Saturday 29 January 2022

The biggest building in Europe


The House of the People constructed by Nicolai Ceausescu goes as far into the earth as it rises above it. Its construction was part of a rebuilding which demolished a huge amount of late 19th century Bucharest.

Look on my works ye mighty and despair. In fact President Iliescu the man who had Ceausescu shot was the first to address the crowd from the great balcony and Michael Jackson was the second person to do so.

Ai Weiwei: ‘It’s obvious Covid is not a natural disease, it’s something that leaked out’

The Chinese artist is interviewed in the Telegraph and says some interesting things.

'He picks out China’s zero-Covid policy as an example of an authoritarian state exerting its dominance. “It has become a kind of psychological warfare to prove what China is capable of,” he says. “They are doing it through the strongest system ever seen in history. China has 1.4 billion people, and among them are 90 million Communist Party members who have to do whatever the Party wants them to do and keep the Party’s secrets. This is how every day they silence people.” In Xi’an, the central city that has been in lockdown since December 23, “where you find maybe a few thousand cases in something like 70 million people, they make sure to control them all in isolation, in a very dramatic, ice cold, cruel way.
'He has strong views, too, on the likely origin of the virus: “I made a film in 2003 about Sars, my first documentary film, which is where my understanding of these Chinese institutions comes from, and how it works. And it’s obvious the disease is not from an animal. It’s not a natural disease, it’s something that’s leaked out, after years of research.”
'There are those who think that premier Xi Jinping is pushing China back towards the all-controlling personality cult of the Mao Zedong era. Is Ai one of them? In some ways, he says, the two leaders “are similar because they have the same kind of ideology. They strongly believe China can take over.” He pauses. “They might be right.”'

Monday 24 January 2022

Dusk in the Paris of the East


Boris the Gambler and Veronica Wadley to whom he owes everything

I would not have bought and started Tom Bower's biography of Boris Johnson 'The Gambler' had I read the bad reviews. 

It's much too long. Sometimes I noticed it was inaccurate (Viktor Orban is described as an antisemite - he should sue - Ken Livingstone too). It is not well written, it's bitchy in a boring way (bitching is an art), it's not objective but it is informative. I was forced to skim and skip. 

My feeling reading his story to 2015 was that this man was outrageously incapable of being Prime Minister. 

Then beginning with 2015 I started to like him much more. As Tom Bower intends.

Boris's decision to back Brexit is seen as a fairly principled one. 

I imagine it was, though mostly informed by his desire to win party members' support in order one day to succeed David Cameron. 

David Cameron seems to imagine only opportunism could be Boris’s reason and this is how many Remainers think. National independence is what swivel-eyed loons, nutcases and racists care about.

When Theresa May (Bower accurately calls her 'an overpromoted junior officer') makes him Foreign Secretary 'in order to destroy him' Boris becomes the hero and the villains are the appalling Mrs May, the Woke Sir Simon Macdonald the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office (interested more in gender equality than extending British influence) and the Europhiles in the Foreign Office. 

They, including Mrs May, were consciously and constantly trying to sabotage their own Secretary of State. 

So was his Minister of State, Alan Duncan, who leaked information to the Labour frontbencher to enable him to ask Boris hard questions.

On the other hand, to Boris's great discredit, he wanted to intervene in Syria. 

This is one reason why I think he is Hillary in drag.

The New Church of St George

The New Church of St George at the end of my street on a cold, bright day. We are having a very mild winter, by the way - it makes me wonder if climate change is really a thing.

Constantin Brâncoveanu, Voivode of Wallachia, was deposed by Sultan Ahmed III, brought to Constantinople where he was imprisoned and tortured by the Turks, who hoped to locate the immense fortune he had supposedly amassed. Brâncoveanu and his four sons were asked to turn Turk, i.e. become Muslim, to save their lives but refused and were beheaded on the same day in August, together with Prince Constantin's faithful friend, grand treasurer Enache Văcărescu. Brâncoveanu's body was thrown into the Bosporus but dredged up and brought to Bucharest and part is buried here. Part of it was buried in Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria on the way because it smelt. Was it just the head that is buried here? I used to know but I cannot find it on the net.

