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Saturday, 16 November 2019

CorbynNet - just wrong on so many levels

I pay about £17 a month for unlimited interweb at a consistent speed of 30MB - plenty for me, with Netflix, a couple of internet radios on all day and normal browsing. And neither a strand of copper nor a whisper of fibre optic in sight - it's all LTE 4G mobile, my router having a SIM card slot rather than an RJ11 socket. I don't need 5G, and as I don't own any sort of huge screen I don't need faster speeds. I don't even watch Netflix that much - last night, with the fire playing in the stove, I sank into the comfort of  a Portillo rail journeys DVD, an early one, before he started to camp it up for his considerable gay fan club. I don't think I'm untypical of the older internet user.

Clearly I think Labour's £100bn nationalised internet offer was aimed at the young, but to my mind it's mistaken on at least three levels. Firstly, is the UK seriously proposing to dig up all those streets and roads again to lay fibre into dwellings, rather than just into junction boxes which use copper for the final connection? Isn't this a bit, erm, steampunk, when the entire sparsely populated alpine region of Europe gets 4G using mobile?

Secondly, an anyone who has ever compared internet tariffs will ask, what does 'free' and 'fast' mean? Is it 10MB speeds for up to 2GB a month? Or 67MB for unlimited use? You see, Mr Corbyn clearly doesn't quite understand that demand for something free is pretty well infinite - which is why we have to ration free stuff like the NHS. And St Greta will not be pleased - the interweb already takes more than 10% of our power consumption.

Thirdly and most importantly, what sort of morons would vote to voluntarily hand control of their internet access to an overweening nanny government department? One journalist asked at Labour's press conference yesterday whether national CorbynNet would ban porn - and got a weaselly answer about controls to prevent harm to users. That means censorship. Now the young generation I know uses stuff like Tor, bitstreaming, online gaming, the greyer bits of the web where we olduns never venture and, I am pretty sure, lots of porn. Everything in fact that Labour's authoritarian illiberal nannies would want to ban. They'd have us all watching documentary films about cheese-making co-operatives.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

End of Empire

With a monumental lack of irony, Donald Tusk claimed yesterday that Brexit marked the true end of Empire, as though anyone thought that such a terminal event was a bad thing. This utter lack of self-awareness amused me hugely on two grounds. The first was that Brexit will mark the end of Britain's subjugation and restraint by his own nascent EU Empire, the second that Britain's rejection of the role of military muscle that the EU had planned for us will almost certainly curtail the EU's own dreams of a European empire to rival the US and China. He knows so little of the UK, or has been so deluded and gulled by specious Remain propaganda, to imagine that there's anyone at all on the Brexit side who yearns for Empire. Since 2008, not one single comment on this blog has even mentioned it. It is, as the psychologists say, Projection.

China, too, having hardly laid the first belt-and-road asphalt, is already experiencing the pains and costs of Empire, and I don't mean just Hong Kong. The hundreds of billions invested in African ports, transport infrastructure, mines and natural resources will be increasingly at risk; from forfeiture if ever the bribe taps to the ruling elites are turned off, or at the hands of an emergent new kleptocratic elite seizing them for the new regime. Either China uses military force to secure the assets, or loses the vast investments - a dilemma that every ex-colonial power has faced. Long lines of communication means a low ratio of teeth to tail, something that the US, with 1.3 million persons under arms only a small fraction of whom are tasked to combat duties, has already found. And internally, China is at the stage of millions detained already in detention camps - universally the precursor to regime change.

I have published before a map of Tusk's imperial European ambitions which I find simply strategically unbelievably stupid. Turkey doesn't even have to start a tank - just to release 3m migrants launched into the EU's soft underbelly. A NATO without boots on EU ground can shorten supply lines and constrict all sea routes to the EU if required, closing the Med up like a boating lake.

So thank you, Donald. Trebles all round, I think.   

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The fight is not over

This election is round one in an existential war to win back popular democracy. Ranged against the people of Britain are the globalist powers of the deep state and their dags who have infiltrated and taken control of our national institutions. 

The strength of the people has always been made manifest through the actions of what Robert Nisbet called our intermediate institutions - the little platoons that Burke found foundational in creating a national identity. Nisbet locates the chief cause of the feeling of lostness in modern man in the weakening of the intermediate associations that stand between the lone individual and the State; without our local bodies, our little platoons, our guilds, churches, watch committees and town councils, we are hugely vulnerable to the depredations of the central state. This is why I am so committed to Localism. The battles against the deep state globalists are not to be won in SW1 but in our parish halls and meeting places, in places real and virtual, by physical or remote contact. Popular democracy needs local moots.  

One of the most sustained assaults on popular democracy since the middle of the last century has been by the central state on our intermediate institutions. Many have been destroyed beyond any hope of resurrection - but our future lies not in replicating the past, but in creating new forms of local identity using the tools and relationships enabled by technology. Localism need not be limited by geography, defined by place but by purpose. This blog is also valid as a local moot. Your own family is an intermediate institution, and a powerful nexus of a belonging, an allegiance, a strength that the central State cannot defile.  

Robert Tombs in the Telegraph today also delineates the battles ahead;
All across the democratic world, more and more power has shifted away from elected national governments towards non-elected bodies – international organisations, law courts, treaties, quangos. Governments have voluntarily surrendered their own authority. But in doing so, they have limited democratic choice: voters are told that there are things they cannot do, choices they cannot make.

