say "Well it's only symbolic that women are nature", it's like no, it's not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can't get more like nature than that, in fact it's the very definition of nature.
Jordan Peterson

Woman is the dominant sex. Men have to do all sorts of stuff to prove that they are worthy of woman's attention.
Camille Paglia

Sunday, 19 December 2021

The left has acquired the bourgeois vices of cosmopolitanism, snobbery and contempt for their own country and countrymen.

‎One starts to get young

Youth has no age. 
Pablo Picasso

One starts to get young at sixty and then it's too late.
Pablo Picasso

She was good, quiet, dull, and amiable, and young only because she was twenty-three.
E.M Forster

Between thirty and forty, one is distracted by the Five Lusts;
Between seventy and eighty, one is prey to a hundred diseases.
But from fifty to sixty one is free from all ills;
Calm and still–the heart enjoys rest.
I have put behind me Love and Greed; I have done with Profit and Fame;
I am still short of illness and decay and far from decrepit age.
Strength of limb I still possess to seek the rivers and hills;
Still my heart has spirit enough to listen to flutes and strings.
At leisure I open new wine and taste several cups;
Drunken I recall old poems and sing a whole volume.
Meng-te has asked for a poem and herewith I exhort him
Not to complain of three-score, "the time of obedient ears."
Po Chu-i or Bai Juyi, translated by Arthur Waley
(The Buddha said men have five lusts: food, sleep, sex, money, fame. I presume this is what the poet means, though elsewhere I have seen a Chinese poet include love of flowers in the list, which seems odd.)

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Life will never return to normal?

'A survey by Bank of America found almost half of Britons now believe life will never return to normal.' The figure was around 20% at the start of the year. I suddenly realise we the public have to rebel against this coup d'état by experts. If we have learnt anything from the last few decades we have learnt that experts should never be allowed power. (The word Britons always conjures a picture of bearded druids.)

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Why do we presume Omicron is dangerous when the signs are that it is not?

Not all epidemiologists are pessimists or alarmists. Not even all the ones who get covered by the media. Professor Tim Spector, for example, is given BBC airtime, so is respectable, doesn't think vaccine passports will achieve much but goes along with them in the UK for the time being, thinks masks probably don't work, but nevertheless thinks the English ought to wear the and advises them to be cautious over Christmas. He strongly recommends vaccines for older people, but thinks people under 50 are more likely to contract Covid in the lengthy queues for the vaccine than to gain any benefit.

Professor Spector said on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday, talking about the Omicron variant of Covid (why don't we call it the Botswanan variant?):

'The majority of symptoms are just like a common cold, so we're talking about headaches, sore throat , runny nose, fatigue, and things like sneezing. Things like fever, and cough, and loss of smell, are actually now in the minority of symptoms that we're seeing.'

Omicron might well be a blessing, lightly disguised.

Why not give people advice and let them decide for themselves?

Monday, 13 December 2021

Thoughts

Would we lose much if we abolished all academic disciplines with the word 'studies' in the name?

Traditionalism is deadly, tradition is the source of life.

More than 60% of Africans are under the age of 25. This has protected the continent from Covid-19 but what can protect Europe from levels of migration last seen in the first millennium?

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Knut Witkowski seems to have been proven right. Slowing the infection means giving variants time to develop and more not fewer deaths.

Knut Witkowski seems to have been right all along.


All attempts to delay the transmission of the Covid virus have simply enabled variants to have time to develop and spread. They develop in three months whereas new vaccines take nine months. This means more people die than had we done nothing except shelter elderly and frail people.


His views are censored on Twitter and Facebook. He makes comments on other people's posts on LinkedIn for fear of censorship there.


In the most recent interview with him I can find, he says Covid is in effect a flu and had it not been identified as a new ILI (Influenza Like Illness) it would have passed through the population quickly and been forgotten by the general public.


Freddy Gray in Unherd on Thursday talking about the new restrictions in England said something I with which completely agree and which horrifies me.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Generalisations are always valuable

'People don't have ideas. Ideas have people.' 
Carl Jung (quoted by Jordan Peterson)

'The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.' 
William Morris

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Omicron and other threats

Yesterday Vladimir Putin said fears about the omicron variant may be “premature”. 
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. They say it’s not that virulent. Some specialists even call it a live vaccine.”
The Telegraph explains:
"Live vaccines include an attenuated, or weakened, form of the virus that causes a particular disease to trigger an immune response that will generate protective antibodies, but is not strong enough to make an individual sick."
In other words a vaccine, as the word was understood until very recently. We know viruses mutate and become less and less dangerous. 

The head of the World Health Organisation in Europe said that travel bans will do little to combat the omicron variant, as it has already been identified in 21 countries in Europe, but still restrictions are put in place.

They manage these things better in Sweden, when it comes to Covid, though Sweden gets most things badly wrong.

Scientists and doctors know or should know that there is an order in the universe and nature usually finds a balance. Unfortunately doctors are alarmists by calling. As Lord Salisbury said, if you believe doctors nothing is wholesome.

Even so, both Professor Whitty in the UK and Dr. Fauci in the USA say omicron seems not to be serious.

The doctor who discovered omicron said it’s a lot milder than delta- don’t panic!

Cue a manufactured panic, while voices that say things are not as serious as the authorities think are suppressed. 

This seems terribly wrong to me and a terribly bad precedent. Is this the shape of things to come? 

Probably, along with unprecedented numbers of refugees, Black Lives Matter ideas and climate anxiety. 

All are products of a sort of Platonism, an attempt by would-be philosopher kings to reorganise the world. 