The five martyrs were canonised by the Romanian Orthodox Church in 1992.
I always wonder why a conversion under threat of beheading counts as apostacy.

Facebook keeps showing me pictures of Bucharest under snow, posted by me in previous years. Here is one taken by the great Octav Dragan:

Nations are not made of ink, to quote Joseph de Maistre, nor of values

Timothy Stanley, conservative and convert to Catholicism, talking about the Ukraine crisis in the Daily Telegraph today.

"The West believes in nation states, composed not so much of ethnicities, though these are often the genesis for those states, but citizens united by constitutions and principles. Russia is appealing to something older, cynically invoked perhaps, but spiritual and genetic - a unity that rolls over borders and crushes reason. The parallel is with Taiwan, a country that is ethnically consanguineous with China, yet which has a right to exist because it wants to exist and which defines itself by ideals that the West sees as inalienable rights: to vote, to speak your mind, to change those in power. Beijing, a Taiwanese diplomat once patiently explained to me, isn’t communist anymore. It has reverted to an earlier ethnic imperialism. This can be hard for Westerners to process because we’ve been raised to think of life as a contest of ideas, between left and right, prim socialists and cavalier conservatives, but much of the rest of the world operates according to the logic of blood."

I agree with the rest of the world. A nation is not made of values. Values have nothing to do with nations. 

The idea that they have is a hasty generalisation from the USA but the USA is not a real country in the way that European countries are and anyway it is based not on values but on seventeenth and eighteenth century British culture and maybe even Anglo-Scottish blood.

Nations are nor made of ideas or even individuals. They are made of families and bloodlines.

I can't imagine a better proof of the decline of Europe than its inability to do anything in foreign policy.

Sunday 23 January 2022

How to solve the Ukraine crisis

Paul Gottfried observed that for the neo-cons it is always 1938. The Churchillian mythology of the origins of the Second World War is a powerful as ever or more so judging by people objecting to Robert Harris, in his film screenplay about the Munich crisis trying to rehabilitate Chamberlain. 

It seems the neo-cons or people who think like them are running things again in the US and UK. I don't think they went away but under Donald Trump's administration they were suppressed. They are the foreign policy arm of the Swamp. 

The British defence secretary who regrets not taking in many more Afghan refugees has sent materiel to Ukraine. 

He thinks Russians invading Ukraine are a threat to Great Britain. Meanwhile several Afghan refugees who hope to go to the USA are held in Kosovo suspected of being terrorists. 

Pat Buchanan is right. NATO should declare that it will not admit any new members.

When Fukuyama declared the end of history I thought him absurd. I was a foreign policy realist without knowing it. 

Much later I came to understand the foreign policy liberals - why should free democratic countries make war one another?

But Austria, France and Germany had universal manhood suffrage in 1914. (England, Hungary, Turkey and Russia did not.) More recently we have seen democratic countries start a number of wars to export their democratic liberal values.

Edgar Allen Poe in Timisoara



Saturday 22 January 2022


It is the left who are full of hatred and always were. Even racists (there are lots in Romania) probably do not really hate people but anti racists really, really hate racists.

Sunset behind the Telephone Palace


Why is the right unattractive to disenchanted leftists? Because of conservative nostalgia for the 1950s?


What liberal or former liberal would want to find themselves in an ideological movement in which opposition to the right to abortion, opposition to no-fault divorce, and a nostalgia for the era before the invention of the pill are commonplace? This isn’t to say that the conservative movement in America should not make these arguments. They can make them as much as they want. But they can hardly be surprised if others outside of their flock refuse to join them as a consequence.

'At the heart of this lies a centuries-old tension in America between the worlds of politics and religion. It was always said that the genius of keeping religion in the background during the founding of America was that it allowed it to flourish in the foreground later on. By contrast, the centrality of the established church in England almost guarantees the obscurity of religion’s place in public life.

