Tuesday, 24 April 2018
There are many reasons why Leave won the referendum nearly two years ago. Part of the reason was a simple desire to kick the establishment in their conceited, arrogant, complacent, entitled behinds. Immigration was clearly another big reason. Sovereignty another. Leave also had the best messaging, the clearest message and the best communicators.
Since the referendum though, in part because of the shock they have felt, it has been remainers doing the best job of campaigning, even though, ostensibly, they have nothing left to campaign for. But, as we all know, the EU is not good at accepting the results of popular votes when it doesn't like those results. They have thus done their level best to side with the useful idiots on this side of the channel, make the most of the political chaos and self inflicted weakness of the Prime Minister and keep the pressure on. They are still not making the case for the EU being something worth staying part of in its own right, still not campaigning for us to change our minds because of the nobility of the cause they all seem so fervently to believe in. But they are doing a great job of causing as much chaos and loathing within government. The British people are however made of sterner stuff. There is no shift in public sentiment except away from the EU. We don't take kindly to attempts to bully us, particularly not using the island of Ireland to do so.
Their latest ruse is all of this talk of us staying in the customs union, or a customs union. This is a patent nonsense and the Government is once again making a hash of answering them.
This is not just to do with our wanting to negotiate proper free trading deals with countries around the world including many who came here last week for the Commonwealth conference. This is once again to do with sovereignty and control, something that was a key pledge by those campaigning for us to leave and so any attempt to portray staying in a customs union as honouring that vote is mendacious. One of the reasons we are leaving, the main reason why I voted to leave, is because we want to govern ourselves, to negotiate in our best interests, to do as we see fit vis a vis the rest of the world. We cannot do that if we are part of a protectionist customs union. It is hard enough when we are part of 28 competing interests within the EU. But outside that but still governed by rules we have no means of changing would be an absurdity. Yet nobody is making that argument, nobody is pointing out the bleeding obvious, or at least not loudly and insistently enough.
The remainers are trying to bounce us into something that this country rejected. They want to keep us in a customs union that is for the benefit of the rest of the continent now and just raises prices for us all. This is an easy argument to make, one that is easy to understand. Name and shame the liars and quislings attempting this anti democratic piece of chicanery. And expose their true intent, which is to keep us in the EU, because the customs union is just the start of their campaign to do just that. Either that or, like the leader of the opposition and most of his front bench, they don't really understand it.
There are many people angling to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and many of them are leavers. It is they who should now take on this battle and start campaigning again for the Brexit the country voted for but that may be seized from us unless we start hitting back. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were the main campaigners for Brexit and should start campaigning again, perhaps alongside their cabinet colleague Esther McVey. This ought to represent no problem because they would just be espousing what is Government policy. They should take this opportunity now to start hitting back against this growing campaign to ignore the referendum and the very clear instructions of the British people. Leave means leave, not a diluted version that will please the EU Commission.
There are also those outside government, people like Priti Patel and of course Jacob Rees-Mogg ought to man the barricades too. Rees-Mogg is clearly on manoeuvres for the leadership notwithstanding his denials. He is also the favourite of the wider Conservative membership. Now is his opportunity. Start arguing and indeed campaigning for the Brexit we all voted for and in which he believes. It might even win him the leadership.
Monday, 23 April 2018
Are we really only 4 months into 2018? Because it feels like we are under the influence of an encroaching black hole. For physicists and cosmologists, by the way, I am entirely aware that this makes no sense. But you take my point. After all it seems like only yesterday since we were all facing armageddon because of the war of words between Trump and North Korea, calling each other names and sending in the fleet, firing off missiles and threatening more nuclear testing.
Then, suddenly, everything changed and suddenly we are talking about the Nobel Peace Prize. And if Trump pulls this off then he would entirely deserve such an accolade, much more so than other recent recipients, not least the farcical award of the prize to the likes of Barack Obama for making a nice speech or the EU, for something - I'm not entirely sure what and neither was the decision making committee.