When people try to reorganise the world, especially on rational lines, it rarely goes well.

Plato has been described as the distant ancestor of fascism. Our neoplatonic rulers fear fascism above all other things, but are increasingly fascistic themselves.

Yet a left-wing friend of mine from childhood wrote to me last night that he is thinking of emigrating to Ireland because England is "becoming far less tolerant and far more hateful and inward looking". 

I can't see any sign of England or any country in the world becoming more inward-looking. I don't think it is possible, for technical reasons. But I am 1,500 miles away. 

Perhaps a backlash against internationalism and experts is going to come. I suspect my friend just dislikes Brexit and won't move, but things must change sometime. 

Getting back to Vladimir Putin, the virtual meeting yesterday between him and Joe Biden was described by the Kremlin as 'frank'. 'A free and frank exchange of views' in diplomatic parlance usually means blows came close to being struck, but this meeting was a virtual one.

Russia has invaded a neighbouring country and is a fairly big problem for Europe, mainly because of most of Eastern Europe's dependence on her for gas, but Russia is another danger to Europe that is much exaggerated and for which there is not really any solution.

For now, the default setting of the world is to panic about things that should not cause panic and suppress any mention of things that should absolutely terrify us.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

A year before he became Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger saw Europe was in terminal decline

The essay “If Europe Hates Itself” is here. He said that ethnically Europe appeared to be on the way out. The present Pope wants to hurry along this process by encouraging immigration from the Maghreb and Asia.



Sunday, 28 November 2021

Euthenasia and Covid restrictions

I am indebted to my faithful reader Toma for this information. 

The highest German court ruled last year that euthanasia was not unconstitutional and, since then, in some provinces it has become legal, but anyone wishing to be euthanised should first present proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid, according to new guidelines issued by Germany's palliative care association.

I think it very shocking that euthanasia is being legalised. 

I also dislike the word guidelines. It came into fashion when traditional institutions became bureaucratic and run not by landowners and the church but by the kind of people who rule us now.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Quotations

"The people who made Britain rich were not acting in the interests of the workers." A Congolese historian on the BBC Radio Four Today programme in 2011, telling a shocked interviewer that all the good things in the Congo were thanks to the Belgians. He brushed aside the BBC man's objection that the Belgians were self-interested. 

“If you yourself don’t choose what thoughts and images you expose yourself to, someone else will, and their motives may not be the highest.” Epictetus

“Thoughts become perception, perception becomes reality. Alter your thoughts, alter your reality.” William James

"The theologians say the soul has no sex. I doubt it. I very much doubt it." Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Winston Churchill's prescription for alcohol while visiting the US while prohibition was in force. Prohibition, McCarthyism, Woke, so many strange phases that curious country goes through.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

The Nazis, Napoleon, the Kaisers and compulsory vaccination

The decision by Austria to have another lockdown was a big surprise to me but it is, I suppose, what one should expect. Her decision to make vaccination against Covid compulsory shocked me very much, but people who say this is reminiscent of the Nazis are mistaken.

An article in The Daily Telegraph explains that the world’s first vaccine was developed against smallpox in 1798. 
Bavaria, which had become a kingdom the year before, was the first place to make vaccination compulsory in 1807. This, the article says, two years later led to an armed rebellion in the Northern Tyrol, then in Bavaria, now part of Austria, led by Andreas Hofer, who opposed the vaccine for religious reasons. 17,000 people died in the rebellion.

Great Britain made smallpox vaccination compulsory from 1853 till 1971 and the second German Reich did so in 1874. Then as now there were plenty of people who opposed vaccines.

The Nazis inherited the compulsory vaccination law, but fearing they might stir up resistance they did not enforce it and in 1940 they effectively made vaccination optional. Compulsory vaccination for smallpox returned to Germany and Austria after 1945. 

Friday, 19 November 2021

Words and phrases that go out of fashion

Odd how expressions go out of fashion. I just said 'Homer nods' and realised I haven't said or heard it said for decades. 

I also suspect I might be the last man to say 'Mr Gladstone' and one of a declining number who say 'Dr Johnson.' I used the expression 'pile Pelion on Ossa' recently talking on Facebook to an erudite professor of Scottish literature who hadn't heard it.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Things I read recently

Aldous Huxley in 1946 predicted exactly how we live now.

"There is, of course, no reason why the new totalitarianisms should resemble the old. Government by clubs and firing squads, by artificial famine, mass imprisonment and mass deportation, is not merely inhumane (nobody cares much about that nowadays); it is demonstrably inefficient

"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is the truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr Churchill calls an ‘iron curtain’ between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals."

Monday, 15 November 2021

Remedy worse than the disease

A disaster often does much less harm than what you do in response to it. September 11 being the best example. Covid-19 looks like another example.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Europe is a sick man

The key Marxist idea that class drives history seems to be forgotten, except by the hard left, but the equally key idea that countries, nations, ethnic groups and races are false consciousness was never more alive and well. 

It is now clear that this in many ways was the biggest Marxist fallacy of all and is being adopted by liberals, by Catholics, by the dying continent of Europe.

Europe which ruled the world until 1941, despite barbarian and then Muslim invasions, is now utterly feeble. As Neagu Djuvara said, it is committing suicide (if it has not already done so). 

This short essay by Peter Franklin is interesting on this theme.

What all of these crises reveal is the essential powerlessness of the European Union. We’ve been told ad nauseam that the EU is the producer of peace in Europe. The truth, however, is that the EU is the product of it. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Marxism is still powerful in the USA and has been for about 6 decades, except in the 1950s

The 1960s social revolution stems not from Paris in 1968 but from the American Civil Rights movement which was organised originally by Communists, as Harry Truman pointed out. 