This has gone furthest in EU member states. A void has been created between rulers and ruled. Two networks of power, influence and patronage have grown up: one based on domestic politics, the other based on the EU institutions. These two networks – two establishments, one national, one trans-national, which include politicians, civil servants, academics, business lobbies, non-governmental organisations – overlap in every EU country.
It is those virtues that the technocratic elites claim as liberating - individualism, egality and the supremacy of central or supranational authority - that Nisbet found destructive of popular democracy;
What is often overlooked, as Nisbet points out, is that in making individuals independent of each other and of society, Rousseau would also make them dependent on the State. The State would ensure the individual's equality and liberty. But "liberty" in Rousseau’s terminology, of course, means submergence of the individual will in the General Will. The citizen will be "compelled to be free." He will be protected from the discriminations of society; the State, in Rousseau’s mind, is to be the great protector of the individual’s rights. But, in turn, the individual must be willing to relinquish any of his own wishes that conflict with the dictates of the General Will. There would be no room for rebellious intermediate associations. In Rousseau’s would-be State, even "religion must be identified, in the minds of the people, with the values of national life, else it will create disunity and violate the General Will." Thus does freedom become identified with obeying the guidelines of a central authority.
The struggles of the past three years to re-assert the supremacy of popular democracy are not the end of it. This election is but one battle, with a struggle ahead. All those who have fought so hard for UKIP or The Brexit Party have not fought in vain, nor are their efforts ended. That commitment to the powers of the people of this nation under democratic norms is still needed. Democracy doesn't always mean winning, as Tombs concludes
Democracy is not a system for discovering the "right answer" to political issues: we can rarely if ever 
be sure what the right answer is. Democracy, rather, is a system for creating consent and solidarity by allowing all to have an equal vote. For making people feel that the way they are governed, though not perfect, is at least one in which they are fairly consulted and their voices listened to. So that, even if they do not get their own way, they accept the outcome without trying to sabotage or evade it.

That is what we have come perilously close to losing. Next month we have the chance to regain it, with all the opportunities and risks that democracy entails.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

With thanks, time to move on.

The debt owed to Nigel Farage cannot be understated. Without him, David Cameron would never have agreed the Referendum. And as a Conservative, I am doubly grateful; without Nigel we would never have reformed our party, culled the EUphiles and shifted course. At the time of the EP elections, I simply repeated here what Conservative Home had printed as advice to Conservatives - to refrain from voting.

Farage's commitment yesterday to withdraw from 317 seats won by May in 2017 clearly hurt him deeply and has stunned many readers and contributors. However, it was the right thing to do. Only the Conservative party can deliver Brexit. But I'm sorry to say it may not be enough for an overall majority; we must still fight over Labour seats in which the Conservative party can win. There will also be seats in which my party can never win. There will, no doubt, be an app soon available to advise on the best way to vote tactically in such seats to secure a pro-Brexit MP.

Yesterday at least has allowed us now to turn our guns onto Labour's reckless and hopeless spending plans, and the undermining of the power of the peoples' vote by the illiberal anti-democrats. And on globalist warmongers such as Hillary Clinton, who want to use their foreign influences to undermine British democracy in a last-ditch effort to prevent us casting them off.

Oh. And remember what happened last time that Labour had a cunning spending plan? Your grandchildren will still be paying for it in 2049.

  

Monday, 11 November 2019

Who owns BrexitCorp™?

It's all about Farage. He has become Remain's secret weapon and the columnists are saying so. "Nigel Farage would rather scupper Brexit than let somebody else deliver it" writes Dan Hannan in the Telegraph; Nick Timothy's take is "Nigel Farage has tragically turned into the Frodo Baggins of Brexit". Timothy in particular is scathing
So why is Farage campaigning against it, and against Leave-supporting Tory MPs? Some who know him believe – after years of being despised, ignored or patronised by senior Tories – he has a pathological determination to destroy the Conservative Party. But others insist he is motivated much more by ego. Drunk on his own publicity, and surrounded by sycophants, he is incapable of taking yes for an answer. And so he keeps campaigning for a “real Brexit”, even though in so doing he risks destroying the real Brexit that Boris is trying to deliver.
In Lord of the Rings, good fortune means the ring is destroyed despite Frodo’s submission to greed and vanity. But in real life, we cannot wait for a stroke of luck. Farage needs to stop, before he kills his greatest achievement.
It was surely the naivety of an obsessive that allowed Farage to imagine that he could negotiate with the Conservative party for a deal. BrexitCorp™ is not a democratic party but the sort of anti-democratic cabal that Farage has rightly himself fought against for so many long years; the BrexitCorp™ capos are appointed, not elected. Supporters are allowed to donate money to Nigel's firm but not to be members of a party and vote. Farage refuses to reveal the shadowy backers and owners of his company who stand to benefit if he gains seats in Parliament. The Conservatives will simply not openly announce a deal with a secretive privately owned company that could well blow up in their faces in a year when electoral law says the financial backing must be revealed.

Timothy demolishes point by point Farage's 'fatuous' claims that Boris' deal is not Brexit. "Farage’s claims about that are completely bogus. He argues that EU judges will still rule over Britain, and that we will not control our fishing, will be unable to trade as we choose, and will not be allowed an independent foreign or defence policy. None of this is true." he writes

But most of all, I suspect, Farage actually enjoys being an MEP and head of the largest group of MEPs in the European Parliament. No wonder he prefers the corrupt 'list' EP electoral system that gives voters no say in the individuals that their votes send to Brussels, making democracy a matter of his personal favouritism. Perhaps he really doesn't want it to end. His stubbornness is destroying his own legacy. As a letter today in the Telegraph states
Sir – Nigel Farage could have gone down in history as the man who stiffened the sinews of the Conservative Party and ensured that we left the European Union – but I fear he is more likely to go down as the man who caused us to stay put.

