Sunday 31 July 2022

Belgrade has finally won my heart

My Serbian historian friend who walks around Belgrade with me tells 80% of Serbs side with Russia in the Ukrainian war, which is unsurprising considering the American bombing of Belgrade in the Kosovo war. I'd have expected a higher number. Serbia has the best of all worlds, a candidate for membership of the European Union, a lot of Chinese investment and a free trade deal with China being negotiated, friendship with Russia, a lot of investment by the Gulf states. The President appointed a homosexual Prime Minister 'even though Serbs are stricter about homosexuality than Romanians' as a cheap way to gain favour with the West. Rich Balkan crooks invest in Serbia to launder their money. 70,000 Russians settled here last year, mostly IT people, and far more this year. Many Indians in IT come too. Lots of Africans who come here to study. I suspect they also come here under the misapprehension that it will help them get to the European Union. 

On maybe my eighth visit I found that there are a lot of charming 19th century buildings and the city has real charm.  It's less depressed and gayer (in the old sense of the word) than it seemed before.


Friday 29 July 2022

Tim Stanley on 18 July in the Daily Telegraph

'Had it not been for Brexit, the Conservatives would still be Dave Cameron’s party and we’d be knee deep into Osborne’s second term (the borders totally open, the Tower of London owned by China). This generation of [Tory leadership] contenders are the product of that era.'

Three great Englishmen have died

I am so very sorry Bernard Cribbins has died. I loved him. Especially in The Railway Children and his songs Hole in the Ground (No 9 in the charts and chosen by Sir Noël Coward on Desert Island Discs) and Right Said Fred (No.10).

R.I.P. former British Ambassador to the USA Sir Christopher Meyer, who has died aged 78. He opposed Brexit but was very vocal on Twitter opposing attempts not to implement the result of the referendum. He seemed to me the wisest man who opined on Brexit.

R.I.P. James Lovelock, distinguished scientist who took a 2:2 at Manchester University and invented the Gaia hypothesis.

He sounds wonderful. Lord Ridley says today:

He never wasted a moment on conventional thinking. His secret? I suspect it was his avoidance of being an employee for almost all his life.

BBC World Service sports news

The BBC World Service News is very woke. Even the sports news includes one sportsman praising another for his climate change activism and UEFA investigating Turkish football fans chanting about Putin to hurt Ukrainian fans' feelings. Why shouldn't the Turkish fans shout what they like?

Other news is that Boris Johnson’s spendthrift government wasted £778 million to get the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham. What is the point of the Commonwealth? Answer: it has none.

As for the business news it's preoccupied by discrimination and inequality, of course. 

Thursday 28 July 2022


“Bad times, hard times — this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: such as we are, such are the times." 
St Augustine

“Intelligence is so damn rare and the people who have it often have such a bad time with it that they get bitter or propagandistic and then it's not much use.” 
Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday 26 July 2022

There is still some hope for England (plagiarised from Chris Carter)


Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad

News item. Self-declared “anarchist archaeologists” are warning archaeologists not to assume the gender or race of ancient skeletons because they see the categorization of sexes as discriminatory to the dead and as enhancing “white supremacy.”

Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. (Longfellow and plenty of others, including Enoch Powell. It's very well known.)

Dr Johnson: "Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat". Was he the first?

Sophocles' Antigone: "τὸ κακὸν δοκεῖν ποτ᾽ ἐσθλὸν τῷδ᾽ ἔμμεν' ὅτῳ φρένας θεὸς ἄγει πρὸς ἄταν" ("Evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction").


"In its pride of numbers, in its strange pretensions of sanctity, and in the secret readiness to abase itself in suffering, the spirit of Russia is the spirit of cynicism. It informs the declarations of her statesmen, the theories of her revolutionists, and the mystic vaticinations of prophets to the point of making freedom look like a form of debauch, and the Christian virtues themselves appear actually indecent…"
Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent
“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” 
'As always, Shakespeare furnishes a relevant quotation – in this case, for the Tory contest. Here, from Henry VI Part 2: “The commons, like an angry hive of bees/That want their leader, scatter up and down/And care not who they sting.” In this context, the word “want” carries its old-fashioned meaning of “lack”.'

 Charles Moore today in The Daily Telegraph

"Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people-motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people-centered."
Colin Powell
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
William Blake

Monday 25 July 2022

Seen on Facebook 9 years ago

'The Liberal Democracies of the "West" fought a 6 year war against "Fascist" Nations. It then entered into a 45 year "Cold War" against Communist Nations where the world was under near constant threat of Nuclear Destruction. 22 years ago the "Cold War" ended, and all we have heard about since is the evils of Fascism intermixed with a loving film about Che and the odd horror story about the evils of the "South" during the American Civil War (just for variety) ... what is wrong with this picture???'

The Kamloops mass grave is the reason a frail Pope arrived yesterday in Canada to apologise, but historians are sceptical

The BBC didn't mention the sceptics this morning. The story is here.

In fact there is no evidence the Kamloops mass grave exists.

The Pope, however, dislikes colonialism and North American conservativism.

