Friday 31 May 2019

The Hammond Wakes

Way back in November we commented it was odd that none of the pundits' lists of Tory leadership hopefuls included Hammond.  He seemed (to us) to be on manoeuvres even then.

Well: here we go. "As long as I feel the views I hold are properly represented, I won't feel the need to take part"  (yesterday)

We've all watched Yes Minister; and I think we know what that statement means.  You read it here first.


Thursday 30 May 2019

Competing Minority Rights: And The Loser Is ...

Freedom is great, we're all in favour of freedom.  Trouble is, one person's freedom to do what they want is, errr ...  Then, we're reaching for the *language of priorities*.  And "the language of priorities is the religion of Socialism" (A.Bevan, 1949) - so the lefties have a particular interest in all this, and a particular responsibility to get their ducks in a row.

Of course they routinely duck the issue with an airy all have won, and all must have [taxpayer-funded] prizes.  Not infrequently, unlimited funds would indeed lubricate some instances of friction.  So we just have to scrap Trident (again).  But sometimes it's not a matter of moolah, is it?  Sometimes it's binary and non-financial: which transcendental claim takes precedence over which other?

There are a couple of flashpoints right now where it would be interesting to press these priority-theorists for their answer.

The first is Trans vs Feminists, which has a particularly acute, and utterly bizarre, subset - Trans vs Lesbians, the very essence of reductio ad absurdum.  You can easily find loads of vitriolic reading material on this (though a degree of care is required with your search engine deployment...).

The second is Moslem Activists vs Gays, focussing currently on a school in the Midlands.  Plenty of vitriol in that one, too.  There's a bit of a pattern here, and it's interesting to see who's coming off worse.  (Note: it's not the side dominated by men that are all too ready to offer violence.  Funny that.)

I look forward to a serious leftist adjudication on all this: it will be entertaining to see them confront their illogicalities.  Simply mouthing "more money for everyone" doesn't really cut it this time: these are not materialistic issues, and the left always flounders when attempting to swim away from materialist dry land.  Incidentally, in case anyone thinks I'm being facetious (which I'm sure you don't ...), I genuinely recommend this piece from the Graun, which bravely tackles yet another flashpoint.  It's not wholly satisfactory, but it is at least a leftie trying honourably to square a knotty intellectual circle.  (He doesn't resort to the phrase Christian charity, but that's where he's essentially headed back to, as so many secular moralists have done since the 18th/19th century *Death Of God*.)

For anyone warming to this theme with a mind to pursue some academic treatments, there are some good contributions on Trans vs Feminists from a couple of brave ladies, most notably Kathleen Stock.  The best work I know of on the left comes from two US heavyweights, professors Brian Leiter and Adolph Reed.  They have no truck with lame thinking and are fabulously scathing on the identitarians and their self-appointed, fame-and-fortune-seeking *voices*.  Their solutions are socialist, but their argumentation is lucid and their reasoning is tight.


Monday 27 May 2019

How Does Farage Parlay This?

Fair play to the lad - it's a remarkable achievement, right enough.  But Farage, newly-tinted hair and all, has long protested his only interest** is Brexit, an end in itself.  So what does he do next - even if only to secure that end?
  • Stand back and let a chastened new Tory leader finish the job?
  • Stand back and watch another year of Parliamentary paralysis and general can-kicking?
  • Sit back and mint some more euro-dosh? 
  • Make a serious effort to build a viable grass-roots party, fit to contest a GE?
  • Actively attempt to suborn the Tories via a reverse takeover?
  • Engineer R2, on the grounds Cummings can win it again?
  • Engineer a Corbyn government, as a prelude to a poujadist uprising?   
  • Resign himself to (and actually rather enjoy) being in a perpetual state of *disgust*?     
  • [ your suggestions below ... ]
I'm just interested, really.


** apart from going large in the USA, that is

Friday 24 May 2019

May's Legacy is Worse Than Brexit Failure

There is a great deal of ruin in a nation"   (Adam Smith)

We are not yet holed below the water line; but a lot of the rigging has been shot away, and ammunition expended.  Captain May had no idea how to fight the ship (who does?) but lost important early actions, and has steered us incompetently into dangerous waters.  Mutiny threatens.  The sharks are circling; and the depths below us are unplumbed.  Brexit?  That's just for starters.