Communism has played a crucial role in American history in every decade since 1920, except the 1950s, and you ain't heard nothing yet!

Think of the Soviet spies. Think of the Weather Underground that anticipated today's Woke movement with its talk of white skin privilege. They went into bombing public buildings, but then realised that running kindergartens not terrorism was the way to win power.

But although political correctness was a Leninist phrase revived by George HW Bush as a weapon against the left (it made a noise but it turned out that it fired blanks) the new sort of liberalism, influenced by the ideas of heretical Frankfurt School of Marxism and academics who sought refuge in the USA from Hitler, is more  important than the old hard left, as it was back in the 1960s and 1970s


Saturday, 6 November 2021

Indian summer in Bucharest

 


How did Chips Channon know two days in advance that Germany would invade Russia on 22 June 1941?

I learnt some interesting things last night from reading a review of the second volume of the (almost) unexpurgated diaries of Anglo-American diarist and Conservative MP Chips Channon.

Channon, who wasn't in the government (he was merely Rab Butler's P.P.S., i.e. bag carrier), told the people he dined with on 20 June 1941 that Germany would invade Russia two days later, which is what happened.

How did he know and Stalin not?

Friday, 5 November 2021

Please to remember the 5th of November and English hatred of Catholicism

Thirty years ago in the summer of 1991 I went into the Jesuit Church in Farm St and talked to a priest on duty. He turned out to be a lovely elderly Jesuit called Father Francis Edwards and he told me as we parted that he had written a book arguing that the Gunpowder Plot was what conspiracy theorists these days call a false flag operation. The details are here.

The burning of Cranmer and other Protestants - and Fox's Book of Martyrs detailing the deaths - strengthened Protestant feeling, even though far, far more Catholics who took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace had been killed by Henry VIII. 

Churchill said that the grass grows on the battlefield but never on the scaffold. 

Still, Shakespeare and the men of his generation were either Catholics or well disposed to the old religion. 

Somebody said that hatred of Catholicism is the only genuinely religious emotion that the English ever experience. The gunpowder plot was the moment when the English came to hate the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen - Danny Kaye was right

In the 1980s Peking, as it was called, was full of cyclists and Copenhagen was full of cars. Now it's the other way around. 

Danes are friendly people but watch out for cyclists who have the right of way, though they are much nicer about almost running you down than the young battleaxes of Stockholm. 


The disused church of St Nicholas in Copenhagen, now an art gallery, with its large banner proclaiming 'IN ART WE TRUST' seems to sum up Denmark (and Europe) looking for a substitute for God. 

Art, science, eliminating poverty, Marxism have all been tried. Non-discrimination is the latest attempt. Another attempt at finding the meaning of life, as Douglas Murray says, is by taking nice holidays.

Although Douglas Murray did not mean this, holidays are more than materialistic and self-indulgent means to refresh oneself. They have their spiritual dimension. Solitary travel is one of the most pleasant forms of introspection. I think Laurence Durrell said that. Mircea Eliade said that one travels abroad to explore ones subconscious mind.

Can we trust the climate scientists? Certainly not with decisions

The BBC is more unbearable than usual, propagandising about climate change. When did the media stop trying to report the news and begin telling people what to think and how to behave? Was there a time when they just reported things?

A BBC insider said that the BBC internal briefing to editors on covering climate change was reminiscent of ‘a campaigning organisation'.

I am sceptical about climate change and shocked that the views of sceptics are deliberately suppressed by the BBC. It is the same with Covid and lots of other subjects. You can list them, gentle reader.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Buna dimineața, dragi tovarăși si prieteni!


What humbugs we are to say we live for beauty and never rise to see the dawn (Logan Pearsall Smith). Sir Roger Scruton, whom I almost spent some days in 1991 in Bratislava, was very saddened by the electronic adverts in Piața Unirii. I found the lack of adverts in 1990 surprisingly depressing.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated people dying from Covid

I hear about a lot of unvaccinated Romanians in their 40s and 50s dying of Covid-19. 

Many people in Romania are understandably angry with people who campaign against being vaccinated, who return the feeling.

The Romanian Covid Vaccine Committee says that vaccines reduce the risk of infection to one fifth of what the risk would be without a vaccine and the risk of dying of Covid to one twentieth.

This does not mean people who have been vaccinated do not die of Covid. Not at all. 

Monday, 25 October 2021

Autumn in Cișmigiu


The end of the Cold War robbed the world of its only interesting thing. Bucharest's Cismigiu Park would have been a great place for a dead drop, before the revolution.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

David's murder

   Cardinal Burke blesses David's rosary.



The murder of poor David Amess has shaken me. 

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. And for me. His foul murder makes me realise how much time has gone past since I was his research assistant in the summer of 1983,

Back then I was in sympathy with the Harold Macmillan wing of the Tory Party and had worked for Mr Macmillan's (not yet the Earl of Stockton's) son Maurice two years earlier. 

I had spared a half day from my studies to canvass for Norman St John Stevas in Chelmsford in the election. (He was a Catholic, like me and David, but not as good a one as David. He caressed his male friend's thigh in the car taking us to the next place to canvass, something which would then have been a scandal had the public known.) 

I chose to canvass with St John Stevas because he was the reverse of a Thatcherite. 

He said to me while we were canvassing that
'We'll have to disenfranchise the unemployed. They'll be the majority next time.'

Friday, 15 October 2021

My old boss Sir David Amess has been murdered

My old boss when I was an undergraduate Sir David Amess, Tory MP for my home town, has been murdered. 