I know pride is at stake, but he must accept that after three years of political wrangling most people want to see a negotiated settlement. His desire for the Government to ditch the Brexit deal will simply not be realised. The only result if he persists with his present course is likely to be no exit from the EU, and a hard-Left Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
And this is my appeal. Nigel, give it up. For the sake of Brexit, stand your BrexitCorp™ candidates in 20 - 40 northern Labour seats but stand them down elsewhere where they risk putting Corbyn in power.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

The pathetic vileness of the haters and baiters

There are dark forces in human hearts that we simply cannot allow to be released. Whether the objects of their hatred are defined by faith or racial or ethnographic identity, we have surely learned enough lessons by now of the dangers in pretending that their abhorrent views are in any wise acceptable. Corbyn has sheltered and succoured the most vile bigots and anti-semites, repugnant individuals who pollute his party. As a reminder of how unfit he is for public life - and all like him, the Muslim-baiters, the race haters, who either commit or allow those in their party to support these repulsive hatreds, I re-publish a post I made a year ago, on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht -

November 9th, 2018  
A pane of window glass is an odd thing. Just 4mm thick, and so fragile that a child's ball may shatter it, in our minds it is as much of a bulwark against the elements, against the chaos of the street, against the bad outside as nine inches of brick and mortar. Anyone who has had a broken front window pane will know the sudden vulnerability, the sense of unprotectedness, the anxiety and the naked exposure of that void. Until mended, we can't sleep. We imagine dark forms, of burglars, deviants and suchlike attracted like moths to the boarded gape - blind to the reason that the piece of plywood covering the hole is many times stronger than the thin, weak pane it replaces.

Eighty years ago today tens of thousands of our German cousins had their windows deliberately smashed, windows of not only their homes but their businesses. Synagogues were smashed and burned. Kristallnacht marked the change from social, economic and political discrimination to physical attack. Kristallnacht marked the start of the Holocaust.

The boundary, the constraint, the separation between discriminatory treatment, between scowls and insults flung in the street and on the trams to physical battery, to rape and murder, to violence and robbery and to organised genocide was just as thin and fragile as a sheet of glass. Eighty years ago it was smashed and the first thirty thousand of Germany's Jews were rounded up for the concentration camps, to be killed in an ad-hoc, haphazard fashion, from starvation, lack of care, overwork and shooting. It was to be another thirty-eight months before the Germans agreed the designer death factories at Wannsee - Vorsprung durch Technik - but already the fate of Europe's Jews was effectively decided.

NEVER AGAIN

I was in Villach yesterday, enjoying a beer on the broad, elongated space that stretches up the hill from the Drau to the church, paved in the same red catshead cobbles as a century ago, and called Adolf-Hitler-Platz until the British occupation force changed its name in 1946. The Christmas tree was already up, the size of the tree in Trafalgar Square, and carpenters were building the Christmas village, sturdy huts and braziers soon to be filled with the scent of burning pine, Glühwein and hot Leberkäse. As I write I can't actually remember what the space is called today - after having seen all the photos from March 1938, such as that below, it is forever Adolf-Hitler-Platz in my mind. Among this crowd, I wonder, were the Jews of Villach watching the procession? Still at that time with faith in the strength of their windows to protect them from rape, brutality and death?

Friday, 8 November 2019

The death of Labour

I've known quite a few Labourites down the years. In South Yorkshire being Labour was as much a part of life as the Yorkshire main coal seam 1km under our feet. These were Ian Austins to a man, believers in hard work, social responsibility, a mixed economy, a strong defence and Trident. Amongst them were the last batch of national servicemen and those who wore the pair of the UN bronze and distinctive blue and yellow ribboned campaign medals of the Korean war. They tried hard, really hard, not to say 'love' 'dear' or 'pet' when asking young women for a cup of tea, knowing but not quite understanding that this now gave offence.

In London, I knew a far greater variety of Labourites. There were communities - Irish, Jewish - who traditionally looked to the party as a collective defence against the abuses and depredations of the tribal English. There were the Windrush generation of Commonwealth immigrants who joined them for much the same reasons. There were a great mass of Londoners, minor consumers of the Welfare State, who wanted decent homes at affordable rents in which to live on their wages as bus drivers or council clerks. For the most part they were Ian Austins, too. There were the actors, poets and artists from the French and the Colony Room. Soho's last lamplighter. Those employed in higher and further education, where labour allegiance was a sort of membership worn lightly in case they should want to 'go into politics' if they failed to get that departmental headship yet again.

Of course there were the nasty Labourites, too. The bullying and grasping TU officials (including one bane of my own managerial life; when he was exposed in the 'Sun' as a serial groper and sex abuser and sacked by his own union, which he took to a tribunal, my rejoicing was great). There were the nasty local councillors bent with greed or corrupt with petty power, drunks, bullies, haters and frauds. All those who used the party as a ladder to support their own foulness. But one meets such people everywhere.

All the above one could tag as 'mostly harmless'. Many will have voted 'Leave' in the referendum. Many will only now, in this election, come to realise that their party is dead, taken-over by a cynical and dangerous cabal of Marxist opportunists who care nothing for their wishes and beliefs, who will not reward their loyalty. Even the Noncefinder General, himself not an attractive human being, has jumped ship. The Jewish Chronicle screams warnings. John Woodcock, Tom Harris and Michael McCann, former Labour bigwigs, say don't vote for Corbyn.