How much of our present plight can fairly be laid at May's door?  It is not clear to me which plausible alternative Tory PM would for certain have commenced a purposeful Brexit camapign in 2016, knowing (as we now do) that the Civil Service is not up to, nor up for, the tasks that necessarily come their way in this regard.  Which of Gove, Johnson, or Leadsom (I discard Crabb, Davis and Fox) would have taken the necessary steps in the necessary timeframe - setting proper expectations; immediately hiring the best negotiators and lawyers the City has to offer; making Civil Service obstruction a pension-forfeiting offence; moving onto a 'war' footing on every front - to give the enterprise its best chance of success?

But there are two monstrous mis-steps that are May's and May's alone.  The first is symbolic, the second diabolic.

One of her first acts as PM was to call in the Hinkley Point C decision.  As was right and proper: this was always an Osborne project and the panicky French realised it was at risk.  After years of prevaricating (and still to this day with no final design for the business end of the reactors!) they rushed to sign the draft agreements at a speed which betrayed their utter desperation.  Ho ho.

So what happened next?  Did May parlay this into Brexit-enabling commitments by the Frog?  Did she hold Hinkley hostage against a successful Brexit outcome?  Nope: Hollande told her sternly to sign without further ado and, meekly, she did.  A clear omen of the awful things to come, as we confidently predicted at the time.  This was a May classic, signalling to the whole of the 27 that she was there for the taking.  And I really don't imagine any other PM would have enacted this craven calamity.

The second, though, could have much longer-lasting consequences.  This was the 2017 GE - not the calling of it per se (for which there was a fair rationale), but her disastrous, hubristic personal conduct of it**.

Because Corbyn was there for the slaughter.  Had the campaign been just one week shorter she would have returned with a majority.  Had it not included several wholly avoidable faux pas, that majority could have been pretty decent.   This might have been helpful in the Brexit context, or not (given that Dominic Grieve would still have been one of those MPs) - but that's not the point.

The point is that Corbyn would have been defenestrated.

At Labour HQ, the coup was ready, the locks had been changed, and the marxists would have been sent back to their rightful obscurity to rant at each other in dingy halls.  By giving Corbyn a new lease of life, May has given every 'woke' bedsit dweller of whatever age to understand that there is an alternative to rolling back under their sordid duvets in apathetic political lassitude.   We weren't crushed at the election.  Hell, if we all glue ourselves to a bridge, we can change the world!   And so every idiot malcontent is now crawling out of bed, possessed of the idea they can realise their fondest fantasies.

For ordinary folk wishing simply for the world to be competently run, it is really quite important that fantasists with too much time on their hands confine their crapulous activities to passing motions in the students union.  As will always be the case in a benign democracy, if they all turn up at once there are too may of them to be restrained by reasonably peaceful means.  For many a long decade, they haven't chosen to force the point (at least, not in this country), thus enabling honest people to get on with their lives.

I greatly fear that their tails are well and truly up now, and that they will be increasingly strident - and gratified - in their demands.  Not, of course, that most of what they want can actually be delivered (although some of the nastiest gesture-politics can be), but that craven politicians pander to them as though it can (witness "legally binding" targets for CO2 emissions, which is only the start).  Such nonsense and waste of resources can go on for years before the gig's up, as it always will be eventually.

And of course in the ranks of the politicos are not only the craven, but the unscrupulous: slavering at the prospects of enlisting these idiots as a battering-ram for their *Revolution*.  If Tusk is right about there being a special place in Hell for those who pretended Brexit would be easy, there's an even hotter spot for those who would direct a Children's Crusade.

A better result in GE 2017 could have sent the innocents home sadder and wiser.  By screwing up, May has put wind in their sails.  Will habitual idleness, short attention-span or frustration with Corbyn's fence-sitting be enough to send them back to their games consoles?  Perhaps.  But maybe not.

"The impatience, bordering into contempt, for the political class and the amount of hostility and borderline violence is something we have not known for a very very long time."  (Damian Green, this morning)


** and we never wish to hear again from Nick Timothy, either

Thursday 23 May 2019

Thought for the Day

"The loyalties which centre upon number one are enormous.  If he trips, he must be sustained.  If he make mistakes, they must be covered.  If he sleeps, he must not be wantonly disturbed. If he is no good, he must be pole-axed." 