From Douglas Murray's latest article, about American politics, yesterday in Unherd

I read that with great interest. It explained why I didn't think Margaret Thatcher ever did anything conservative. I had in mind the sort of conservatism he thinks former leftists find repellant, now called social conservatism. 

In fact I was wrong - her economics were an important part of conservatism, and restricting the power of the trade unions and governing without prices and incomes policies was a huge achievement which seemed quixotic in 1979. 

Friday 21 January 2022

Criminals believe in private property

Almost all criminals are right-wing conservatives. The exception are serial killers who are quite often left of centre and take the Guardian.

The essence of Marxism and of the Woke anti-discrimination ideology is nihilism. Nihilism morphs.

Countries like people can go mad. America is having a nervous breakdown and infecting the rest of the Western world. Russia and China are immune - were they to ally they would be a formidable foe to Biden and the Swamp.

Marxism was always about destruction not economics. Marxism played a part in the American Civil Rights movement and the 1960s social revolution which continues now, but the desire for destruction which is the essence of Marx morphs into other left-wing ideologies such as Woke.

Boris told the House of Commons a whopping lie on Wednesday and nobody noticed

I watched Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday. The leader of Her Majesty's Opposition Sir Keir Starmer was no good - he told two rehearsed, unfunny jokes and landed no blows - but some backbenchers did. 

Lloyd Evans in the Spectator was absolutely right.
Sir Keir turned into a self-adoring giggle-pot and spent the entire session smirking, laughing, rolling his eyes, tossing his head, and throwing up his hands in contemptuous disbelief. All done to humour his baying supporters. He’s over-excitable. No gravitas. Today he simply needed to do his ‘disappointed waxwork’ routine and let public anger fill in the gaps. Instead, he tittered and simpered like a teenage boy who’s just been kissed.
Former Conservative cabinet minister David Davis landed what might have been a killer blow when he told the Prime Minister:
“I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take.

“Yesterday he did the opposite of that.

“So, I will remind him of a quotation which may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain.

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.”

The Prime Minister replied with a whopping lie to the House:
“I must say to him, I don’t know what he is talking about.

“What I can tell him, I don’t know what quotation he is alluding to."
Everyone in Parliament except perhaps the most uncultured and ignorant Labour MPs knows that famous quotation. Boris, who wrote a book about Churchill, certainly does.

Actually Davis mumbled the line and it seems it had no great impact - he is not popular or respected.

He was hopeless in the Brexit negotiations but his resignation from the cabinet led to Boris Johnson copying him and thus to his becoming Prime Minister.

Davis would have done better to have saved his knifing for next week.

Leo Amery was of course quoting Cromwell dismissing the Long Parliament but Cromwell did not use those words, which were put into his mouth by Thomas Carlyle.

One of the 2019 intake of Conservative members crossed the floor to join Labour just before Boris rose to speak and this paradoxically seemed to have made the Conservative rebels have second thoughts.

Boris should go this year, but not before Covid subsides and not when Russia might invade Ukraine and not over this scandal. 

Thank God the Remainer Jeremy Hunt didn't become PM. A Brexiteer was needed. But not Michael Gove, who is responsible for Theresa May being Prime Minister, went along with her awful mess of Brexit and has since argued for lockdowns incessantly. 

Fraser Nelson today:

How surprised can we really be about Boris Johnson’s No 10 shenanigans? He has always been a rule-flouting, outrage-inducing politician – that’s why he managed to deliver Brexit, save the Conservative Party and win the biggest majority they’ve seen in a generation. Covid-19 restrictions are now being dropped because his vaccine programme (again) triumphed. He has arguably achieved more in 30 months than John Major did in seven years – and he gets kicked out because his staff held a few parties?

But then again, think of all that hypocrisy. No one forced him to send the police after those who broke lockdown rules, but he did so anyway.
Lord Frost and Dominic Cummings are the most impressive men of the last few years in British politics, but Cummings is obviously flawed. Sir Keir Starmer, who forced Corbyn to go for a second referendum, is the least admirable man of the last few years. A dull, wooden man with fewer principles than Corbyn. 