Lay up those silk banners. The party is disbanded. Labour is dead.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

The only winners from TV debates are the broadcasters

I'm not a fan of TV debates in which the party leaders are encouraged to sneer and bark at each other like bare knuckle boxers. Inevitably these things are designed by broadcasters deeply biased towards the metropolitan political establishment, a social state in which the broadcasters have a privileged supremacy. The events are designed to show how powerful and important are the broadcasters, and how trivial our political leaders. Silly little bar stools, demeaning sets and intellectually inadequate presenters with little understanding of democracy and frequently an inability to chair either effectively or impartially the debate make the things a spectacle like those in which secret incestuous caravan-park relations are revealed before a studio audience. TV debates are all about the broadcasters.

'All politics is local' is not an aphorism understood by the BBC, ITV or Sky. As far as they're concerned, all politics is centred around SW1. For two years they've given us the bear pit of College Green, with its mentally-ill ranters and painted fools in the background, and a primitive forest of flags waving above the outdoor stages, a contrived palio of conflict designed to drive up the political temperature and crowd-out sense and reason from political debate. It's all about spectacle, about a gladiatorial knock-about. I'm sure that the parliamentary authority has offered a score of times to site temporary portacabins for the broadcasters on the river terrace and have been spurned - they want extremist behaviour, they want the threat of violence and they want noise, fear and the mob. It is the broadcasters more than anyone else who have whipped up the death threats, spittle and assaults on MPs and have deepened the division in the country. Do we really trust them to act any different in designing TV debates?

It is a truism that the best way to treat the broadcasters is to deprive them of the oxygen of publicity. To refuse to play their game. As Channel Four news has found to its cost. This is the most important election for almost a century - do we really want to contrive with the establishment TV barons in turning it into a game show?

And as any fair televised punch-up must include both the illiberal anti-democrats and BrexitCorp® I suggest that only making the nonsense both fair and equitable and agreeing a format that takes the heat, steam and hate out, in effect making the four-way debate a quiet, considered debate with no yowling studio audience and no black-tee shirted security guards to restrain the studio mob from attacking the guests is the only sensible way ahead.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Mad pitbulls and manipulative experts

Dr Keith Sutherland has a job at Exeter University. His piece in the Speccie detailing the shortcomings of citizens' juries and of deliberative democracy is therefore supremely professional and details the myriad technical faults of the process that makes it unsuitable for important democratic decisions.

In my time I've done plenty of design charettes with local communities affected by development. I recall one dreary November evening; it was cold, it was dark, and freezing rain made sodden and hopeless the scruffy hall at the edge of a council estate affected by our plans. Sheltering under a tree in a vandalised play area were a group of teens; even on such a night, being out and together was better than being at home. I was told of one 16-year old lad highly skilled on a BMX bike that his mother and stepfather had given him notice to leave the house; no job and no post-16 education meant he earned nothing for them, was just a mouth to feed, and so got pushed out of the nest. It was that brutal.

Inevitably those that came to the meeting were, as Dr Sutherland describes, overrepresented by partisans and activists. Boy, they hated young people. They wanted a public realm equipped with the design equivalent of barbed wire and searchlights, with the painful silent shriek of 'mosquito' transmitters on every street corner (these satanic devices emit a painful noise at a frequency that can only be heard by those under about 20 - advertised as 'teen deterrents'. I guess dogs would hear them as well - possibly accounting for so many mad pitbulls in these places) When I challenged the 'community' plod on his repeated description of the kids that hung around outside the shops as a 'teenage nuisance' and suggested that as they weren't breaking any law and were as much citizens as the rest of us, it would be more accurate to describe them as a 'teenage presence', I was practically lynched.  

Our architect, a gentle and artistic man, was so horrified he never attended further. He sent instead a duffer assistant, a talentless gofer who was useful in the office because he could work the CAD system.

Sutherland points out that 95% of those invited to citizens' juries never turn up; "Out of the 30,000 invitations sent out for Rachel Reeves’ climate assembly, only 110 will receive the golden ticket. Would you have any confidence in an opinion poll that relied on 110 volunteers?" he asks. A citizens' assembly that reproduced exactly the 52:48 Brexit result would need a minimum of 6,766 participants.

But Sutherland understates, professionally, the key reason that deliberative democracy is never suited as a replacement for democracy - that those using it are themselves biased towards a certain outcome and will seek to run the process to produce that outcome. The RSA, for example, a strong advocate of deliberative democracy, suggests that the cattle are well-briefed by 'experts' before they are allowed to raise their hands - on the basis that decisions such as Brexit should be made by 'informed' voters rather than we ignorant, stupid, uneducated and inexpert citizens.

Beware all those who seek to use any method other than universal suffrage and the secret ballot for our most important decisions. They don't have democracy in their hearts. 

Monday, 4 November 2019

Speaker : let's hope it's third time lucky

Readers may recall a post I made in September under the title 'Good riddance to a meretricious arsewipe'. After recalling my first experience with George Thomas and his successor, I wrote
After Weatherill came Betty Boothroyd - ex Tiller Girl, and to date our only female Speaker. She brought a twinkle and a touch of humour to the chair in a way that in no wise diminished either her dignity, the authority of the Speaker or her command of the chamber. For the matters of her term, 1992 - 2000, she was perfect.