Works with women, too.  Gallantry notwithstanding.


Wednesday 22 May 2019

How is May still there?

Gosh has the political discourse of this Country changed in this decade. It must be considered amongst the most radical with the 1970's, 1940's and 1920's in the last century.

Firstly, our latest example is today, where Prime Minister May has managed to make her unpalatable Withdrawal Agreement more unpalatable. She has the chance to offer Labour the Brexit they wanted in return for getting it through - but in reality they would not trust each other even with this offer.

So now her new deal has goodies for both sides - a possible referendum, possibly reneging on the Irish backstop. This was never going to work, you can't offer more to the two extremes at the same time without annoying both of them.

Her deal, which I will remind everyone who wants to listen was the best compromise ever likely to be available, is now going to garner even fewer votes than before. In fact, I am going to bet on it getting less than 200 in Parliament.

Yet, she has not yet resigned. her key platform and policy is in ruins and the Country's reputation and standing lies with it. Thatcher, Blair and Cameron all went for lesser reasons. People are admiring her tenacity but at this point it is just Brown like brutishness, hanging on for no good reason.

It is a truly through-the-looking-glass world that she does not see the light and go to the Palace. It is obvious to everyone that this method of Withdrawal will not work. The choice, unfortunately, is going to come down to WTO leave or Remain and we will get there by Referendum or General Election.

Secondly, the more crazy thing is the Brexit Party is going to win an election tomorrow with a single policy which is a stupid WTO based Brexit. I won't be voting for such a silly position when the Country needs unity at this time and not further, partisan, division. I can agree with some of the anti-politics rhetoric given the truly terrible performance of the Government and Parliament these past to two years. But it is not enough - the Brexit Party needs some positive policies as well as he anti-politics drive.

Finally, and most comically, is the rise and fall of Change UK. Celebrated by the FT and elites as the anti-dote to the anti-politics, they have simply flopped - Anzio style. No good has come of it and it shows again that the current set of Wesminster politicians are just not up to it - they are not even good at political campaigning which is their job.

In truth, though a general election might lead to place as hard as now, it is really needed. Then we can vote out every member of the current Parliament and start afresh.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Can Cressida Dick Get This One Right?

Counting Votes:  Soft Target
Cressida Dick has already admitted the Met screwed up the soi disant Extinction Rebellion demos a few weeks ago.  It will be interesting, then, to see how she handles the next one, which (I can reveal) is set for next Sunday - vote-counting day.

A BTL commenter on Raedwald's post of last week spotted what's going on: most of the otherwise inexplicable 'inde' names on the exceptionally long London list of Euro candidates are linked in some way to the Rebellion.  It's seven, in fact - and it's not a secret.

Every candidate is entitled to attend the counting sessions (of which there will be several dotted around London in large buildings, e.g. sports halls, with news cameras likely to be present) - together with their 'agent' and people they nominate to scrutinise the actual counting procedures.  This, then, is a body of twenty or more Rebellion-wallahs: and if they all choose to turn up at one of the counting centres at the same time, and throw open the fire exits ...

So, Cressida: let's see how you deal with this one.  I'd suggest your track record isn't such as to inspire enough confidence for you to be given the benefit of the doubt.  Double overtime (again) for PC Plod, methinks.


Monday 20 May 2019

Is This The Week?

As we can all see, something fairly whacky is going to happen in British politics this week. 

Up until now, Corbyn has been fairly disciplined in the marxist tendency's determination to avoid R2, and I'd formed the view it was likely to stay that way.  But I'm beginning to wonder.  Is this the week he flips, in an attempt to avoid humiliation at the hands of the Lib/Greens?  There will be no end of Starmers and Watsons pushing that line, even while his marxist-brexiteer handlers continue trying to stiffen his resolve.

And anyhow, is it too late?  The Graun is full of BTL threads giving the impression that's the case.  And quite a few postal votes will have been cast already.


Thursday 16 May 2019

Political Suicide: Jeremy Korb Show to be Banned?

Calls are being made for Jeremy Korb to be permanently taken off the air, following shocking revelations about how his political programme exploits vulnerable people, and the alleged political suicide of one of its participants.

It has been revealed that producers of the Jeremy Korb Show seek out vulnerable individuals, mostly young and working class with personal difficulties, poor educational attainment and existing gullibility problems. They are lured into the programme with outlandish promises – one student was told their tuition fees would be abolished - and told to say they believe these promises in front of the camera. The show sets up rivalries between the varies parties involved and encourages them to argue violently. 