Sir Anthony Blair from his point of view played a brilliant game in trying to prevent Brexit, but failed badly. He could have engineered the Norway option.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Covid mass hysteria

Deaths from all causes in England and Wales from 28 December 2019 to 7 January 2022 were below the five-year average.

(Thank goodness the British cabinet (not Boris) decided to ignore the scientists' recommendation to have another lockdown at Christmas.)

Tuesday 18 January 2022

‘China is the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine’

Damian Thompson, former editor of the Catholic Herald in London, wonders if China pays the Vatican and this is why the Pope cooperates with the Communist regime to the detriment of the previously underground Church in China. 

He also wonders if the Chinese blackmailed the Vatican using information form a homosexual dating app they own call Grindr - I do not think there is much that is shocking to come out about the Vatican, considering what we already know about corruption, egregious child abuse and cocaine fueled homosexual orgies.

Gentle Catholic reader, please do not believe the misinformation that being a good Catholic means liking lots of employment laws and regulations, an active state or left-wing politics. It does not.

Popes and bishops are not infallible, and in fact are not even authorities, on economics, politics (including immigration policy) or climatology. They are infallible when they teach what the Church taught at all times and in all places and, in the Pope's case, when he declares a new dogma, which he has promised he will not do

Because of the Pope's position his utterances are deserving of respect, if possible. Remember, before you take the Pope's teaching on social doctrine completely seriously, the words of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Argentinian chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who said, back from a visit to China in 2018, that ‘China is the best implementer of Catholic social doctrine’.

The Dâmbovița this morning


Monday 17 January 2022

Does Red China subsidise the Vatican?

Headline in the Daily Mail:

How Beijing uses its billions to buy political influence around the world

I asked myself if China gives money to the Vatican and buys favours.

The Telephone Palace at sunset today


You know where you are with Boris. He always lets you down.

More than 20 years ago, Boris Johnson was beginning to be famous. I was asked to appear in a documentary about him. He had recently been adopted for a parliamentary seat while editor of The Spectator, despite having indicated to the paper’s proprietor, Conrad Black, that he would not do this.

“How did Conrad Black feel about that?” asked the interviewer. In the funny way that sometimes happens when broadcasting, I could hear myself saying, “Well, I think he might have felt like David Niven, who said of Errol Flynn: ‘You knew where you were with Errol Flynn. He always let you down’.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I felt I had been unfair to Boris and rang him to apologise. He was, not surprisingly, annoyed with me. It is not true that Boris always lets you down: he is capable of acts of great kindness. But I was not completely wrong either. The fairer way to put it would have been to say that Boris is reliably unreliable.
Thus begins an article in the Sunday Telegraph in support of Boris, by one of my favourite living Englishmen, Charles Moore. Edward Norman and Lord Salisbury are the others.

The miracle-working icon of St Anthony in the old town in Bucharest

Today is St Anthony’s Day in the Orthodox and Catholic calendars. 

Not having eaten lunch by half past three, I stopped to drink the always excellent fish soup at Dinescu's restaurant, Lacrimi și Sfinți. 

The restaurant was hidden by a very long queue of people waiting to kiss a miracle working icon in the church of St Anthony around the corner. 

The saint is devoted to orphans, the poor and unmarried girls, who pray on this day to find a husband. Orthodox tradition says that praying nine Tuesdays in a row to the miracle-working icon should lead to prayers being answered. 

More than anything else it’s the Orthodox religiosity and mysticism of Romania which make her such a wonderful country. 

Religion here is very Byzantine, has pagan roots, is mysticalm otherworldly and, as Eugen Ionescu said, means something very different from in Catholic or Protestant countries. It certainly means something very different from the polite, understated, mildly depressing religion of the Church of England. 

Very different from other Orthodox countries in the Balkans, which are becoming godless.

I imagine Catholic England was very like Orthodox Romania before Communism. 