The problem is that North Korea is likely playing games and sees the man they until recently, and not without cause, were calling a dotard, as a sap they can take advantage of. Trump thinks he's a genius. He is reportedly doing no preparation for this meeting that could well be his Nixon going to China moment and is intent on winging it. He is always convinced that his interpersonal skills will win the day. The man clearly has charisma. But he is also an ill-educated nest of personality disorders and terrifying insecurities. He is susceptible to flattery but also likely to fly into a raging tantrum worthy of a toddler if things do not go his way. This is how he operates in the world and has all of his life. He has learnt that what he cannot get by lying, bragging and charm he can get by furious rages and bullying. If he still fails, which of course he does constantly, he simply spins it as a triumph and then lies about it. He occasionally threatens to sue anyone who tells the truth about his failures. Or he simply calls it fake news.
This is the man being sent in to negotiate a deal of a lifetime. The man who got someone else to write The Art of the Deal for him and who has no idea how to do a deal without doing any of the above, is going into a one on one meeting with the leader of a country that has threatened and blustered its way to the negotiating deal with the most powerful man in the world and has thus far made no commitments whatsoever other than a temporary suspension of testing it shouldn't have been conducting anyway. They also, out of the blue, attended the Winter Olympics in South Korea, a propaganda coup that seems to have had the world's media eating out of their hands.
What has caused this sudden thawing of a relations that had hitherto been in permafrost for 60 years? It's hard to tell, but it is likely that North Korea have come to the realisation that they were playing with fire and that Trump is unstable enough and resistant to conventional advice so that he could very well attack them. For his part Trump has claimed that all of his own bluster and name calling has been part of a subtle psychological strategy designed to bring the DPRK to the negotiating table. This may even be partially true. It is certainly been his modus operandi, or what passes for one, in his business career. But such a strategy only really works if you don't talk about it. D'oh!
The US was very recently, until just before the Winter Olympics rapprochement, seriously considering a limited punishment attack, the so called bloody nose, that all of the advice told them could easily lead to all out war and hundreds of thousands of deaths. This was prevented by wiser heads like the now departed HR McMaster and Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis, counselling against it. But what if the advice is wrong and not as wise as we thought? What if all of those goose stepping soldiers are just a front? What if the reports of soldiers being sent out to forage for food are true? What if the North cannot afford to properly arm their million strong army? What if all of the artillery pointing at South Korea and the cause of much fear and dread is actually very little threat at all? What if North Korea knows this and fears being exposed in the bloody nose attack? We cannot know any of this for certain, but it would certainly explain a great deal.
And the promise to stop testing missile technology and nuclear weapons may not be all it is claimed to be either. In reality the North stopped doing this a while ago, either because of the sanctions and threats of military action or because of anger from China. Or some combination of the above. Or it could just be because they cannot do any more testing. It takes them weeks or at least days to assemble the hardware for one of their much vaunted missile tests, making it not much of a threat. And the nuclear testing may have had to stop owing to the recent collapse of the Punggye-ri testing site beneath Mount Mantap. 200 people were reportedly killed last year when this happened owing to tired mountain syndrome. The end of testing may have come about simply because they had no choice. Missile testing is a little more difficult to explain except when we remember that this is a catastrophically impoverished nation that has to send its own people abroad as slave labour to earn foreign currency, prints counterfeit currency and engages in endless crooked schemes around the world to earn just enough to pay for the luxuries that keep the Fat Leader in power. Missile technology is very very expensive when you have to lie and cheat just to pay for your leader's favourite cheese.
None of this means that America is wrong to be talking to North Korea, although conceding a leader to leader summit seems excessively generous and potentially counterproductive. It does mean however that the US holds all of the cards and should demand denuclearisation with full inspections to verify this, a proper peace treaty rather than an armistice and ongoing inspections to ensure North Korean compliance. Since the North is clearly angling for a relaxation of the sanctions that have done their work, there has to be a system of checks to ensure that they do not cheat. Because we have been here before. The North always cheats. Allowing them to do so again however would be more dangerous because it would give them the funding to complete their nuclear arms race, perfect the technology to miniaturise these nuclear weapons and the missiles to mount them on and ensure they do not burn up on re-entry. It is not clear that they have any of this at the moment and certainly don't have the funds to manufacture enough of them to be a reliable threat. It would be a catastrophic folly to relax the sanctions and hand them the money to make them truly dangerous.