The spectacle of participants airing their gullibility in public is regularly watched by millions of viewers, who are then invited to vote on which party gets to win. 

Chuka U, a recent participant, stormed out of the show in disgust after having his intelligence insulted repeatedly. It is believed he subsequently committed political suicide. 

Another, Tom W said: “I was put under enormous pressure to say things I didn’t think were right, and pick fights with people who were once my friends. I am now trying to rebuild my life and stay honest, but it’s very difficult: Jeremy Korb makes people say crazy things and they become impossible to reason with.” 

Tuesday 14 May 2019

EU Election; Game of Thrones edition

So with only a week to go in the EU elections, the leaders fight over who will win control of not much at all and hold no sway over Westeros or even Europe, it si worth a quick review of the character development in this season:

Image result for theresa may sad

First off, current evil Queen Cersei May has long-ago locked herself in the Palace of Westminster declaring that Winter has arrived. Fearful of an army of undead socialists who have come back from the 1970's, she has instead seen her own army desert and sits lonely, waiting for the inevitable last stand.

Image result for farage

To challenge, May comes the pretender Farage-Stark. Farage has mustered the Men of the North to fight both Queen Cersei, The Undead Socalists and the EU Emperor Junker. Whilst Farage has painted himself as loyal only to Westeros, he is in fact not even Northern, but a treacherous court minister, now turned rabble rouser. With a strong army, he advances towards the EU city of Brussels (Stasbourg on Tuesdays & Wednesdays) and then has set his sights on May's Palace at Westminster. With a touch but small army, he is likely to over-reach.

Image result for corbyn undead

Next in line and keen on the Westeros throne, is Socialist Prophet and King of the Undead , Jezziah. Turfed out of his stately mansion in Islington and brought back to life from the pre-millennium period, Jezziah leads an army of Momentum Zombies who wish to make Westeros fair for all by levelling the whole place to the ground. With little strategy but enormous forces, Jezziah plunges on, heading for Westminster and trying to ignore Farage-Stark and refusing to entreat with the EU who he later plans also to destroy.

Image result for game of thrones religious leader

Returning in a frankly bizarre plot-twist is the High Cable, preaching peace to everyone as the expense of all Liberty and Democracy, he has gained an unexpected following as urban people revolt in protest against the Pretender, Queen May and the army of the Undead. Can't see it lasting and I bet the Urban types all get killed in the end. It would be better if he joined with some of the smaller characters but he is too old to do much.

Image result for verhofstadt

The real winner of the series so far seems to be the made Lord of Dragons, Guy 'Daenyrs' Verhofstadt. He has long held that Westeros must be destroyed and won't even participate in the elections. Along with Lord Junker and Ser Michael Barnier, they seek to burn Westeros and claim it in the name of the EU. Never nice when the baddies win a season, but it is hard to see currently how the divided leaders of Westeros could unite to face the EU Dragons?

This covers the main characters but there are a few minor ones too that have developed:

Image result for reek

A new group lead by Chuka Reek, seeks to betray all around and seize power for the old Lord of Blair religion. However, he has become quite a comedy character as everything goes wrong and the small rebellion he leads seems destined to be crushed and forgotten by one or all of the main leaders.

Image result for reek

Also now departed by interesting was Tommy 'Bolton' Robinson, a nasty piece of work who thought he could win around a decent following by threating and scaring all he came across. Not really enough support for this approach and his character has long since departed the stage.

Friday 10 May 2019

Weekend: The Things You Can Find in the Guardian

Quite genuinely, there is often some great stuff amongst the dross.  This week, for example:

1.  A really neat summing-up by Rafael Behr on Corbyn -
... impatient and frustrated with Brexit, but not in a way that speaks to the hearts of remainers or leavers. It is not an itch to complete the job or to abort it. Instead, the Labour leader sits tutting and drumming his fingers like a man who feels the wrong revolution has barged into history’s queue when it was meant to be his turn.
2.  Polly Toynbee