I suppose Protestantism and Communism hijacked the countries in which they were imposed. 

Saturday 15 January 2022

Sunny Saturday in January

Sunny morning. Statue of the martyred democratic statesman Iuliu Maniu in front of Central Committee of the Communist Party building, now the Romanian Senate. Ceaușescu spoke from the balcony and his helicopter took off from the roof. 

Iuliu Maniu began his career in the Budapest Parliament. During the Second World War he tried to persuade the dictator Antonescu to save Jewish lives and acted as a means of communication with England and America. Had the 1946 election been conducted fairly his party, the National Peasant Party, would not have won, according to Petre Țurlea, but they and the other democratic parties could have won enough votes between them to form a coalition. Instead the Communists rigged the election and the left-wing parties won. He ended his life in prison. 

This is the București cinema. I love the ancient, haunted cinemas in this odd, delightful town, but never enter them. One of them, now the (awful) Casa Doina restaurant, belonged to a firm in which James Joyce was a partner.

The 20th May 2020 Downing Street party that the Johnsons attended was not illegal. They did not attend any of the other dozen parties.

Charles Utley is the son of the great Telegraph writer T.E. Utley and a barrister and my Facebook friend. What he has to say about the 20th May 2020 party that might bring down the British government has convinced me that it did not break the law.

(By the way I thought on Thursday that this would blow over, yesterday I began to think it would bring down Boris. In many ways I hope so. He is not up to the job by normal measures, he is a liar and hopelessly inattentive to detail but much worse are his plans for Carbon Zero, to settle a million Chinese or more in England and his war his ministry wages on fur coats to keep his new wife happy. Yes he refused to lock down in December because of Omicron but only because Tory MPs and his cabinet wouldn't let him. His enemies are so awful that I don't want them to win but a swift exit would be better than a prolonged agony. But who else is there? And is this the moment for a prolonged election?)

Over to Charles.

Was the 20th May 2020 Downing Street party illegal?


The media are sure the party was criminal, but most of the journalists who have come to that opinion have not bothered to read, or understand, the regulations in force at that time. They have simply grasped that the rules allowed people to meet one person outside in a public place who was not in their household and assumed that it followed from that that being in the 10 Downing Street garden with thirty or forty other people was a crime.

Friday 14 January 2022

Droll. Acknowledgements Matt Williams

If Johnson is forced from power, it would be a political and personal failure unprecedented in modern British politics. Since ‘45, no other PM at this stage of the electoral cycle, having won such a majority, has suffered such a fall. It’s worse than Eden.

And Adam only picked a bit of fruit!

This morning


Wednesday 12 January 2022

I suspended my news embargo for Boris receiving six of the best - he probably should go but Theresa May was far, far worse, and the next PM will be awful

Johnson’s sense of entitlement may grate, but it is the sense of entitlement within the public sector — and especially the higher echelons of the civil service — which is the real problem for this country. Martin thought a garden party would be a nice idea (and so, presumably did the 40 or so colleagues who turned up) at a time when ordinary people were barred by law from visiting dying or elderly relatives. It was a perfect expression of the divide in our country, between an endlessly entitled public sector which considers itself above the fray and a beleaguered private sector which pays for its existence.

Rod Liddle today.

It may be necessary for Boris to go. If not now it will be something else, possibly leaked by Cummings. He is in many ways not up to the job but this is something I wrote in September 2019 to remind you that his predecessor was an infinitely worse Prime Minister. His successor will be appalling too.

Theresa May was never anywhere near up to the job of Prime Minister - or up to her previous job

Winston Churchill's successor as Prime Minister Clement Attlee was famously a man of few words and unemotional about firing ministers. When one minister asked him why he was being fired Attlee tersely said

"Not up to the job."
Back in the 1980s, when I disliked Margaret Thatcher very much, I remember people telling me that there was no alternative (her phrase) because Labour leader Neil Kinnock was simply not up to the job of being Prime Minister. My reply was that no Prime Minister I ever heard of was not up to the job. The grace of office (Norman St John Stevas's fey expression) descended on them.