3 years ago today: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


Saturday 23 July 2022

Cișmigiu this morning

Cișmigiu this morning early before it became too hot. My camera didn't capture the green colour of the blossom.

England is ruled by lunatics


Charles Moore today

'Instead of reducing our carbon emissions to global benefit, we have merely exported them to China, which therefore – unpunished for its carbon sins – out-competes us. As well as now paying the crazy prices set by Putin’s war, the ordinary energy consumer bears the heavy capital, regulatory and subsidy costs of hitting net zero’s arbitrary targets. Energy-intensive businesses suffer terribly from cheap energy options foregone. Our steel industry totters on the brink.'

Friday 22 July 2022

You'd think Germany would have a sign on the door saying 'Never again will we fight a 2 front war.' Instead, this is what the West is doing.

I don't watch or listen to things usually but you really have to listen to this astonishingly good analysis to understand the economic consequences of what the man calls ‘the war on two fronts, against Russia and climate change’. 

Not to mention China and Covid-19.

Louis Gave explains that politicians thought something needed to be done about Russia, imposing sanctions was something and therefore that was what needed to be done. 

The result: European Union countries tore up contracts to buy energy from Russia cheaply in euros and instead bought energy at a much higher spot rate set by Russia in dollars.

He sees two solutions. Start burning coal or agree a peace whereby Russia keeps eastern Ukraine.

I think both of these are very good ideas, the second for the sake not only of Europe as a whole but most of all of Ukraine, which will otherwise be destroyed.

"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind." Edward Gibbon

Thursday 21 July 2022


I miss Boris already. The only Prime Minister in our lifetimes who was fun to listen to. His monument is Brexit.

I was sorry in his last words to the House as Prime Minister, he advised his successor 'always to stick close to the Americans'. I wish we had our own foreign policy.

But Boris, as we knew really, was not up to the job and was terribly progressive left. As I said in 2016, Hillary in drag.

Thank God we have been spared Mordaunt but it will be Liz, a very strange, weird, hollow person who might well be as bad as Theresa May. She is a Remainer which is disastrous. In the referendum campaign she extolled the importance of freedom of movement.

She seems to be stupid.

Let's hope it's Richi, who has a brain, but I assume it will be Liz.

Kemi would have been keen on mass immigration too. She is wonderful but I was wrong to want her to be PM.

Suella, who wanted to leave ECHR was the only good candidate, I see now.

Free speech in Europe

Malta is the most religious country in Europe, if it is in Europe (it's an island off the coast of Africa but the inhabitants get angry if accused of being Africans). Romania might be the second most.

Until 2011 Malta was the only country in Europe, except the Vatican City, which did not permit divorce. Having changed that, the island went on in 2017 to enact single sex marriage.

This month Malta's Equality Minister Owen Bonnici and Inclusivity Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli demanded that a Catholic priest who said that being homosexual was worse than being possessed by demons be prosecuted for hate speech

(Both these high-minded ministers, by the way, were found guilty three weeks ago by the Maltese Public Standards Commissioner of misappropriating public funds.)

This is one in a long, long list of such cases in numerous European countries. In 2017, for example, a Catholic priest was unsuccessfully prosecuted in Barcelona for saying in a sermon that homosexual acts were mortal sins, which is Catholic teaching.

The important point here is not sexual morality or even religious freedom, but freedom of speech.

A liberal principle.

But religious freedom, another liberal principle, is also threatened, obviously.

There is taking place a big shift in Western culture, a shift no longer away from Christianity but against Christianity. 

The shift is from ignoring or disliking religion to considering it a danger to humanity, which has to be confronted. 

The shift comes from authority - from top down.

This should concern atheists and people who dislike religion, because religion (not economics, as Marx taught) is the basis of every culture.

This is so even if almost nobody believes in God.

Almost all Swedes are godless Lutherans. Almost all French are godless Catholics. Bulgarians are mostly godless Orthodox. 

There is a big difference between those three things. 

You see it in their politics and even more in their economics.

Islam, Judaism and Hinduism are something else again.

Freedom and democracy are rooted mostly not in pagan antiquity, with slaves and crucifixions, but in Christianity. 

Individualism is a Christian idea. 

Once faith in the transcendent goes so does everything. 

I lunched with some conservative, Catholic journalists in Rome twelve or fourteen years ago and told them that homosexuality would become the most pressing battleground from a Catholic point of view, because it was the place where Christianity, excluding liberal Protestantism, came directly into conflict with the quasi-religious ideology of human rights and anti-discrimination. 

They were sceptical, but it was obvious. 

It's a theological struggle. 

Think the wars of religions.

Rod Dreher recently recounted complaining to a young, Republican voting, church-going journalist about the media bias on the subject of single sex marriage. His response was - of course. Should the media be even-handed when discussing the Ku Klux Klan?

Personally, I think the media in its news reporting should be completely even handed and objective about everything, but I am a naïf idealist.

Wednesday 20 July 2022

We are at a turning point in history.