Yet this is Donald Trump we are talking about here. He wants a win. If he gets a deal then it would be a genuine achievement, one that could see him emulate the achievements some of the greatest presidents in history. That is the danger though. Because he will not want to be seen to fail. We know he is capable of overriding the concerns of his advisers and taking a more emollient like with America's enemies just because it is better for Donald Trump rather than his country. We know this because he does this repeatedly and did it just last week when he undermined the impressively robust approach of his UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley towards Russia. Yes, Russia again.
Fortunately of course North Korea presumably does not have any kompromat over Trump and presumably he doesn't want to build a hotel in Pyongyang. Presumably they haven't lent him money, don't own any apartments in his buildings and don't have any tapes of him and prostitutes. We don't know very much about Kim Jong-Un, except that he is a spoilt and vicious brat accustomed to getting his own way. We don't know how good he is at diplomacy and whether he is clever enough to know how to flatter Trump and cajole him into doing something stupid. What we do know is that they have suddenly and inexplicably reversed their position and have succeeded probably farther than their own wildest dreams by doing so. We also know that they have a history of this kind of behaviour and that their word cannot be trusted. On the face of it then the two fat brattish leaders of these two countries have much in common. Whether or not that helps matters is moot. We should all be very very nervous about this summit meeting and what Trump will do. Because that is as unknowable as the enigmatic behaviour of the hermit kingdom.
It was the 25th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence at the weekend. That was a bona fide example of racism, maybe even of institutional racism in the police's response to it, but oh how the left wing media loved that phrase and used it until it became meaningless.
The Windrush scandal is not an example of racism and is certainly not institutional racism. This was a case of institutional incompetence and not racism. There is nothing wrong with government and politicians wanting to be tough on illegal immigration as was the case here. Unfortunately what happened then impacted upon people who are here perfectly legally and ought to have been under no obligation whatsoever to have to jump through the unreasonable bureaucratic hoops demanded by the authorities. The policy was a good one in response to public anger about the levels of illegal immigration and the burden upon public services. It was the implementation that failed.
We should no longer be surprised by any of the rhetoric and serial dishonesty of Chauncey's Labour Party, but their making hay with this issue is beneath contempt. This would be the case under any circumstances given the facts. But since they are using the issue as a means of distracting from their own very real problems with serial, one might call it institutional racism in the form of anti-Semitism, something that some of their more honest members acknowledge, their falling upon this matter with such relief and sanctimonious glee has been revealing in its desperation. Chauncey could at last raise himself up once again and vent his usual cant and hypocrisy as he claims to be against racism once again.
Managing immigration, both illegal and legal is something that all governments should do. It is not racist. It is one of the core responsibilities of government to secure our borders and to ensure that we know who is entering this country and whether they have the right to live and work here. Under Labour this responsibility was deliberately ignored and undermined so that in the end they had to slam the door shut, or at least give the appearance of so doing. That was the genesis for the scandal that Chauncey now claims is an example of Conservative racism. How dare he. And just how stupid does he think the British public is?
Late last night it was reported that Number 10 are saying once again, in response to feverish media reporting, that vote in the House of Lords last week, remainer flag flying and of course the deliberate mischief making of the EU Commission negotiating team, that Britain will not be staying in a customs union or joining in a bespoke one as part of the deal done. This is to be applauded but is about time. To repeat once again, whilst most of us were less than gruntled by the negotiations to date, including the deal for the bill we do not owe and the transitional deal that just keeps us in the EU for all intents and purposes with no means of influencing it, we will not accept under any circumstances, membership of a customs union or the customs union. To do so would be a betrayal of the referendum result and render our leaving meaningless. We would effectively make the transitional deal permanent, be out side the EU but have our trade policy dictated for us by a body we are no longer members of. The EU would be negotiating for itself and offering us up as sacrificial lambs without us having the power to prevent them. It is a legal and political nonsense. But of course, barring very high levels of stupidity normally only found on the Labour front bench, the others advocating for this know this very well and are seeking yet another way to stop us leaving at all.
Presumably Number 10 are clarifying this in a panic because of the rising number of Tory MPs saying that any attempt to keep us in the customs union would lead to Cabinet resignations and a probable leadership challenge.