This was true except for Sir Anthony Eden, but the grace of office did not descend on John Major who was hopeless and much too small a man to be Prime Minister. The same is true of Gordon Brown and most of all the present incumbent.

Rafael Behr in the Guardian yesterday says her fellow European leaders realised this in September:

"The point of no return was the summit in Salzburg last September. May was invited to make the case for what was left of her “Chequers plan” to European heads of government. It was late. They were tired. There were other difficult matters to attend to. And instead of speaking candidly, persuasively, passionately or even just coherently, the British prime minister read mechanically from a text that was, in substance, no different from an op-ed article already published under her name in a German newspaper that morning. It was embarrassing and insulting. Many European diplomats say that was the moment when Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and others realised they were dealing with someone out of her depth, unable to perform at the level required for the job that needed doing."
It sounds as if the European leaders find her as embarrassingly dim  as did David Cameron and George Osborne in cabinet, which is why she did not offer the latter a job. She told him to get to know the party, which is the moment when satire died.

At the Davros conference in January 2017 when influential people wanted to hear her ideas about Brexit she made a boring and authoritarian speech, urging more regulation of social media companies, that she had made before. 

Her dullness and lack of imagination are not a clever act. They are the woman.

No Prime Minister leaves No. 10 Downing Street sane, they say. I am not sure that's true, though Eden didn't nor Heath. 

Wilson may have been suffering from incipient dementia and was an alcoholic, like Macmillan, but neither of them was mad. Nor certainly was Lord Home, the best Prime Minister of the last seventy years. 

Did Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair go mad? Many would say yes. 

Gordon Brown's mental extreme strangeness, which was known to Mr Blair and others, should have made them prevent him succeeding as Prime Minister. Mrs May too was always very odd, we can see. She now seems pretty clearly to be having a profound psychological crisis. Marina Hyde's column in the Guardian today has the headline:

For Theresa May, ‘I’m a tin-eared lunatic’ seems to be the hardest word

For her sake and her country's, but mostly for the country's, let's retire her.

She was never up to the job of being Home Secretary, a job she was given by David Cameron, on George Osborne's advice, simply to have a woman in one of the great offices of state. She is one of many great examples of the dangers of promoting people for diversity reasons.

A man I know who knew her in OUCA at Oxford remembers her as sweet, sly and not very bright. These qualities have not changed except that the sweetness is nowhere to be seen, but she has not been sly enough - or bright enough.

She also shows that we needed as Prime Minister a Leaver who believed in Brexit to sell Brexit at home and abroad and to convince the EU leaders that we might well leave with no deal unless they gave us a good reason not to do so.

Here is a link to a Telegraph article by Jonathan Foreman in the 2016 Conservative leadership election campaign headlined “Theresa May is a great self-promoter, but a terrible Home Secretary”, which was pulled after pressure from her campaign. 

"In general Mrs May has avoided taking on the most serious institutional problems that afflict British policing. These include a disturbing willingness by some forces to let public relations concerns determine policing priorities, widespread overreliance on CCTV, the widespread propensity to massage crime numbers, the extreme risk aversion manifested during the London riots, and the preference for diverting police resources to patrol social media rather than the country’s streets.

"There is also little evidence that Mrs May has paid much attention to the failure of several forces to protect vulnerable girls from the ethnically-motivated sexual predation seen in Rotherham and elsewhere. Nor, despite her supposed feminism, has Mrs May’s done much to ensure that girls from certain ethnic groups are protected from forced marriage and genital mutilation. But again, Mrs May has managed to evade criticism for this.

"When considering her suitability for party leadership, it’s also worth remembering Mrs May’s notorious “lack of collegiality”.

"David Laws’ memoirs paint a vivid picture of a secretive, rigid, controlling, even vengeful minister, so unpleasant to colleagues that a dread of meetings with her was something that cabinet members from both parties could bond over.