'Mr Putin spelled out his operating premise at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in late June, calling the EU’s sanctions policy a double-edged sword that would cause Europe to lose its footing in the global economy and lead to a “system-wide decline” for years to come. He left no doubt that generating inflation in the West is a primary goal. 
'“This will aggravate the deep-seated problems of European societies. There will be a further growth of inequality, which will split their societies still more. Such a disconnect from reality will inevitably lead to a surge in populism and extremist and radical movements,” he said.'

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in Telegraph Economic Intelligence 

Bucharest skyline (taken by Dagsic Amatat)


11th July 2016: 'How are things in Britain?' 'The middle classes are still in shock.'

Overheard in the Athénée Palace on 11th July 2016, just after the Brexit referendum

'How are things in Britain?' 

'The middle classes are still in shock.'

I wrote this back then.

'It is a pleasure to think most of the right of centre and left-wing middle classes have been defeated but in fact it is a bit illusory. 43% of graduates voted Leave. What saddens me is that the FCO will give us EU-lite, because the EU project is their life's mission. I increasingly feel that leaving the single market altogether might be best thing we could do. I also think it is increasingly obvious that leaving the EU is exactly what the British always wanted and the right thing to do. 'Let freedom ring'. And a victory for rootedness over citizens of the world. And a victory for people like Roger Scruton, Charles Moore, Douglas Murray and the people of England. We are many, they are not few but slightly fewer than us. It was a glorious victory.'

It was a glorious victory but the time since Brexit has been inglorious. I am worried that Brexit will be captured by the British Foreign Office and the deep state, instead of being an opportunity for a bonfire of regulations. 

Instead of wanting cheaper food the British papers are full of articles worrying that subsidies to farmers might be reduced. 

How deeply corrupting EEC/EC/EU membership was.

I saw Tom Tugendhat wanted the UK to belong to some sort of grouping with the Nordic countries. I want free trade with the world and as few commitments as possible. 

Instead 'the head of the Royal Navy' Vice-Admiral Sir Ben Kay is warning today that China is a bigger danger to Britain than Russia. 

Why is China a danger to an archipelago on the other side of the world? 

(What danger exactly is Russia to British interests, come to that?)

Floreat Etona 2. I've always loved these lines by Praed. I wonder if Boris Johnson and David Cameron do.


'In Parliament I fill my seat,
With many other noodles;
And lay my head in Jermyn Street,
And sip my hock at Boodles.
But often, when the cares of life
Have set my temples aching,
When visions haunt me of a wife,
When duns await my waking ...
I wish that I could run away
From House, and Court, and Levee,
Where bearded men appear today
Just Eton boys, grown heavy;
That I could bask in childhood’s sun,
And dance o’er childhood’s roses,
And find huge wealth in one pound one,
Vast wit in broken noses;
And play Sir Giles at Datchet Lane,
And call the milk-maids Houris;
That I could be a boy again,
A happy boy, at Drury’s.'

Tuesday 19 July 2022

The only explanations are that we are not the men our fathers were - or that we have an extremely bad ruling class


Farewell then Kemi. You stole our hearts but not those of the pseudo-Conservative MPs

Kemi is out, as we knew in our hearts she would be. It looks to me like Liz Truss will be Prime Minister. I can't see either of the others possibly beating her. What an awful, awful thought. But much better than Penny Mordaunt, at least. I shall miss Boris very much but Liz or Richi will be better than him. Even Penny is not more woke.

Monday 18 July 2022

The future of the right

Kemi and Governor Ron De Santis of Florida are the answer to what conservatism does next. Not going back to Reagan and Thatcher. “An historical truth is true only once” (Carl Schmidt). Use the conservatism of ethnic minorities against the liberals (in the British and American senses of the word liberal: in America it means leftist, in the UK it means Penny Mordaunt, the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc).

G.K. Chesterton — 'When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.'

Sunday 17 July 2022

Summertime and the living is not easy in England

What a silly fuss they are making back home about temperatures of up to 40˚ Celsius. The British have lost their virility.

Simon Schama asked on Twitter isn't it unconscionable that the PM is spending the weekend at a party at a time of national emergency? I replied no and was blocked. Clearly the question was rhetorical.

Everyone else mocked the national emergency. One person said, since he'd forced him to resign (was it Schama's doing?), it's understandable if Boris gives the country the finger.

By the way when did this finger invade England instead of 2 fingers? More common marketry.

Schama commented: amazing rush of bots today.

Anyone but Penny. Kemi is great, but won't win.

I am far away from England but Liz Truss looks vulgar and is stupid too. We had that with Theresa May. (Liz told Sergey Lavrov that we could not allow Russia to hold Rostov-on-Don.) Penny is a good speaker but idle, probably stupid and not a Tory. I like Kemi best but she has no chance. Rishi looks like a pound shop Blair, but intelligent and might be a Tory.

Someone said today -

If we ask the BBC nicely do you think they might let us have Boris Johnson back?

David Cameron takes pride in having transformed the ranks of male, pale, stale Tory MPs and added women and minorities in big numbers, but the quality of the MPs is lower than it was in the 1980s, even though Margaret Thatcher never found a successor whom she liked. How very much more talented were Labour in the 1970s, when they grievously misruled the country.