In 1983 his politics and mine were different. Nowadays I intended every week to call him and see if we could do something together but years slid past. 

His views on everything then, unlike mine, were very conservative indeed, especially on immigration. He was a real working class East Ender, a devout Catholic with five children. He once said that if no-one else would be hangman he would do the job.

He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Portillo for many years. After he was knighted he had this picture taken.



A true conservative

I just came across a copy I made of this Spectator editorial, by chance, written on the death of Sir Wilfred Thesiger. 

I thought I had mentioned it before in this blog but it seems not.



I was extremely flattered indeed when a friend who reads my blog said I reminded him of Thesiger. Praise indeed. 

I am afraid I have not yet read Thesiger but I love him from this paean in the Spectator. He is my (and the Spectator's) kind of conservative. So called fiscal conservatives are not - conservatives like Theresa May and George W. Bush much less so.
What made him so interested in these people, and so capable of winning their trust, and so determined to spend his life among them?

The war by experts against the rest

The thing is that obeying experts is not following the science. The scientific method is to question received opinions and to test them repeatedly against experience.

This goes for history more than any other science, if history is one (I always found that debate completely barren, like the American one about whether the Nazis were left-wing).

This is the way people like taxi drivers and barbers work, which is why they know everything.

A war is going on in the developed world between graduates (especially ones under say 40) and the non-graduates, exemplified by the taxi driver and barber class. 

It's part of the war between big cities and small towns and is essentially a battle for control by the expert class. 

Covid is about that, obviously.

So is climate change.

Immigrants and refugees are too, because the expert class favours both. 

So was Brexit. Lord Chancellor Gove's remark is misquoted often but was very true.

“I think the people of this country have had enough of experts with organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Are Scandinavians nearly perfect people?

When you try to understand Scandinavia this thought might help. The Vikings are the ones who left. The non-Vikings stayed at home.

Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt, from the centre-right Moderate Partysaid in a speech in November 2006 that “the only barbarism is domestic” and that “all advancement derives from abroad”.

I have the usual prejudices against Scandinavia (progressive, conformist, materialistic, egalitarian, post-Christian, bicycling monarchs) but they have good points. They are honest, public spirited, surprisingly conservative, socially cohesive except for newcomers. 

They are very moral in their way, which is their weak point because it is the wrong way.

Although not many people go to church, I suppose it all comes down to cultural Lutheranism. 

Fredrik Reinfeldt said that flying over Sweden, his feet far above the ground, he saw that the country had lots of room for immigrants. So it undoubtedly does.

By 2014 immigration into Sweden had reached what was then its highest ever level and he was worried, not about the numbers of young men coming from the Middle East, although he accepted that this would cost a great deal of public money and put a strain on the economy, but about losing votes to the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats. 

In order to persuade the electorate of the wisdom of his immigration policy, he said in a television interview on Christmas Eve 2014 that Sweden's borders are "fictional" and the native Swedish are “uninteresting”.

He might be right in his second point. 

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Is Uncle Sam committing suicide or being euthenised?



Are we witnessing what a French conservative magazine recently called The Suicide of America?

Or a sort of euthanasia. Killing Uncle Sam softly with kindness?

America is a country that has gone from barbarism to decadence without a period of civilisation in between. I thought HL Mencken said that but apparently it was Georges Clemenceau.

I agree with most of this article by Taki, including what Taki says about Mrs Thatcher, whom I disliked at the time. The Neo-con pseudo-conservatives are to blame for the state America is in as much as the left.

I think his advice to America to befriend Vladimir Putin won't work, because it was tried by Bush junior, who looked into his eyes and found him very straightforward, Hillary and the Donald. But it is important to try to divide China and Russia, if possible.

I have always had very ambiguous feelings about America. I admire Americans' religiosity, their parochialism, their unabashed patriotism, their lack of understanding of irony, their love of freedom, their manliness.

These things seem to be dying out among people under 35.

Sweden has few Covid cases despite not having had a lockdown

In Sweden which had no lockdown only 39 people out of a population of ten million are in intensive care with Covid.

Meanwhile Romania, where the lockdown ended in May 2020 after about 1,200 deaths, had more Covid cases and deaths yesterday than any other country in Europe. People here expect another lockdown or at least the closure of the restaurants and requiring masks in the street. Almost no-one has worn masks in Sweden.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Ian Duncan Smith, the forgotten father of Brexit

I am reading All In It Together, Alwyn Turner's history of Great Britain from the momentous 1997 election and Tony Blair to the momentous 2015 election, the eve of Brexit. It came out in June. 

It makes me even more grateful than ever that I came to live in Romania in 1998.

History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind, according to Gibbon. That was certainly a good description of the history of Great Britain under New Labour from 1997 to 2010. 

I didn't like Margaret Thatcher or Thatcherism but it was not true of the preceding years of Conservative rule from 1979.

In the end it became clear that she had restored England's self-confidence, as Ronald Reagan (someone else whose qualities I couldn't see) did America's. This was the test. 

The UK was a cohesive, unitary state. Our wars were just ones. Our borders were by 21st century standards fairly secure. The country received fifty thousand 'secondary immigrants' (spouses from the Sub-Continent) a year and numerous asylum seekers.

It was interesting to learn from All In It Together that Brexit might well not have happened had Ken Clark been elected Conservative leader in 2001, rather than the completely ineffectual Ian Duncan Smith. 

I presumably knew it at the time but had not retained it. This is the cleverness of the book. Mrs Thatcher was the first politician to propose a referendum on the euro and Tony Blair had promised he would not join the single currency without one

Labour (it was Gordon Brown's decision) might have risked holding one had the Euro-enthusiast Ken been leader of the main opposition party, because it would have split the Conservatives in two. The third party, the Liberal Democrats, were the most enthusiastic about the euro of any party. 