Then came Gorbals Mick, an inadequate and corrupt machine politician with little merit who sought to suppress, by power and bullying, the expenses scandal from reaching the press. And after Gorbals Mick the arsewipe, that sanctimonious dwarf Bercow. Two lousy Speakers, Bercow the very worst in my long memory and possibly in the life of our Parliament.
The Commons meets this afternoon to select a new Speaker. I shalln't compare the candidates - they will only be proven in the Chair. We have had two lousy Speakers in a row - let's hope that either by design or accident, the next one will be the Speaker that parliament needs (though hardly deserves).

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Only Boris can deliver Brexit

Somewhat busy at the moment with the election, but be inspired by a tidy piece by Dan Hannan in the Telegraph this morning -
Ask yourself how Britain can reasonably hope to move on from the nastiness of the past three years. The Liberal Democrats propose to annul the referendum, a policy at which even many convinced Remainers baulk. Cancelling the result wouldn’t restore the status quo ante; rather, it would institutionalise the alienation and anger that envelop our politics.

Labour, meanwhile, wants to string the argument out through another referendum – and, in doing so, to string out the uncertainty for our exasperated businesses. Jeremy Corbyn proposes, with a straight face, to secure a better deal from Brussels and then campaign against his own deal.

And the Brexit Party? Sadly, it has been becoming clear for some time that the party is less interested in the first word in its title than the second. It was always going to oppose any Brexit deal, even if that meant staying in the EU (which would, of course, keep it in business).

In order to justify itself, it has to insist that leaving the EU is “not Brexit”, that taking back control of our money, laws and trade policy count for nothing and that Boris, who was the leader of the Leave campaign, is somehow not a Leaver. Unsurprisingly, two thirds of Leave voters back Boris’s deal, with only one in 10 opposed.
Yep. Only Boris can deliver Brexit.

Friday, 1 November 2019

The laxative benefits of political churn

Paul Goodman of Conservative Home is, on the face of it, a textbook professional politician. From student political organiser to researcher, SPAD and MP, to ex-MP and political writer, with a bit of journalism on the side, the broad brushstrokes of his career are little different to the vast homogeneous mass of professional politicians with no real experience outside politics. He stood down from parliament during the expenses scandal. Not, I hasten to add, because of it. The Telegraph's only finding at the time was that
Paul Goodman claimed modest mortgage interest payments on a second home in High Wycombe. Underclaimed by £1,384 in 2006 and was reimbursed by fees office
Paul wrote one of those pieces yesterday for ConHome that strikes one immediately as 'right facts, wrong conclusions'. He notes the number of losses from the Commons, both recent arrivals and seasoned veterans, and postulates
Meanwhile, the shift from the elected representative to the professional politician model has been good news for constituents.  The days when the local MP could ignore the latter, or visit his seat only occasionally, vanished a long time ago.  That’s the effect of consumer competition for you over the years, with the emergence of the SNP, UKIP, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats. We are moving from a model in which many MPs sat from late youth until early old age to one in which more serve for one or two terms – as the Editor of this site did.
Though I can't quite reconcile this with the quote someone has included on his Wiki page - "a House in which professional politics predominates, entrenching and empowering a taxpayer-dependent political class distinct and separate from those who elect them...for better or worse, this future Commons isn't for me". It seems he can't quite decide between the old patrician class and modern career professional politicians.

There is, of course, an alternative option. Neither.

Having read and digested the tens of thousands of comments on this blog for over ten years, the one thing I am sure of is that voters despise equally both members of the patrician political establishment and the privileged elite of professional politicians. They have both been responsible, as Paul quite rightly points out, for robbing the people of their rightful political power -
If you send much of your power outwards, to the EU; sideways, to the courts; and downwards, to the devolved institutions, then don’t be surprised if voters become resistant to backing you and funding you – especially in the wake of the Iraq War, “expenses” and the financial crash.
Paul mourns the loss of middle-ranking ministerial experience from the Commons because of recent 'churn'. I think he's wrong. Why entrench the failures, betrayals, sell-outs, mendacity and inadequacy of the past forty years? Why retain experience when clearly they have not only been getting it wrong but acting contrary to the interests of the voters, largely to their own benefit?

I have often pointed out that the only one of the six demands of the Charter of 1838 remains unmet
  1. A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
  2. The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
  3. No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice.
  4. Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation.
  5. Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones.
  6. Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period.
Bribery and intimidation - today the corrupting effect of establishment power, and the brutalising consequences of social media - remain a threat. But it is a frequent clear-out of the Commons that will keep it healthy, and not the institutionalising of status, privilege and entitlement.

We are in the process of reclaiming power - the power they have given away - winning it back from the EU, from the courts and from the unelected quangos and NDPBs, from anti-democratic and unaccountable supranational rule-makers and from an elite who have captured the State. It will take time to get a Commons that reflects these aspirations, but we are making a start.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

And then none of them be missed

The cull begins - the long awaited clear-out of the Commons. Like Brexit itself, it won't be an event but a process, but we have 56 who are going even before the starting gun is fired. Only Kate Hoey, I suspect, will be missed. 

It's slightly strange, but they're mostly nobodies. MPs who hold themselves in such high regard, who imagine themselves to be so special, whose inflated sense of self-worth has led them to disobey the country for three years, are for the greatest part nonentities. Their delusion is caused by the power of parliament, by their mistaken belief that it is them, individually, rather than the institution that is important. Dissolution will bring them crashing down to earth with enhanced gravity.