The Prime Minister needs to get back on the front foot on this issue and tell the EU to back off once again. The EU is attempting to keep us in a customs union, their excuse being Northern Ireland. In reality this is just the wedge issue they are using to try to stop us leaving in any meaningful sense or at all. There are no real difficulties over the Northern Irish border if we are being sensible and pragmatic as the borders with Norway and Switzerland demonstrate. Nevertheless less the spin coming from the EU is that they have rejected all of the solutions proposed so far. Well we shall see. The deal is not done until the whole deal is done, which means no money until we are given a trade deal and meaning that the border issue must be resolved. Mrs May should threaten to walk. She has not once deployed this very effective ploy thus far. The time is fast approaching when, to hold on to her job, she may well have to.
Sunday, 22 April 2018
We now come to a short section on crime, punishment and justice. As in all things though God has some peculiar ideas on this. All of this is just more repetition of course, but some of the ideas are so weird they bear repeating. Even the people hearing all of this orally the first time thousands of years ago must have said: eh?
So, once in the Promised Land, said God, the people were to take over the cities and the towns and the houses. This doesn't actually make sense because they were supposed to be a people who had been given land by God to farm and raise cattle and grow crops. So which of them were to be farmers and which were to live in the cities? And how were they supposed to make their living?
Anyway, God wasn't concerned with this. He told them they had to set aside 3 of the cities for a special purpose. These were to be cities of refuge. This is a humdinger of an idea. These cities of refuge were set aside for people who had killed someone by accident to flee to. In these cities they were safe from anyone who wanted to kill them in revenge.
God even gave an example of someone who might avail themselves of this kind of refuge. If someone was cutting down a tree with an axe but the head came off the axe and hit another man and killed him then this, pretty obviously, is an accident. But nothing is so simple for this God. No. The relatives of the dead man might wish to pursue the man who had accidentally killed their relation but if he made it to a city of refuge he was safe. Other than there he could still be killed. It's a weird kind of justice isn't it.
There are all kinds of other arcane rules surrounding this but that is the gist of it. Premeditated murder was of course punishable by death. But there wasn't time for trials and so on. That would be far too easy.
Two witnesses as a minimum were required for a conviction. Without such witnesses anyone could get away with murder. Literally. Oh and if a witness lied then whatever he had falsely accused someone of doing would be done to him. It's an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth kind of justice. You'd think that God, being all seeing and all knowing, might have sorted all of this out for himself. But no. He's obviously too busy being revered for no reason and coming up with stupid rules about manslaughter.
Saturday, 21 April 2018
Friday, 20 April 2018
In the week of the great Windrush controversy, which came about because of a badly administered crackdown on illegal immigration that instead harassed and tried to deport people who are here entirely legally, there has been another great immigration related story that has obsessed the chattering classes. On the 50th anniversary of Enoch Powell's rivers of blood speech, the one that saw him chucked out of the Conservative Party and to the fringes of politics never to return, the one that has been quoted, inaccurately and cited ever since, the BBC decided to broadcast the speech.
Except of course it did no such thing. It got an actor, the excellent Ian McDiarmid, to read the speech and then cut it into chunks, analysed it, appraised it, dissected it. It was, in other words, a documentary telling the story of an important part of Britain's recent history and its part in the journey we have been on ever since.
This was not, as more hysterical commentators have opined, them broadcasting hate speech. It wasn't a celebration of the speech. It was a public broadcaster, on Radio 4 for crying out loud, doing what it is supposed to do.
Few people will know much about the speech for the very good reason that only a small part of it was actually recorded and thus available. That's why Ian McDiarmid was employed. If you take the trouble to read the whole speech, or listen to the BBC's programme about it, one realises how wrongheaded it was. Powell, who was a great British patriot and a brilliant man in many ways, made a catastrophic error of judgement. His speech fundamentally misjudged the issue of immigration, Britain's attitude to it and our willingness and ability to be welcoming, accommodating, flexible and the transformative, in a positive way, effect of immigration to this country. The levels of immigration back at the time were tiny in comparison to modern levels. Yet still Britain remains a tolerant, easy going and overwhelmingly hospitable country. Our favourite dish after all is now a curry rather than fish and chips or roast beef. London in particular but many of our major towns and cities have become rainbow cities. British culture has been transformed very much for the better along with our institutions.