"Unsurprisingly, Mrs May’s overwhelming concern with taking credit and deflecting blame made for a difficult working relationship with her department, just as her propensity for briefing the press against cabinet colleagues made her its most disliked member in two successive governments.
"It is possible that Mrs May’s intimidating ruthlessness could make her the right person to negotiate with EU leaders. However, there’s little in her record to suggest she possesses either strong negotiation skills or the ability to win allies among other leaders, unlike Michael Gove, of whom David Laws wrote 'it was possible to disagree with him but impossible to dislike him'."
As Home Secretary she is to be congratulated on insisting that immigration should fall to the tens of thousands for the sake of preserving social cohesion. However, she presided over annual numbers of immigrants of over 300,000, though the numbers of people permanently settling in the UK were possibly less than half of that.

She is out of her depth but she is also malign, chippy, authoritarian, mendacious, insipid, an egalitarian and a statist, a centre left social democrat with no love for British traditional life. 

Had she led her party to a big majority in 2017 things would be much worse than they are now. 

Monday 10 January 2022

Fur coats, vegans and abortion

I wonder how many people who think fur coats and hunting foxes are cruel approve of abortion. I wonder how many vegans do.

Universities should be free

Universities should not be businesses. They should be free, online (a handful of historic ones excepted) and not passports to employability. All undergraduates should be set an exam in major pre-1900 poets.

Violent immigrants in Sweden

The New York Times three days ago: 
"More associated with Abba than with sharp-edged rap, Sweden has for at least six years been struggling with a tide of gang violence that has contributed to its shift from one of the safest countries in the world to among Europe’s most violent. Last year, there were at least 342 shootings resulting in 46 deaths (up from 25 shootings in 2015), along with dozens of bombings. ....In December, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s newspaper of record, published an analysis of everyone arrested or prosecuted for gun offenses since 2017. About 85 percent were people born abroad, or had at least one parent who was."

The New York Times along with the Washington Post is the leading US paper. it was once considered impartial but for years has been left-of-centre as has New York.  It's now the US equivalent of England's The Guardian. It's been very much in favour of mass immigration and taking in asylum seekers, so this article is a significant turning point. 

It's like the moment, a while back, when the BBC started to report violence by immigrants in Sweden, instead of making programmes asking why people worried about Sweden and being unable to answer the question.


Is Romanian the only language in which a 5-word vowel-only sentence is possible? "Oaia aia e a ei" (That sheep is hers).

Dominic Cummings, blog post January 2017: "Generally the better educated are more prone to irrational political opinions and political hysteria than the worse educated far from power. Why? In the field of political opinion they are more driven by fashion, a gang mentality, and the desire to pose about moral and political questions all of which exacerbate cognitive biases, encourage groupthink, and reduce accuracy. Those on average incomes are less likely to express political views to send signals; political views are much less important for signalling to one’s immediate in-group when you are on 20k a year."

Wilfred Scawen Blunt: "I love to do as my fathers did/In the days ere I was born."

Richard Nixon: “Never forget, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it.”

Calvin Coolidge: “When people are bewildered they tend to become credulous.” This applies to Covid and to migration from the Third World. 

Mark Twain: "If you take a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. That is the principal difference between men and dogs."

Sir Patrick Vallance, the British Chief Scientific Officer, in March 2020.
"If you completely locked down absolutely everything, probably for a period of four months or more then you would suppress this virus. All of the evidence from previous epidemics suggests that when you do that and then you release it, it all comes back again. 
The other part of this is to make sure that we don’t end up with a sudden peak again in the winter which is even larger which causes even more problems. So we want to suppress it, not get rid of it completely which you can’t do anyway, not suppress it so we get the second peak, and also allow enough of us who are going to get mild illness to become immune to this to help with the whole population response which would protect everybody. "

BBC headline in 2014: 'Top EU official accuses British Government of stoking fears on immigration.' I wonder why stoking fears on immigration is a bad thing. Fearlessness about immigration has irremediable consequences, fears do not.

Neil McCartney, 1977: "I never line up with enemies of the papacy: least of all with its worst enemy, bad popes."