The election itself will continue the clear out. I will have the record button primed for the declaration from Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford - if Yvette Cooper makes it through I'll eat my hat. Though Portillo himself has grown into a pastel-coloured gay icon since his defenestration and the extent to which, in government, he was loathed has faded with time, I doubt many in 2019 will be so fortunate.

Nigel makes the front pages of both the Telegraph and the FT (for any who are not aware, the FT is the pro-Remain, pro-authoritarian organ of the globalists, and shares writers with 'Marxism Today') and the debate you had here in yesterday's comments has moved into the columns of the MSM -


Whilst the Guardian is clearly upset by our description of the Conservatives yesterday as 'the people's party led by the people's Prime Minister delivering the people's choice' - today their front page screams 'Corbyn: The Tories don't represent the people, we do'. The election on the 12th, of course, will show who really represents the people. I doubt it will be Mr Corbyn.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

ELECTION

Thay have all, finally, agreed to a general election.

To the dismay of his MPs and the probable fury of the Noncefinder-General Mr Watson, who hid away when the vote was taken, Corbyn has caved in to the people's demands for a general election. He had little choice. With the LibDems and the SNP ready to trigger an election, it would not have been a good look for Labour to have opposed this and lost. Shortly after Labour's humiliation in parliament, Corbyn did a little-girl skippy dance down the carpeted steps of the palace for his Instagram followers, but his glum, drawn face gave the lie to his Prozac-cheerful words. Helping elect Corbyn to the Labour leadership was the best £3 I have ever spent.

So we're off. In a day or two the short campaign will start in earnest and everyone who wants all MPs to lose their jobs will have their wish; they all cease being MPs when parliament is dissolved. Many will not return. I suspect there will be many Portillo moments on election night. It is the last we will see of Grieve, Letwin, Soubry and the other wreckers, and worth it for that alone. 

Both the Labour Party and my own party I suspect will try their hardest to pretend this is a normal election, fought on the grounds of an end to austerity and a new spend bonanza for the entire public sector funded by Wonga for Labour and a war on crime with increased police and prison spending, plus a cash boost for the NHS from the Conservatives. Voters, I think, won't be fooled. This will be the Brexit election, and each of the parties' narratives on Brexit will be critical - currently they go something like

Conservatives - Pro Brexit; the people's party led by the people's Prime Minister delivering the people's choice

LibDems - Will not accept withdrawal from the EU whatever the people say or how they vote, and however illiberal and anti-democratic this appears

Brexit - Standing for a no-deal Brexit and, er, that's it really

Labour - Anti-Brexit in London and the metropolitan areas, equivocal in Wales and the North. Official policy is to campaign for a Blair Referendum, negotiate with the EU then stick their tongues out and run away and revoke Article 50. Or something. No-one actually knows.

Of course this has utterly buggered all the pollsters' models and predictions. The telly Swingometer will have to be 3D. They won't have a clue how the most important election since the war will pan out. Anything is possible.

Of course I've avoided the matter of how TBP and the Conservatives interact; we just don't know. Personally I favour an election pact, but the Prime Minister has ruled this out. If by standing against eachother, the parties split the pro-Brexit vote and Corbyn and the Libdems win, neither Farage or Boris will ever be forgiven and it will destroy both TBP and the Conservative Party. I'm waiting for CCHQ to indicate how they intend to go.

Housekeeping
===========
It's a good time to re-state comment guidelines. Your comments on the issues in the posts may be as robust as you like short of defamation or illegality but link-dumping and trying to hijack posts for election prop will earn deletion - as will crude insults and slurs directed at me.

Right. That's all. Carry on.  

Monday, 28 October 2019

Nemesis of the haute-remainers - John Gray

Today is yet another crunch day for Brexit. So many crunch days for Brexit have come and gone that I am not getting excited; either the Commons agrees an election and the EU deigns to allow an extension, or something else happens. 

It's always good to take the chance to step back and look at the bigger picture. The Telegraph is absolutely right today in drawing attention to an essay in New Statesman America by John Gray. As the unfortunately-acronymed NS is core leftie-thinking fodder, it will be uncomfortable reading for many of those Gray terms 'haute-remainers' - the Blairs, Adonises, Grieves and others. I commend it to you.

I have said all along that Brexit was not primarily about the EU but about a wider democratic correction in the UK that re-balances power away from an establishment elite* and back to the voters. This year the BBC, in a rare act of political prescience, featured Reith lectures by Lord Sumption covering the effects of State capture by this political elite on the relationship between law and democracy. Gray's focus is the way in which the Conservative Party has reacted and changed, as it has throughout its history, to ensure it comes through intact. The same cannot be said of parties embracing the haute-remainer cause.

Gray's essay is too crammed with succinct and tight analysis to usefully select any single paragraph to quote summation, so here then, as a sample of the essay rather than a precis, is just one -
The haute-Remainer mind is an example of what the 20th century’s subtlest and most original conservative philosopher called political rationalism. Michael Oakeshott (1901-90) used the term to describe totalitarian ideologies such as Leninism and National Socialism, but he was clear that any kind of political tradition could succumb to rationalist ideology – including conservatism. (His own version of conservatism – an ultra-liberal variety, in which the ideal role of the state was that of an umpire – itself did.) The core of rationalism in politics is an idea of politics itself. Rather than being a practice in which people negotiate the terms on which they co-exist with one another, politics means the imposition of an idea. The idea is self-evidently true; anyone who questions it is ignorant and stupid, or else wilfully malignant. Though they claim to embody reason in politics, haute-Remainers cling to a view of the EU in which facts are secondary or irrelevant. They fulminate on the dangers of Brexit without ever mentioning that Paris has been convulsed by riots while Barcelona has become the scene of mass demonstration, burning streets and police violence. No mere fact can be allowed to cloud the vision of a sacred institution.
Let's see what the day brings.  