The sort of people who objected to this airing of an important part of British history are the same sort of people who automatically assume that wanting to control immigration equates to racism. It's either that or they want to airbrush history according to modern mores in much the same way as many want to take down imperialist era statues and fantasise about blowing up Nelson's Column. History is not a safe space. By studying it one will often come across views and events that offend, shock and appal. But that is why we study history. That is why we discuss it and debate it and seek to discover why people acted the way they did.
Powell's speech was a reaction to the changing face of Britain. He was wrong and has been proven wrong. But that doesn't mean we cannot look back and understand what motivated his speech and why it resonated with many people and is still invoked, albeit on a diminishing scale. Humans abhor change. We are also suspicious of others, especially those who look and sound different. But we are also adaptable and versatile and endlessly pragmatic. That is part of the success story of this island nation. And another part of its success is that we have the freedom to say things and debate them. Shutting down issues that we don't like or which do not accord with out world view is dangerous and proto totalitarian. The BBC should be congratulated for getting out of its usual comfort zone and exploring difficult issues. It should do it more often.
Thursday, 19 April 2018
Chauncey is in all kinds of trouble this week. The anti-Semitism row has exploded again. People are pointing out the inconvenient fact for instance that Ken Livingstone is still only suspended from the party rather than expelled despite two years having elapsed. Could it be that the investigation has just been parked until Chauncey thinks he will be able to sneak his old pal back in without anyone noticing?
There was a debate about anti-Semitism this week. Chauncey didn't bother to take part in it and left the chamber rather than listen to criticisms of him and his party's attitudes. It's similar to his refusal to attend the rally in Parliament Square yet a few days later he was able to attend a fringe event hosted by Jewdas. Chauncey isn't keen on criticism or tough questions. That's the Left all over for you. It's why they always tend to turn authoritarian and anti-democratic if entrusted with power.
Even Chauncey's response to the Syria crisis has exploded in his face. Theresa May played a straight bat and stood for hours answering questions in the Commons. Chauncey called a vote and then told his own MPs to vote against his own motion. He was trying to find a way to invoke a new approach to military action meaning that the government of the day must refer to Parliament before taking any action, something that is impracticable and nonsensical. We live in a parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister may be appointed by the Queen but he or she only serves so long as they have the confidence of the House of Commons. It is always open to the Commons and indeed the Opposition to call a motion of no confidence if a PM oversteps the mark. That is the way our constitutional system works. Chauncey wants to render our military entirely redundant because he would never use them. He even wants to outsource all decision making to the UN, an irresponsible but classically leftist notion that bears not a moment's scrutiny. The UN is used cynically by the likes of Russia and China to prevent anything they don't like. Imagine their glee if it also handed them the ability to forestall UK action. They could sink one of our new aircraft carriers that Chauncey would no doubt arm with flowers and good wishes and then prevent the UK responding by vetoing it in the UN. This is the foreign and defence policy of a 12 year old, yet Chauncey seems to earnestly believe in it.
On the debacle of the Windrush affair Chauncey got it wrong this week too. Theresa May could and should have been on the back foot yet Chauncey's question gave her a free pass (see video above). He then, as he so often does, stuck limpet like to his pre-prepared script, notwithstanding the fact that the ground had disappeared from beneath his feet. He played once again to his own prejudices by claiming the PM's hostility to immigrants. In reality she has always promised a harsh line against illegal immigrants. Chauncey missed that bit out. Maybe his printer can't cope with italics.
This time last year as Theresa May called a general election, we all confidently expected that Chauncey would be consigned to the back benches where he belongs after being humiliated at the polls. It didn't turn out that way, but he demonstrates again and again why that expectation arose. His ineptitude and plain stupidity is so stark and yet still he is defended by those who must surely know better. At what point does Marxist Labour despatch this deserved nonentity and elect itself a leader who knows what he or she is doing, who does not appease vicious dictators and who would not endanger this country with his craven, facile, credulous, 6th form views?