Penny is the worst. The Andrea Leadsom of this election. Charles, Lord Moore, who previously drew public attention to her opinion that a woman can have a penis and men can be pregnant, said yesterday in the Telegraph:

"I know several ministers who worked with Ms Mordaunt in various departments. They agree privately with what Lord Frost is saying in public – that she did not do the work or know the stuff; she was often absent from meetings. In the early, desperate days of Covid, forexample, she was the minister for civil contingencies. The most urgent anxiety was the lack of ventilators. She failed to remedy this. In the end, a minister junior to her had to step in to sort it out."

Archbishop Vigano seems to have lost it, but makes one or two interesting points

Archbishop Vigano said that he informed the pope of Cardinal Theodore 'Uncle Ted' McCarrick's "gravely immoral behaviour with seminarians and priests" but the Pope, who had taken McCarrick out of internal exile and made him an influential figure, ignored him. Unfortunately, I tend to believe the allegations, even though after a long time the Pope has said that they are not true.

Since then the Archbishop, a great enthusiast for Donald Trump, has become distinctly odd and in this interview with Steve Bannon, he seems to be a pretty deranged conspiracy theorist, poor man.

Still he has some interesting insights amongst the mad ones, especially about the Catholic Church.

He sees the war in Ukraine as one between Putin and American globalists, which is true but that does not mean that Ukraine's cause is not just. If the war is still being fought in 2024, which God forbid, he says Trump will return to the White House to seek to defeat the deep state. I hadn't thought of that but his return to bring peace sounds likely. He is the king over the water, the US equivalent of the Pretender. (By the way the Pretender, Francis, Duke of Bavaria, celebrated his 82nd birthday a couple of days ago).

Archbishop Vigano sees a deep state within the Catholic Church subverting the faith.

" is enough to see how harshly the clergy and faithful who are traditional are treated by the Vatican, and on the other hand with how much indulgence the Vatican praises notorious pro- abortion activists (I am thinking of Biden and Pelosi among the most striking cases) as well as the propagandists of LGBTQ ideology and gender theory."

 That's undeniably true.

Jordan Peterson on the flight to safety

You really should watch this interview in which Jordan Peterson explains to John Anderson, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, about how not just young people but Western society have been made cowardly. 'An epidemic of overprotective parenting' is the root cause, in societies where only children or two children families are the norm and families of three or more are rare.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Yuri Felshtinsky: Putin and the Russian secret service want to take over the world.

Russian-American historian Dr Yuri Felshtinsky wrote a book called Leaders the Mobsters, in which he described the Bolshevik party as a sort of mafia where "almost no one died by a natural cause". According to him, this included the poisoning of Vladimir Lenin, Felix Dzerzhinsky and Maksim Gorky by Genrikh Yagoda on orders from Joseph Stalin, and the poisoning of Stalin on the orders of Beria. I'd like to see the evidence for any of this.

In 1998 Felshtinsky returned to Russia, met Alexander Litvinenko, a lieutenant colonel in the FSB, and wrote with him Blowing Up Russia, a book that describes the gradual takeover of Russia by the security services and details the FSB's involvement in a series of terrorist acts. These culminated in the apartment house bombings of September 1999 in which more than 300 people died and which were blamed on Chechens. This could be true, incredible though it sounds. Intelligent, well educated people I spoke to in Moscow told me they believed it.

In November 2006, Litvinenko died in London of acute radiation syndrome and Boris Berezovsky, who sponsored the book, died mysteriously.

Dr Felshtinsky argues, in this interview, that the Cheka or NKVD or KGB or now the FSB was liberated in 1991 from the control of the Communist Party and follows its own policy. In 2000, by the election of Putin as president of Russia, it took over an entire country, the first time in history this ever happened and one with nuclear weapons.

He thinks the invasion of Ukraine is intended to secure Putin's grip over Russia and a goal of world domination. There seems to me to be no evidence to support this thesis. John Mearsheimer's ideas are at the other end of the spectrum and are much more plausible, but even if Putin's original motivation was to get his retaliation in first, before America continued to arm Ukraine for years, war aims change after wars begin.


In countless ways Romania is more civilised than England. A small example: girls wear high heeled snow boots.


'America doesn't have friends--only acquaintances.' Kissinger.

'We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.' Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, 1 March 1848. 

Countries should not have friendships but they do now - the UK thinks America is our eternal friend but the only special relationship the US has, as M.R.D. Foot the historian said, is with Israel.

Selwyn Lloyd, the future British Foreign Secretary, when offered the position of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs by Winston Churchill at first wanted to decline, because he spoke no foreign languages and had never, except for his war service, been abroad. Something not uncommon among upper middle class Englishmen in 1951. 'These are two excellent qualifications for the job,' said Churchill.

Axel Oxenstierna, Lord Chancellor of Sweden from 1612 till his death, confidant of King Gustavus Adolphus and then Queen Christina, of whom he was at first regent: 'Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?' (Letter to his son, 1648)

Talleyrand in the French Revolution of 1830. He went to the window, looked out at the street fighting and said `I see our side is winning.' Someone asked him `Which side is that?" and Talleyrand, very shocked, replied `I shall tell you tomorrow.'