* E.g, at random, from 8/4/2010, and in many scores of posts before and after ..

"The Downfall of the Political Class
The public have been way ahead of the moribund old parties on this; we've been sick of the loathsome political class for some time. This hasn't stopped either party from fielding blow-in dags who have no experience other than politics or political organising for seats in the next Parliament, but their time too will come."

Saturday, 26 October 2019

An independence ref for Scotland may be a deal worth doing for Brexit

Charles Moore in the Telegraph this morning answers many of the points raised by readers here over a general election. The polls show that Brenda has changed her mind, old tribal loyalties have been over-ridden by Brexit, a divided Labour party split by bitter infighting and an electorate that understands why Boris needs an election now (unlike Heath in the Winter of 1974, who didn't) all mean that now only an election can move Brexit forward.

Moore suggests that a deal with the SNP may be the way to get a Commons majority for a simple Bill to over-ride the FTPA (and vote down any Remainer wrecking amendments). He doesn't say what would induce them to agree to such a deal - but we can all guess that the price would be Boris agreeing (if he wins the election) to a second independence Referendum. Polls also suggest that the SNP seats could increase to 50 - at the cost of Conservative and Labour seats there - surely also an attractive inducement.

My own feeling is, why not? Scotland's status as part of the United Kingdom is a matter for the people of Scotland. Personally, I think the demand for independence is less than people think. I suspect many Scots are quite alive to Sturgeon's calamitous period of governance though they like the idea of self-government. They will be aware of the massive failings of self-government now coming to light - most being due to the SNP's eyes being bigger than their tummy, as nanny used to say. And if there is a suspicion of an independent Scotland repeating the disaster of the Darien Scheme, by say creating a crypto-currency or gambling Scottish tax revenue on the craps tables at Vegas, Scots may well decide to keep ahold of nurse for fear of finding something worse.

Wargaming the options looks like being one of those games of 3D chess. And everything depends on what the EU Council decides next week. 

Would Scotland want to hand her fishing waters over to the EU?

Friday, 25 October 2019

Rogue parliament -v- The People

They're Frit; hiding behind the walls of Westminster afraid of democracy, terrified of of the electors, scared of the ballot box. Of course they don't want an election - their rogue parliament and their bent little Speaker are the democracy-deniers, denying the people the outcome for which we've voted. Poisonous betrayers and collaborators such as Bloody Blair, Grieve and Starmer are using wealth, privilege, power and lawfare to frustrate, sabotage and undermine our democracy, to deny the people's democratic rights.

They twist, turn and wriggle like greased snakes, using every wile, every deviant artifice, every low trick to frustrate Britain's exit from the EU. The pretence at not wanting to leave without a deal is exposed - they have a deal, they even have time to debate it in parliament, but no. They don't want to honour their election promises, honour their pledges - they will twist, cheat and wriggle, swallow their solemn pledges, their manifesto promises because their simple aim is to deny democracy.

This rogue parliament has placed itself in opposition to the people of Britain. We must clear it out, flush the odious feculence from our parliament. We demand an election NOW.


VE 75th anniversary drink-up
=====================
I hope I will be able to raise a glass next May. My late father walked from Normandy to Bremen, and although it took him eleven months, from 6th June 1944 until May 1945, his tardiness was I think excusable as the entire Wehrmacht was trying to kill him at the time. 

Thursday, 24 October 2019

A step closer to robot coal mines in Yorkshire?

The scientists and energy experts amongst you can feel free to chuckle at what is probably my naivety, but I keep returning to a notion that surfaces in my mind from time to time. Again this morning, a  greenie on the Today programme has been explaining how we can phase out domestic gas boilers and cookers. Well, we could look at conversion to eco-friendly gas fuels such as Hydrogen, she said.

Add to this the wall that electric vehicle roll-out will hit when there is simply not enough electricity being generated to replace petrol and diesel fuels; I have long suspected that Hydrogen fuelled vehicles are the VHS of sustainable transport, and battery cars are the Betamax technology.

But where do we get all that Hydrogen from?

Well, it's what we always used to burn in our homes before North Sea gas came along. Older readers will recall the mass-conversion of domestic cookers to methane when that fuel came on line - surely it's also possible to convert them back, if we reverted to a mix of Hydrogen, Methane and CO in our gas networks?

Coal gas, or Town gas as it was called, as almost every town in the country had its own gas plant, is obtained by heating coal in the absence of air. And we've got billions and billions of tons of coal under our feet. And now of course the dirty and dangerous work of getting it out of the ground, even from under water, can be done by robotic mining machines, piloted by technicians sitting at their terminals on the surface.

It may still be a pipe dream, but I feel that we are creeping closer and closer.

Robot miners are already in use ... in China

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Lords escape exposure - for now

It seems to have escaped the notice of the mainstream media that even if the government's WA Bill made its way through its Commons stages in the three days allotted, it was doomed to destruction in the Lords. I suspect that the government knew this all along - and was giving the saboteurs and collaborators in the upper house the opportunity of condemning themselves in the eyes of the people to the same extent as have their establishment cronies in the lower house.