Wednesday, 18 April 2018
The Windrush scandal is appalling, of course it is. There's no excuse for it. Yet why is anyone surprised? This is what happens when politicians, under pressure over immigration, but with very little they can really do about it, task the civil service to do something about it. What does the civil service do? It picks low hanging fruit. It picks on people who have done nothing wrong and imagined themselves to be beyond reproach for the very good reason that they are entirely beyond reproach. But they just don't have the paperwork to prove it. It's a bit like being asked by a detective to prove what you were doing on the date a murder took place 25 years ago. A court of your peers would think it reasonable that you would likely be unable to answer this and would not impute guilt as a consequence. That is not the bureaucratic mindset.
Of course part of the problem here is that we live in a rules based society for the very good reason that this is seen as the best way of ensuring that we do not become victims of an arbitrary decision. Officialdom has to abide by rules. It's why we have a tick box culture. It's why the NHS is frequently so hopeless, why so many decisions taken by a range of public officials seem odd or even ridiculous. Those are the rules.
And to be fair to officials the reason that they have such rules about immigration is because the likes of the NHS are often abused by people who come here specifically to get free medical treatment. The NHS, though it demands boxes be ticked, does not demand they be ticked where people showing up for expensive treatment are concerned. So the pressure shifts from the NHS to immigration. People who have been living here for decades, paying their taxes, working for the likes of the NHS, are law abiding and so are easy to find and trace. And then deport. That nobody questioned whether this might be a grave injustice and raise alarms is just an example of people who have lost the ability to think for themselves because they are not encouraged to do so. There are so many examples of this in day to day life that we could fill a thousand blogs.
The Government cannot currently tell us how many people have been affected by this and deported. That is something that needs to be remedied and fast. Thankfully they have now felt the pressure of this and have stopped stonewalling and reacted. It should not have needed media pressure to get them to see sense.
But this is yet another example of Theresa May's legacy at the Home Office, a legacy that won her the premiership. Yet on the appalling murder rate in London thanks to her cuts to the police and, more importantly her virtue signalling on stop and search and now on this just as with her tin eared approach to students and other immigration issues, Theresa May's record is imploding even insofar as it was ever much to shout about. The Home Office is often the graveyard of politicians unless they get out quickly enough. It deserves to continue to impact the career of the Prime Minister and her equally hapless successor who should be moved and replaced with someone prepared to trash Mrs May's toxic legacy. At the very least she should own this scandal, apologise for it and promise that no stone will be left unturned in resolving it and undoing the harm and hurt caused.
Tonight's Stop the War demo in Westminster contains a mix of many views:— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) April 16, 2018
- Those who think bombing never helps
- Those who think the PM should have asked MPs first
- But also, those who think Assad is a 'good man' because 'he's a doctor'. pic.twitter.com/1HrBFg2An5
We've all had fun watching the video above of that deranged woman at the Stop the War protest defending Assad as a good man because 'he's a doctor for god's sake', whilst of course Theresa May is bad because she authorised four missiles to be launched in an attack in which nobody died. She did this, according to this theory, without authority - you might imagine that being Prime Minister conferred a certain amount of authority but I think we can dismiss this Terry Jones impersonator's view of the British constitution.
The point is however, that though this is a fringe view, it is not that different to Chauncey's, the man who wants to be our next Prime Minister and who, according to the polls, stands a decent chance of achieving this.
Chauncey is opposed to any and all military interventions, even those, like the Syria attacks, intended to defend innocent lives. He is an ideological opponent of capitalism and of America and so this, in his peculiar way of looking at the world, obliges him to back and defend the likes of Putin and Assad whilst at the same time posing as a lover of peace. This is what so astonishes about the man. It is perfectly defensible to think that socialism is a better and fairer system for running our economy. It is wrong as history has repeatedly demonstrated, but it is at least an honourable standpoint. But why the need to demonise those who disagree or wish to run their affairs differently? And why the need to back vile regimes like Putin and Assad's. Because that is what Chauncey has been doing this week. Assad used chemical weapons on his own people for the third time and the Leader of the Opposition cavils and questions and pettifogs. How is that different to claiming that Assad is much misunderstood?
Putin and Assad are not good men. They are murderous crooks out to maintain power for its own sake and willing to anything to ensure their survival. And it is not as if it is our intention to wage war on either or to bring about regime change, We just wish to see them respect international law and human rights and stop killing people, including children in basements. Yet according to the protesters on Monday and Chauncey himself who probably wished he had been able to join them, it is Theresa May and Donald Trump who are in the wrong.