Russiagate and the origins of the Ukrainian War

Mark Hemingway in Unherd on Rachel Maddow reminds us why wars break out.
'During the Trump presidency, she floated increasingly deranged Russiagate conspiracies to her credulous audience, making absurdly overconfident pronouncements such as: “Above all else, we know this about the now-famous dossier: Christopher Steele had this story before the rest of America did. And he got it from Russian sources.” (We now know it’s more accurate to say that Steele’s “primary sub-source” was Igor Danchenko, a Russian who worked at The Brookings Institution who in turn was getting his information from a Clinton campaign lawyer who was just making stuff up). 

Nobody knows what will happen in Ukraine. The future is always unknowable. Ignore people who say they know. Including me.

"From a military standpoint, the costs to Russia have been far higher than would be the case without such assistance from the West. It’s possible to speculate on what might push the war in various directions. But so far the ‘speculators’ have been generally wrong. No Russian Blitzkrieg. No Russian collapse. No striking results from unprecedented sanctions. It’s best to admit that there are a range of possibilities and try to think through how we would deal with each, as opposed to attempting to predict what happens next.” 
A former Pentagon official quoted in the Times today.

Friday 15 July 2022

Wars happen because of mistakes

By announcing in 1981 the withdrawal of HMS Endurance from the South Atlantic Mrs. Thatcher sent the wrong signal to Buenos Aires and the Falklands were invaded. I always blamed her very much for this and think it led to the war - but this does not mean the Argentinians were not completely to blame. 

I feel the same about George W. Bush declaring at the NATO conference in Bucharest in 2008 that Georgia and Ukraine would join Nato and with Donald Trump and Joe Biden pouring heavy arms into Ukraine. 

A Conservative MP, naturally. Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has written many satirical novels, told me it is impossible to write satire any more.

 An MP failed to alert police after fleeing a car crash dressed in high heels and a “black leather mini-skirt”, a court heard on Monday.

Jamie Wallis told magistrates he felt afraid of being attacked after colliding with a telegraph pole while wearing women’s clothing in November last year.

The 1960s social revolution


The bar

JM Keynes' Russian wife said 'I hate being in England in August. Ones legs get so bitten by barristers.'

Dorothy Parker said, "The last time I was in England, I spent the whole time sliding down barristers.”

On my walk to work for years. This could almost be a seventeenth century Dutch painting.



Before Napoleon, Hitler or Angela Merkel, Vespasian ruled Europe. Here he is in the Uffizi, where I saw him two years ago today. 

Handsome fellow, isn't he? 

Boris Johnson was right when he said Europe has a primordial longing to return to the Roman Empire. "It worked better than the European Union because an autocracy": discuss. Crucifixions and being flung to the lions awaited critics, which beats any penalties Ursula von der Leyden can impose.

Floreat Etona - Captain Hook's last words

The brilliant but short-lived Edwardian Tory politician George Wyndham said

The gentlemen of Europe must not abdicate.

But they have done and have been responsible for many bad things before and while doing so.

What those bad things are you can decide, gentle reader. There are lots from which to choose. But their passing in Germany and Austria Hungary led to Communism, National Socialism and the collapse of Europe altogether. Europe was divided between the Americans and Russia.

Taoist poem

"Everyone hates tourists.

They remind them of them.

I love tourists.

They remind me of me."

(Except I hate them too.)

Bucharest is SOO much more fun than the seaside


In the 'historic centre' that is. Not in the real world, outside that magic circle.

Freedom is restricted more and more, in our not so brave new world

Prying, prurient, yellow journalism is an important sign of a free society. Privacy laws are a great enemy of freedom. So are laws preventing you smoking in your car or being rude about other people's religion.

Wednesday 13 July 2022

The late and much missed classical liberal Peter Risdon, 6 years ago, on the cult of the experts


This expert cult is new, and a very bad thing. It's deeply anti-intellectual, seeking to create priesthoods who are custodians of knowledge denied to the rest. It's a shame Gove's anecdote about Einstein required the mention of Nazis because the point was Einstein's remark that if a view is right, it only needs one person to propose it.
Expertism tells people not to try to understand issues, not to look at arguments and data themselves, but rather to take the word of the clergy. It's the first resort of frauds, zealots and obsessives.
Coupled with the emphasis on 'qualitative' research, which has eliminated rigour and significance from a lot of public policy research, expertism is a very effective way of justifying the irrational and the unfounded.
It's a specialised form of the credentialism that insists firemen watch children drown in shallow water if they haven't the requisite Drowning Saving Certification.
It's a bad thing.

Kemi Badenoch


In Greater: Britain After the Storm, a book she co-authored last year with Chris Lewis, an anti-Brexit writer who is now helping her campaign, Ms Mordaunt launches into a surprisingly fierce attack on various old British films and TV series. She complains that they promote the idea that “the past was so much better”. She puts David Lean’s films Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia in this category, as well as Michael Anderson’s The Dam Busters.