Instead, with Maastricht Treaty rebel IDS leading the Tories, they would have fought a referendum on the euro hard. It would have isolated the Europhiles in the Tory party and the euro referendum would probably (almost certainly) have been lost. 

But had the UK adopted the Euro as Tony Blair wanted, Brexit would have been close to impossible.

The reason why IDS won the leadership was because Tory members had been given the right to vote on the leadership in 1998, following a similar decision by Labour in 1993. 

This is also the reason why Boris Johnson became leader. Most Tory MPs did not want either man.

William Hague who changed the party rules is therefore another father of Brexit, strongly though he opposed Brexit.

David Cameron was not well known, had not been in the House long and was too inexperienced to be leader. Had only MPs voted it is unlikely that he would have won, though certain that the lazy, arrogant David Davis would have lost. MPs know one another.

Theresa May was very much worse even than Ian Duncan Smith, so the Tory electoral system has not worked well. 

The previous one, invented by Humphrey Barclay who then became Labour and by the time I met him a Social Democrat, had done better. It produced Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, John Major and William Hague.

Michael Howard, who was the only excellent leader after William Hague, was chosen without a vote.

Perhaps best of all was the old system whereby leaders emerged and were summoned to Buckingham Palace to kiss hands.

Meanwhile, Labour's 1993 decision to give party members a vote on the leadership led to Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn being elected leader.

I was pleased to learn that one of Mr. Blair's speeches included the line 'I am proud of the British empire' and sorry that it was excised after strong protests from Robin Cook.

However, Gordon Brown did say ‘The days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over’ in a speech in Tanzania in 2005. Good for him.

In fact, the British did an immeasurable amount of good in Africa.

Africa owes much more to Europeans than vice versa. 

This is obvious, except it no longer is obvious.

Freedom and especially freedom of speech became very much more limited in the UK after 1997. 

In 2001 broadcaster Anne Robinson joked about the Welsh on BBC television, 'I've never really taken to the Welsh. What are they for?’ 

She and Greg Dyke, Director-General of the BBC, were questioned by police in connection with the incident.

I kid you not.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Tony Blair had earlier got into trouble for racism towards the Welsh. An account of the 1999 Welsh Assembly elections, serialised in The Mail on Sunday, revealed that he had railed against ‘the f***ing Welsh’. 

North Wales Police immediately launched an investigation. ‘It is not trivial,’ said the chief constable. 

Alwyn Turner disagrees. ‘It was, though. It was really very trivial indeed. It was a man shouting at the telly in the privacy of his own home.’

Repeating aloud Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist teaching on sexual morality was, and remains, borderline illegal.

"…there were still some who believed homosexual practices sinful and it was they who attracted the attention of the police. Both the Catholic writer Lynette Burrows in December 2005 and Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain the following month were investigated the following month for religiously orthodox comments made on BBC radio." 

The BBC 'hurriedly distanced itself' from the words complained of: 

"in a live radio show it sometimes happens that challenging and unpleasant opinions are expressed."

Police did not bring charges, but said they were obliged to speak to people after a homophobic incident was reported. 

“'It is all about reassuring the community,' explained a spokesperson. Not everyone was reassured by this new role of the police as guardians of public manners, however.”

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Finding a refuge to, not from, reality

 I found these two gems in Spectator USA today and yesterday.

Every diner and truck stop I’ve ever come across has presented a refreshing refuge to (not from) reality, hard to find in today’s woke world of pretend problems. Impervious to the affectations of modernity, these restaurants remain bastions of the freedom and honesty America was built upon.
Teresa Mull 

She makes me realise that I sought and found a refuge to, not from, reality in Romania. It seemed much less urgently important back in the 1990s than it does now, but it was important even then. I hoped to find reality in Eastern Europe even when I was a schoolboy, before the last ice age. I remember a clever British philosophy undergraduate (undergraduette?), whose parents were Ukrainian, telling me a few years ago that she loved going to Ukraine 'because people think like human beings there'. Ukraine is not in the European Union and so people think even more like human beings there than here.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Life in general, Heath on Brexit, Michel Houellebecq on impending war in France

"A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats." George Orwell

"Other people's lives may easily be human documents. But a man's own life is always a melodrama.”
G.K. Chesterton  

"I do not know what the heart of a rascal may be, but I know what is in the heart of an honest man; it is horrible."
Joseph de Maistre 

"Brexit was a declaration of war on the global establishment, and as a result Britain is being held to a higher standard than other, more compliant countries. After years of bad publicity from an international media that was almost entirely anti-Brexit, such an attitude is no surprise, even if it is galling. Every problem in the UK is magnified, and immediately (and wrongly) blamed on our idiosyncratic decision to govern ourselves and reject the strictures of global bureaucrats."
Allister Heath today in the Daily Telegraph

"I should mention in passing the Leftist/progressivist/humanist opinion: we are not dealing with a suicide but with a regeneration. Ethnic composition is, admittedly, being modified, but in the essentials everything else remains unchanged: our republic (or rather in Europe, mostly our monarchy) our culture, our values, our “Rule of Law,” all that stuff. I sometimes hear this opinion being defended (though more and more rarely).

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

This video clip shows that Joe Biden is starting to lose his wits. The media covers for him, which is not their job.

I accidentally came across these clips from Sky News Australia of Joe Biden and think the evidence that the president is losing it is overwhelming. 

He always rambled and lost his point but this is more than that.