Unless you are a Liverpool or Tottenham supporter, you probably need cheering up and Polly Toynbee is a reliable source of a wry smile.  She has latterly taken to contorting almost every one of her thrice-weekly articles into concluding that only R2 can solve the nation's woes.  Her desperation is palpable, and this week it has reached new depths: an appeal to the PM, on the grounds that a second referendum is May's only hope!
As the knock on her door tells Theresa May her time is up, let her look to her legacy. With her unsurpassed reputation as the most pitiful failure of a prime minister, she has less than nothing to lose. A public vote is her last chance.
Ah well.  Nobody on Team Corbyn is listening to the R2 pleading of the Wise Woman of Clapham Common, so perhaps Mrs May's desire for posterity is indeed Polly's best bet.   Anyhow, since the local elections, she's been out & about in the North to recharge her batteries at the front line.  What does she find? 
...I was in Middlesbrough, surveying Labour’s local election wreckage. The party now controls not one Tees Valley council, losing Middlesbrough, Redcar, Stockton, Hartlepool and Darlington. “We all got beaten,” said one of the surviving Labour councillors, grimacing at the pain of it. The regional mayor is Tory, and in Middlesbrough the new mayor is a multimillionaire hedge-funding property developer, standing as an independent.
And she thinks R2 will bring her joy?  As Behr says in the Corbyn article: "the current appetite for upending the British status quo has little to do with socialism". 


When hard work is just not good enough

My fellow blogger Nick Drew made an interesting comment on the last post:

"Corbyn is workshy Bastard"

This is self-evidently true unless you count going on marches, making jam and winging-it making conspiracy theory demagoguery as work.

However, I have reflected on to consider where this is in fact a good trait? Because it's Friday so not entirely seriously, I thought about the records of some of the recent leaders in the UK and US, so as to compare what a lazy Corbyn PM may become:

May/Brown - by common acclaim these are the worst Prime Ministers of recent times. Both very hard working, both serious and somewhat pious in nature, both well-meaning but also, delusional. No good has come of their hard work, the more they did the more of a mess they made and boy, was it a mess. May at least inherited a very tricky situation whereas Brown hubristically was the author of his own from the time of his Chancellorship. The country has had a hard time under such leadership and growth has been weak.

Blair/Cameron - Both men easy in front of the cameras, happy to do some virtue signalling and occasionally given the putting in some work - but equally dependent on a cabal of hard working supporters to put in the hard yards. Both retired, Blair to become leader of the global lizard underground and Cameron to a quiet life with him and his money. Both made a decent impression, did some good things and in Blair's case some terrible things when he wrongly sought to try at something. The Country broadly did OK under both of them (Blair ended with the GFC of course, so was something of a chimera created by Brown) and us plebs rolled along OK

Major - Did naff all, had no power, sat around a lot post Black-Wednesday with not much going on. Huge defeat by Blair, contributed much merriment to the nation with the whole back to basics farrago which consumed time but no effort. The country boomed, jobs for all, growing tax take, the mid to late nineties after the 1990 recession was a happy time!

Then we can look to America too  -

Reagan, lazy and latterly sadly, demented. By all accounts properly could not be arsed with much at all apart from daytime TV. Fantastic President, economy soared, smashed the USSR by teatime.

Clinton , busy with Ugandan affairs and defending silly mud-slinging over whitewater and trying to avoid his wife at all times. US did brilliantly, economy grew and everyone now looks to him as being one of the best ever. He literally did nothing.

Obama, hard working, interfering, well-meaning and useless. Tough times in America and the worst foreign policy for decades and decades. Worked very hard and bequeathed the US Donald Trump.

All the hard workers have huffed and puffed to achieve nothing. Constantly screwing with the systems of Government at home and overseas suffers from a very strong and direct law of diminishing returns. Indeed, the least engaged have often done the best. I can see Thatcher as different exception but she was indeed the exception to prove the rule whose like we shall not see again.

We as voters should therefore be wiser in future, hard working politicians should not be voted for, they merely cause more trouble than existed before.

In conclusion then a lazy Corbyn might be good as despite his demented socialist dreams he wont actually get around to any of it. I do worry his fellow-travellers might jump in to exploit this, but we will have to see. Then if the choice is between Bojo and Farage as alternatives then all well and good, as they similarly won't be that bothered with really doing much, whatever sound and fury emanates forth.

Finally then, soon we may get a choice of three politicians who don't want to actually do much,  at last allowing the Country to descend into a period of relative political peace and economic stability.