"She particularly dislikes David Croft and Jimmy Perry for the “nostalgic focus” of their “churned-out” sitcoms such as Dad’s Army and Hi-de-Hi! She describes It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum – their Second World War comedy set in India and Burma – as “a full-house bingo card of… casual racism, homophobia, white privilege, colonialism, transphobia, bullying, misogyny and sexual harassment”.

Charles Moore on Penny Mordaunt, the contender for the Tory leadership whom I most hope loses.

Rushi is clever and went to Winchester and Oxford and made a lot of money but slippery and somehow recently and secretly acquired US residency status, the step before citizenship, which makes one wonder about his patriotism.

Tom Tugendhat absolutely not - an unrepentant Remainer who wants us to link up with Scandinavian states in some way. A globalist to his fingertips, he wants to raise defence spending and sees Russia as a threat to Great Britain.

Liz Truss another Remainer and a silly woman.

The only candidates I respect are the other two women, especially Kemi Badenoch, who is actually a Tory.

She has been described as a Catholic, but describes herself as an 'honorary Catholic' who just goes to Mass with her husband). Mr. Tugendhat is a practicing Catholic and Hunt a church-going Anglican. 

Miss Mordaunt went to a Catholic school and in 2018, while a government minister, asked the Catholic Church to change her teaching on contraception.

‘Ladies’ and ‘men’ signs added to gender-neutral toilets at Kemi Badenoch leadership launch

Headline in Pink News


Boris Johnson is an unpopular man right now, but I retain a tribal loyalty to a fellow scribe. He’s a gifted rogue from old Fleet St, and a Regency rake who has lived into a more earnest Victorian.
Mary Kenny

And since that which is in accordance with nature is pleasant, and things which are akin are akin in accordance with nature, all things akin and like are for the most part pleasant to each other, as man to man, horse to horse, youth to youth. This is the origin of the proverbs:
The old have charms for the old, the young for the young,
Like to like,
Beast knows beast,
Birds of a feather flock together,
and all similar sayings.
Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.11.25

"A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman and it is confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all." Camille Paglia

Peter Oborne here on Boris Johnson and how the billionaires chose him. Peter used to be a Brexiteer - he sounds less and less like a Tory.

Tuesday 12 July 2022

Russian blogger: 'What do the first weeks of HIMARS use in Ukraine tell us? That it will not be possible to get out of the war while saving face.'

A Russian blogger Dmitryev, who has around 100,000 followers, is very despondent about Russia's chances in the war. 

'In Donbass, the Russian Armed Forces managed to create a local offensive advantage and the Russian command assumed that it would now be possible to slowly push the border westwards from city to city, but now the AFU [Armed forces of Ukraine] has an antidote - they are smashing ammunition depots.

'I am trying to understand what can stop this negative scenario developing - when Ukraine becomes a field of missile war and Russia gets bogged down in losses and subsequent socio-economic problems - and I can't think of anything.

'To be honest, I don't see a military solution. The only thing that can reduce its intensity is some kind of global crisis, with crises in each specific country, which will push the causes of the war, very abstract, into the background.'

He also thinks Ukraine will be destroyed, which is what I fear and why why I want a peace settlement quickly. Boris Johnson didn’t, which is one of his worst mistakes.

But one is impossible if either side hopes to win.

Unintended consequences

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson announced that the EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova will focus on preventing weapons supplied by Nato from being smuggled out of Ukraine by organised criminal gangs.

I wonder how much European Union and American money is stolen by politicians and criminals in Ukraine.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, India’s imports of Russian oil were negligible due to high freight costs. But recently, imports of Russian oil, on which India receives a 30% discount, have become sizeable and make the EU concerned lest some of the refined Russian crude may end up sold on to Europe.

The question is not whether the Indians are exporting Russian oil. The question is how to stop them or other countries doing so. 

The next question is are sanctions going to hurt European Union worse than Russia? The answer to that is obviously yes.

Does that matter? That's a question for you, gentle reader. I don't know the answer.



Accept yourself

C S Lewis: "You will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making."

Frederic Harrison: "No man can please others who does not please himself."

Alexander Fuhrmann: "Don't try to love yourself but instead accept yourself."

Monday 11 July 2022

Dâmbovița this morning


Conspiracy theories

The American media/ Wall St/ academia/civil service nexus of power - what President Trump called the swamp - has decided that conspiracy theories are thought crimes, except for their conspiracy theories. 

Have they forgotten the conspiracy theory about Trump being a Russian asset, elected because of a KGB operation? Or the conspiracy theory that Trump intended to become a dictator? Historian Timothy Snyder wrote a book arguing that. Or the conspiracy theory that white supremacists are the main terrorist threat to America? Or, most risible of all, the conspiracy theory that an attempted insurrection took place in Washington DC in January 2020.

The establishment media think QAnon is a worrying conspiracy theory for which social media is to blame while BLM, which came into existence on and because of Facebook, is an admirable protest by the marginalised.

The really marginalised are the people who believe in QAnon.

Theresa May was ridiculed for her answer, that she ran through a field of wheat

'What's the naughtiest thing you've ever done?'

Tom Tugendhat: 'Well I invaded a country once.'

Funny but he must not become Prime Minister because he is an unrepentant Remainer and because of this.