Ronald Reagan was becoming senile in his second term and his country prospered, though he was compos mentis enough when a friend of mine spent some hours with him in 1990. Winston Churchill suffered a stroke in 1953, while attending a dinner for Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi but continued in office two more years. 

More concerning than Biden's deteriorating faculties is the way the US media is simply the propaganda arm of an essentially bipartisan establishment and acts to protect the President. Most concerning of all is that left-of-centre people just don't notice or don't care.

More here. 

Niall Ferguson does not think China will overtake America in the next twenty years

When I was in Peking I bought and read Niall Ferguson's interesting 2011 book, Civilisation: The West and the Rest and had dinner with the historian James Palmer, who lives in the city. 

He told me that everything that Niall Ferguson said in the book about China (a lot) was wrong.

I realise now that James Palmer is ardently anti-colonial and left-wing and so disposed not to like a historian who has achieved my childhood ambition and presented imperialism in a fair light. Also, like me, Niall Ferguson loves AJP Taylor.

Still, I assume Mr Palmer knew what he was talking about. 

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Is it transphobic to say only women have a cervix?

Andrew Marr: Is it transphobic to say only women have a cervix? 

British Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer: It shouldn’t be said. It is not right.

So, are the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Covid-19 linked, just like all the damn fools said?

What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass. 
Lord Melbourne

British scientist Peter Daszak's career has been dedicated to showing that environmental changes caused by humans have caused various diseases. It is a highly fashionable area for research, which attracts a lot of taxpayers' money in funding, but that does not mean he is necessarily right.

A campaign he organised in a very circuitous way (I do not want to be sued) succeeded in cancelling the idea that Covid-19 escaped from a Wuhan laboratory. 

A laboratory with which he had an important connection.

Documents released this week revealed a 2018 proposal by Dr Duszak to help the Wuhan Institute of Virology engineer bat coronaviruses to be more deadly, by inserting genetic features that are similar to those found in SARS-CoV-2.

From The Mail on Sunday today:
Daszak's 2018 proposal calls for testing different strains of the engineered viruses on 'humanized mice' to see which would be deadliest to humans. The Wuhan lab is known to use just such mice, with humanized lungs, to carry out research.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Where we are now

'There is a major disconnect between the West’s assumption that totalitarian nations are sloughs of poverty and deprivation, and the narratives of abundance and innovation that regale us daily in Western media and in advertising...... Our totalitarian drift is mostly well hidden, veiled by improvements in leisure, entertainment, and living standards; concealed behind rhetorical niceties and commitments to ill-defined aims such as inclusivity, tolerance, and open-mindedness.'
C. Jay Engel, Chronicles magazine this week.


'Based on WHO guidance, citing Chinese journal articles, doctors around the world began putting patients on ventilators en masse, killing thousands before a grassroots campaign stopped the practice. Based on the WHO’s guidance on COVID-19 testing, again citing Chinese journal articles, labs used, and continue to use, PCR cycle thresholds from 37 to 40, and sometimes as high as 45. At these cycle threshold levels, approximately 85% to 90% of cases are false positives, as confirmed by The New York Times.

'The WHO’s PCR guidance was paired with new international ICD-10 codes for COVID deaths to make COVID-19 quite possibly the deadliest accounting fraud of all time. According to this coding guidance, if a decedent had either tested positive or been in contact with anyone who had, within several weeks prior to their death, then the death should be classified as a COVID-19 death. The result was a terrifying number of supposed “COVID-19 deaths” that bore little relation to the number of “excess deaths” in a given year, even in states and countries that employed few lockdown measures. This absurd number of “COVID-19 deaths” has been used to rationalize any manner of devastation caused by governments’ response to COVID-19—from bankruptcies and mental health crises to deaths from lockdowns themselves.


Michael P Senger, Tablet magazine (the Jewish one not the Catholic one), September 17


'From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, the pattern of American officials showering questionable political allies abroad with armfuls of cash is a long-established practice. However, the idea that this is the reason the “missions” fail in such places is just a continuation of the original propaganda lines that get us into these messes. It’s a way of saying the subject populations are to blame for undermining our noble efforts, when the missions themselves are often preposterous and, moreover, the lion’s share of the looting is usually done by our own marauding contracting community.

Of Rioters, Protesters and Patriots

A large proportion of the small number of writers who have genuinely conservative views are very old. Pat Buchanan, for example, was born in 1938 and is four years older than Joe Biden. When they die the landscape will be very different.

He writes pithily and he sees things others miss. He makes what should be obvious points, which to most are not.

As in this article from February.

To the media, the long hot summer of rioting, looting and arson that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis was driven by "racial justice" protests against a "systemic racism" that permeates society.

The rioters were calling attention to injustices we Americans have failed to address, like police brutality. And almost all of these "peaceful protesters" were calling us to be a better people.

And did not the riots produce beneficial results?

Joe Biden and his party have responded by setting as a goal the replacement of "equality of rights" with "equity," an equality of results, where gaps in test scores, incarcerations, incomes and wealth between white and black are to be closed by government action.

However, as for the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by Trumpists, to protest and perhaps change the outcome of the election, that was an act of insurrection, a treasonous attempt to overturn a democratic election and overthrow a democratic government.

Protests by ordinary people against elites are viewed well by the Western media, unless they are against the US elite of which the US media is a part, or the transnational socially liberal international elite that rules the West. 

The swamp, to coin a phrase. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Do the terrorists misunderstand Islam or not?

Salah Abdeslam, 32, is standing trial for being one of the group of Muslims who murdered 130 people in Paris on the evening of 13 November 2015. Rejecting the terms "terrorists" and "radicalism", he told the court that theirs was an "authentic Islam". 