Sic transit Boris, who is still British PM but no longer newsworthy

De Gaulle,  Adenauer and Mrs Thatcher were great leaders, as Dr Kissinger has pointed out in his new book. Boris is certainly neither a hero nor a giant but in the words of Sellars & Yeatman Very Memorable.

Journalists tend to dislike him, partly from jealousy as he is one of them, partly because they know a lot about him for the same reason.

Simon Heffer loathed John Major and David Cameron and really loathed Boris Johnson.

Peter Oborne, who is moving leftwards, was once his friend but does too.

So does Peter Hitchens, who thinks Boris uninteresting. Yes and no.
'The astonishing thing about our departing Prime Minister is that he is so ordinary. See past the fake Edwardian growl, the artfully rumpled appearance and the little jokes and you find a rather dull person with no actual ideas or aims.

'He is a Bertie Wooster without a Jeeves, amusing at first but not so funny later, bound to get himself and you into impossible trouble.'
Roger Kimbell was certainly right when he said,

"In the sea of squishy gray on gray that is the political establishment, Boris stood out as a vibrant, technicolor force of nature."
He rescued Brexit from the horrible mess Mrs May made of it and won a landslide victory for his party and Brexit and for this reason I am delighted he became Prime Minister. Had he refused the demands for lockdown he would have been a hero indeed but he was not one and nor was he, as became evident, a Conservative or a Tory.

Edward Norman said many years ago that the Church of England is falling into the sea


Evelyn Waugh concluded his life of St Edmund Campion with an account of the saint being hanged, drawn and quartered and the observation that the Church of England had some way to go before it became the institution portrayed in Anthony Trollope's novels. 

Neither its 16th century bloody origins nor the hierarchical world of Trollope's Dr Grantley are visible now.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Green Hours on the day of the pride march


Interesting from sociological point of view

Now that Baker and Wallace have withdrawn, all the contenders for the British Conservative Party leadership are women or from ethnic minorities or both (Tom Tugenhadt is of Jewish ancestry but a Catholic), except Jeremy Hunt, who as a former Remainer is ruled out.

Tom Tugenhadt is ruled out for the same reason. A better reason is that he called for the sainted Tory philosopher Sir Roger Scruton to be dismissed from his unpaid job because of an allegation of antisemitism that was swiftly shown to be completely false. 

Boris's father's father was a Turk, Osman Kemal, who changed his name to Wilfred Johnson.


Someone writing in the papers said Harold Wilson was the last louche Prime Minister before Boris Johnson. Was he? He drank a bottle of whisky a night but so did Harold Macmillan who wasn't remotely louche (as was evident during the Profumo scandal).

Tim Shipman in the Sunday Times

"Boris Johnson is the third prime minister to be brought down by Boris Johnson.”' Former No 10 official.

'Johnson was the most compelling political figure I have ever encountered. He was not as good a speaker as David Cameron, let alone Tony Blair or Barack Obama. And as a manager he was borderline hopeless. Yet he was matched only by Bill Clinton in his ability to connect with ordinary voters.

'However, even he could not defy the consequences of his own personality. To one of the PM’s aides, the last burst of Johnsonian bravado on Wednesday night put him in mind of the opera La bohème, in which the heroine, dying of TB, rouses herself to sing one of the greatest arias before expiring. “You think, ‘If she can sing like that, she can’t possibly die’ — and then she keels over and dies. The end.”

'Even in political death, though, the legacy Johnson sat contemplating that night, will endure. He is the most consequential prime minister of my adult lifetime. Since 2016 we have been living in a world shaped more by his actions and urges than anything else. This was the Age of Boris and it still will be when he is gone. That isn’t the legacy he wanted. But it will have to do.'


Friday 8 July 2022

I was close to the Village Museum yesterday and went in for ten minutes, as the rain stopped.


More British news

Michelle Donelan was made Education Secretary late on Tuesday evening after the resignation of Sajid Javid, which began the revolt against the Prime Minister. 35 hours later, having failed to persuade Mr Johnson he should step aside, she quit herself. She was the shortest-serving Cabinet minister in British history, breaking a 239-year-old record of four days set during the government of Pitt the Younger. The clever thing for her to have done was publicly to have called for his resignation without resigning herself as "Suella" Braverman etc did.

Lord Salisbury, the Conservative Prime Minister, said this

"Whatever happens will be for the worse, and therefore it is in our interest that as little should happen as possible."

C.S. Lewis, letter to Arthur Greeves (June 22, 1930)

'Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the wood—they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread, really was in them. We of course who live on a standardised international diet (you may have had Canadian flour, English meat, Scotch oatmeal, African oranges, & Australian wine to day) are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth. We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours.'

History doesn't repeat itself, historians repeat one another


Thursday 7 July 2022

Boris's tragic flaw

The Greek tragedy of Boris Johnson's premiership starts with the decision of his second wife Marina Wheeler to leave him to the present Mrs J. From that flowed the departure of Cummings and all the rest. But it is more a Feydeau farce than Oedipus Rex.

Rosy fingered Aurora

When I was 8 I wrote poems about the morning but preferred lying in bed to experiencing it.