I had a close and very erudite Muslim friend (may he rest in peace) who told me many times that the extremists completely misunderstood Islam. 

He drank wine and read the Guardian

Was he or Abdeslem right? 

Are there passages in the Koran or hadiths that throw light on this?

Tony Blair and David Cameron said that the Islamists have misunderstood the Koran, but is either a good Koranic scholar?

Monday, 13 September 2021

Saturday, 11 September 2021

If NATO's invasion of Afghanistan was a just war why was the Austro-Hungarian attack on Serbia in 1914 not?

I was against invading Afghanistan and then came round to seeing it as necessary. Now I read that the Taliban did not know about the attacks in New York.


A thought occurs to me twenty years late.


I always blamed Austria Hungary and Francis Joseph for the First World War, but if the Anglo-Americans and Nato were justified in toppling the Taliban and conquering Afghanistan why was Austria Hungary not justified in invading Serbia in 1914?


Austria Hungary avenging the murder of the heir to the throne, in which the Serbian secret service may have been implicated.


And if Austria Hungary was justified England, France, Romania, America and the other Allies in the First World War were the bad guys.


Please critique my logic.

If only Gore had won in 2000

If only the hanging chads had hung the other way and Al Gore been US President on September 11 2001. 

If you think about it, Ralph Nader is responsible for most of the terrible things that happened in the last twenty years, by siphoning off left-wing votes. 

Donald Trump would presumably have been very much better than George W Bush. 

Ross Perot or Pat Buchanan would probably have been best of all.

I am speaking in platitudes. Everyone knows this. 

Even the Bush family must know it.

Americans today are saying "Never forget". But what should they never forget? 

They should never forget that invading other countries without just cause has been disastrous and that the way the US sought revenge for September 11 did them far, far more harm than the attacks themselves, not to mention the harm to other countries. But again platitudes. I am bored typing this.

They would have done much better to have saved money, cut taxes and erected a wall to keep out illegal immigrants. 

Instead their southern border is almost open.

To change the subject, the Taliban have painted over a mural of George Floyd and replaced it with victory slogans.


Early morning and dusk in the Paris of the East

 

Twenty Years After

I wonder if the Taliban are worse than American rule. If I were a Pashtun I doubt I'd think so. They do have martial, masculine, Homeric virtues even though they are Calvinists. 

Calvinism plus polygamy (and nothing to drink).

Despite myself I cannot help being pleased that the American regime has fallen.

The Taliban is not a threat to the West but a million or more Afghan refugees are. There are already, according to UNHCR, 6 million Afghan refugees in the world, 2.2 million of whom are in Iran and Pakistan. Those 2.2 million are no doubt real refugees not economic migrants. 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Return of the native

Oxford

Enchanting and empty, thanks to Covid. 

We put up in Christ Church. 

I found a woman porter with wise, conservative views on politics who said I was lucky to live in Romania. 

I think so too. I feel luckier with every week that passes as I read the British news. 

She had studied politics at Ruskin College, a very left-wing institution. 

I remembered the late Sir Roger Scruton saying he and Juanita the cleaner, who had a photograph of Pope John Paul II in her cubicle, were the only two conservatives at Birbeck College.

24 hours in Gdansk a.k.a. Danzig

The cheapest route to London from Bergen gave me a stopover in Gdansk and I spent a day and night there. 

The old town is fake, of course, and fake German not fake Polish, but it is beautiful. Worth a day and a night. Actually not all the old town was destroyed in the war, unlike at Warsaw, just most of it.

My (post-1945) hotel in the crisp morning air.



Friday, 3 September 2021

Norway in 3 days

“Borders I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.”

These words uttered by Thor Heyerdahl, one of the fairly few famous Norwegians (Ibsen, Munch, Grieg, Quisling, Britt Ekland is Swedish) emblazon Oslo's Torp Sandefjord airport.


I had to queue an hour because of Covid but they would have irritated me even without Covid.

I was later congratulated by my friend in Oslo because at the main airport the queue took 3 hours.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

One rule for the right, another for the left

The left dislike rules which are traditional but enforce the rules they constantly invent ruthlessly. 

Friday, 20 August 2021

The collaborators in Afghanistan are routed

"I give you one statistic. 91 percent of the men in Afghanistan, 86 percent of the women, listen to at least three radio stations a day. In terms of their discourse, in terms of their sophistication of knowledge of the world, I think that I would dare say, they're much more sophisticated than rural Americans with college degrees and the bulk of Europeans -- because the world matters to them. And what is their predominant concern? Abandonment. Afghans have become deeply internationalist."

From a TED talk given in 2005 by Ashraf Ghani, the president who fled Afghanistan this week rather then stay and fight. 

But there was no point in fighting. His very corrupt government was composed of self-interested people collaborating with the American occupiers and supported by the minority of people who preferred American rule to the Taliban. 

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

What a falling off is here


“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” Sigmund Freud.

Not all children.

Debbie: Freud obviously never spent a Sunday afternoon in Pizza Express.

Me: He met only middle class children. Many children are dull little people alas though at puberty the dull ones get infinitely worse. Thank God I am no longer surrounded by 17 years olds as I was at 17.

Monday, 16 August 2021

What was meant to be the point of the last 20 years in Afghanistan?

“Hey man . . . The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese Army, they're not. They're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There's going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan."

Joe Biden, July 8, 2021

"This is not Vietnam. The government is not collapsing."

“The future will be determined by the people of Afghanistan, not by somebody sitting behind the desk, dreaming.”

President Ghani, who fled Afghanistan for Uzbekistan yesterday, made these remarks in an interview with the BBC on 22 February 2021.

Sunday, 15 August 2021

The fall of Kabul is deja vu all over again


Life feels real as you grown older because it acquires texture - the more it seems like a book or film the more it seems real.

This is particularly true when you feel your life experience starts suddenly to be part of history. 

The fall of Kabul seems very like the fall of Saigon. 

I remember the fall of Saigon, therefore I exist.

The attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad a year and a half ago by Iranian backed militia made everyone over 55 remember the fate of Jimmy Carter, especially Donald Trump. He ordered the murder of General Soleimani after having rejected the idea days before.

The only two good things that Old Man Biden has done since becoming American president are continuing his predecessor's Chinese and Afghan policies. 

The struggle between Christianity and Political Correctness in Romania



"We sincerely hope that the pages of this book will provide an infusion of courage and a testimony in favor of an even more intense and constant confession of traditional values for all those who, 30 years after the dissipation of the moral darkness of communism, (still) resist totalitarianism contemporary neo-communists, disguised as preachers of political correctness; in preachers of humanist-secular tolerance, who, in fact, diligently spread the discourse of hatred and propose the abolition of natural differences between people all the way down the lowest level of complete homogeneity; in preachers of the demolition of the values of Christian civilization and in preachers of the neo-Marxist gender fluid ideology, which establishes idolatry and the supremacy of group rights and triggers the class struggle between the sexes."
This is a paragraph from the introduction by Orthodox Bishop Ignatie of Husi to a recent biography of a priest who had been persecuted by Communists. The Bishop 
was asked to remove this paragraph from his introduction as a condition of publication. 

Friday, 13 August 2021

BBC lies, damned lies and statistics about climate change


This very beautiful photograph is of one of a series of fires in California in connection with which a college lecturer has been held by police. The lecturer teaches criminal justice and specialises in cults and deviant behaviour.


A BBC insider says that the BBC internal briefing to editors on covering climate change was reminiscent of ‘a campaigning organisation' and if you click on this link you will see that he is right.

Please click here to see how fallacious the BBC coverage of the putative link between the climate and recent wildfires is.

Wildfires happen each year in Greece and Turkey but it seems that they have been decreasing around the Mediterranean since 1985. 

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Why the world has gone mad - it's social media wot done it

A recent paper shows that the words 

“racist or sexist increasing in usage between 2010 and 2019 by 638% and 403% in The New York Times or 514% and 141% respectively in The Washington Post....The usage of words denoting racism, homophobia, transphobia or sexism were at or near, up to [2014], all-time highs. These results suggest that the trend of increasing prevalence of prejudice related words in media discourse precedes the political emergence of Donald Trump — although Trump’s presidency and subsequent reactions to it may have exacerbated these trends.”

I learnt this from Ed West in Unherd who says:
"The paper, like Zach Goldberg’s work in similar areas, points to a seismic shift in American liberal opinion from about 2013, a change in worldview almost without precedent; even during the 1960s and 70s public opinion changed quite slowly in western countries, and in Britain the basic premises of the sexual revolution weren’t accepted by the majority until well into the 1990s.

"This is a form of runaway progressivism, driven by status anxiety, and it is usually attributed to social media and the iPhone, which encourages clickbait and dopamine-producing culture war content."
Exactly - status anxiety - being modern thinking means you are well educated and well travelled. You have class.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

France is a civilised country (for now)

To repeat myself, in 1990 a French cardiologist said a small amount of red wine a day was good the heart. When asked what he meant by a small amount he replied, "Oh, no more than a bottle or so".

Why do fewer Frenchmen die young than Scots, despite the French fondness for saturated fats in the form of cheese and cream and many other forms? 

I think it has to do with religion, which is the basis for culture, as much as nutrition, but that's only a guess.

Fried Mars bars and vomiting in Sauchiehall St after too much to drink don't help, but that's Scottish culture and somehow linked to the heresy of Calvinism.

The details need working out but I don't have time.

The Taliban are winning without an air force or American equipment because they have support among Afghans

Harold Macmillan, first Earl of Stockton, said in the 1980s 

"The first rule of politics is do not invade Afghanistan."

I quoted Marxist journalist Alexander Cockburn in my penultimate post. Writing about the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in January 1980 in Village Voice he described Afghanistan as 
"an unspeakable country filled with unspeakable people, sheepshaggers and smugglers ... I yield to none in my sympathy to those prostrate beneath the Russian jackboot, but if ever a country deserved rape it's Afghanistan." 

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

An American spy in Bucharest in 1945

Veteran foreign correspondent Charles Glass in the (often annoying and silly) London Review of Books reviews this month The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson

The review begins with an idea from the Marxist Alexander Cockburn, son of Claud and brother of Patrick.
Alexander Cockburn​ blamed Ian Fleming for the creation of the CIA. Without Fleming, Cockburn wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the first James Bond novel, ‘the Cold War would have ended in the early 1960s. We would have had no Vietnam, no Nixon, no Reagan and no Star Wars.’
Ian Fleming, working for M16, wrote a 70 page report explaining to Americans how to set up a secret service. 

I suspected in the 1980s and do now that the Cold War was unnecessary.

In 1991, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduced the End of the Cold War Bill to dismantle the CIA as no longer needed as the Cold War was over, but it failed.

Bureaucracies always find reasons to continue and expand their work, however little they have to do. It's Parkinson's Fourth Law. 

Nato is another obvious example. 

Now a cold war with China will provide more work for the spies, though the history of espionage through the ages is one of almost complete ineffectiveness.