Poets are hypocrites.

I apologise for the vulgar word, but this seems to sum things up in the UK at the moment


Picture taken at Fairfax House, a museum in York, by Michael Noonan


Boris surrendered

"It is a damned fine thing to have been, even if it only lasts for two months, a thing no Greek or Roman ever was." The argument that persuaded Lord Melbourne to become Prime Minister in 1834.

I like Boris but he's obviously not up to the job. If anything, he's crawling on the floor beneath the job. But he is one of the most consequential Prime Ministers in history and his achievement is very great. Brexit. He shares the credit or discredit with Nigel Farage and Michael Gove, though most goes to Nigel Farage. 

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Man and Superman

“There was a great difference between him (Nietzsche) and Dostoevsky, who, before him, had shown that the loss of man by the way of self-deification was the inevitable goal of Humanism. Dostoevsky recognized that this deification is illusory, he explored the vagaries of self-will in every direction, and he had another source of knowledge - he saw the light of Christ: he was a prophet of the Spirit. Nietzsche, on the contrary, was dominated by his idea of superman and it killed the idea of real man in him. Only Christianity has cherished and protected the idea of mankind and fixed the human image for ever and ever. The human essence presupposes the divine essence; kill God, and at the same time you kill man, an on the grave of these two supreme ideas of God and man there is set up a monstrous image - the image of the man who wants to be God, of the superman in action, of Antichrist. For Nietzsche there was neither God nor man but only this unknown man-god. For Dostoevsky there was both God and man: the God who does not devour man and the man who is not dissolved in God... It is there that Dostoevsky shows himself to be a Christian in the deepest sense of the word.”
- Nikolay Berdyaev: The worldview of Dostoevsky, 1923


Richard Tombs notes that not until the later 20th century would English people take as much leisure time as they had before 1600.

Smoking prohibited

In parts of Germany until 1691 smoking carried the death penalty. Sultan Murad IV of Turkey (1623-40) used personally to behead smokers in the streets of Constantinople.

(I learnt this from an essay by the libertarian Dr. Sean Gabb.)

Resist modernity

Remember, the zeitgeist is always dangerously wrong.

Decline of free speech

"Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom." Oswald Spengler

Oswald Spengler wrote The Decline of the West more than a century ago and it has declined much more since then. We are now back to not being allowed to think freely.

1776 was the first mass shooting incident in America

The American revolution was the first mass shooting incident in America, if you think about it, and the worst until the unnecessary and illegal civil war against the Southern states.  The men of 1776 are better described as murderers.  

When you think about it, why do people think George Washington any better than Putin? 

Tuesday 5 July 2022

Warts and all

Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the British Labour Party has instructed Hansard to stop correcting her "working class" grammar.

Hansard is in the habit of correcting reports of speeches in the House of Commons. Miss Rayner gives us an example. She said "less" when she should have said "fewer". Quite rightly, she told Hansard it must not, in effect, re-write history by correcting her mistake.

But bad grammar is not necessarily working class and hereditary peers also get corrected by Hansard.

One Edwardian Liberal peer - I used to remember who - praised another politician on his death for being faithful to his wife 'despite her being a woman of no great physical attractions'. The words he used were, in fact, 'a damned ugly old b-tch'. 

I redacted it not because I think the word is a bad one but because of the evil censors.


"Though they like to fancy themselves independent thinkers, the intellectuals are (allowing for individual exceptions) the most oversocialized, the most conformist, the tamest and most domesticated, the most pampered, dependent, and spineless group in America today. As a result, their impulse to rebel is particularly strong. But, because they are incapable of independent thought, real rebellion is impossible for them. Consequently they are suckers for the System's trick, which allows them to irritate people and enjoy the illusion of rebelling without ever having to challenge the System's basic values.

"Because they are the teachers of young people, the university intellectuals are in a position to help the System play its trick on the young, which they do by steering young people's rebellious impulses toward the standard, stereotyped targets: racism, colonialism, women's issues, etc. Young people who are not college students learn through the media, or through personal contact, of the "social justice" issues for which students rebel, and they imitate the students. Thus a youth culture develops in which there is a stereotyped mode of rebellion that spreads through imitation of peers—just as hairstyles, clothing styles, and other fads spread through imitation."
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, the American anarchist who killed three people and injured 23 others in a bombing campaign between 1978 and 1995.

"It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
Sir Noel Coward

"What to expect in Ukraine now that Russia has all but secured the Donbas? A bloodbath. Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. There are lessons to be drawn from it. More remarkable than the battle itself is its aftermath.

Sunday 3 July 2022

I follow this rule

The only rule is don't be boring and dress cute where ever you go. Life is too short to blend in.
Paris Hilton

Saturday 2 July 2022

Seen on Twitter

CNN: "What do you say to those families that say, 'listen, we can't afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years?’" 

BIDEN ADVISOR BRIAN DEESE: "This is about the future of the Liberal World Order and we have to stand firm."

Elsewhere on Twitter:

Fun fact: The "Liberal World Order" is a euphemism elites use to describe a world where they technocratically enslave the masses and force them to eat bugs.