Radical Lords reform has now become truly a popular cause. We all want rid of the hundreds of failed politicians, their mouths stuffed with taxpayers' gold, failed Eurocrats, deep state perverts, anti-democrats, democracy deniers, bloated quangocrats and corrupt political funders who have bought their ermine, who share the red benches with effete placemen incapable of winning a seat in parliament and those who traded their honour and dignity for the dross of a devalued title. The entire upper house with a few honourable exceptions has been captured by the privileged elite, the political establishment, Europhiles and supranationalists, globalist dags and liggers. As it is currently constituted, it would never have passed the WA unmutilated in a million years.

Our democracy is ill-served by such a venal, defiled assembly of crooks, thieves, liars, peculators, barrators, hypocrites, seducers and deceivers, the filth of the eighth malebolge. They must go. Paradoxically the hereditary peers, before their chamber was polluted with the carrion of the political gutters, did a fine job of revising and amending legislation; these real peers, free in life from the need to lie, cheat, steal and defraud to achieve wealth and place, were as a caucus as dedicated and knowledgeable a body of pubic servants as one could have desired.

Well, we have lost the chance it seems to have this foul and putrid nest exposed to the sunlight of public scrutiny as part of the Brexit denouement. There will be another occasion.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Saboteurs and their bent little Speaker intend to destroy democracy

Yesterday in the Commons we saw yet another unedifying and shameful exhibition of the chaos created by the bent, biased and bullying parody of a Speaker who infests the Chair and the dags, fools, malcontents, anti-democrats and illiberals who pollute our democracy. My contempt for them is unbounded. They are lower than the soles of my shoes. They share not one single redeeming quality, not one ounce or scruple of responsibility. They have betrayed the voters to whom they lied, betrayed the democracy that gave them their privileged places and betrayed the nation that suckled them.

This has gone far beyond conventional political rivalry between two factions both of which share a fundamental allegiance to a system and parliament. The Remain faction, led by their bent little Speaker, have abandoned the responsibility of democracy.

They are anathema and should be cursed and denounced throughout the land.


Monday, 21 October 2019

The enemy within - the democracy-deniers

I have posted here previously on my concerns over a potential lack of confidence in democracy amongst the young. Several polls have suggested consistently that there is a gulf between the younger and older in our nation in the degree to which the fundamentals of democracy are valued. I hold that universal suffrage, the secret ballot and the right to associate and form political parties are together one of the most profound achievements of human civilisation; some folk don't share this faith in fair decision making in our society.

The benign rule of technocratic experts is a model of anti-democracy much beloved of supranational organisations. Why bother with popular opinion, campaigning for elections, allowing actual people to vote as they like? Surely like-minded well qualified experts can rule their subjects to ensure the best possible outcomes for the maximum number? It is not extraordinary that those who who belong to or support such organisations should believe this, but I am genuinely mystified as to why this form of anti-democratic serfdom would appeal to any subject person with more than one brain cell. Yet apparently it does - and the young, who should in a healthy society be the most intolerant of all of authority, would seem to be amongst them.

I am old enough to remember Franco ruling a Spain that had been politically and culturally shut off from democratic Europe since 1939. When tourism could be resisted no longer, from the early 1970s, the social impact was akin to dropping a lump of Sodium in water. The harsh, backward rule of a Catholic church complicit in fascism (unelected technocratic experts who thought they knew best what was good for people), a population fearful of the secret police and the night-time hammering at the door, could not withstand the bikini and the transistor radio. Democracy is contagious.

And in my heavy-smoking days when Spain sold cheap fags, the £60 cost of a day-return trip to Barcelona with easyjet was exactly equivalent to the saving of UK duty on just one single carton of cigarettes. The aircraft left Gatwick at about 7am and Barcelona at about 4pm, allowing for a leisurely lunch in the Ramblas and to be home in time for Eastenders. There were always little tents and roped off areas in the large expanse of flat, scrubby wasteland between the city and the airport; only later did I find that they were exhuming the remains of the victims of Franco's death squads, clearing the ground for development. That made me value democracy even more.

I am fearful of the anti-democrats within our nation; the propaganda lies of broadcasters, the intolerance of the snowflake generation, the violence of the Soy Boys, the coarse, bullying ignorance of those who would sell their democratic inheritance for a Eurorail pass. The anti-democrats, the democracy-deniers, are truly the enemy within, and we must defend from their assaults with our every breath our democratic rights and freedoms.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

People -v- Parliament III

Yesterday our rogue parliament had one chance to redeem itself. Whether or not you agree with Boris' deal, it was the very best that was available and leaving the EU without some sort of agreement is a damning failure of statecraft for a mature democracy. Up until now, the public perception of blame for the Brexit fiasco could be split between an intransigent Brussels and a petulant parliament. Yesterday that all changed. Now it is solely our own anti-democratic MPs who will go down in history as narcissistic zealots of the worst sort, jejune attention seekers bloated with hubris and self-righteousness, inflated with pompous self-worth and messianic delusions.

Yesterday they had one chance to redeem themselves. Had they swallowed the government motion even at this late stage, they could have won back a large part of the utter contempt in which they are held by the people of this country. The nation's relief at closure, at moving forward, would have acted to lift substantially the opprobrium covering parliament like a steaming blanket of ordure.

Instead they have condemned themselves to nemesis at the hands of the electorate, an electorate revolted and disgusted by their abuse of democracy, their abuse of the ordinary people of this nation. Letwin has no future anywhere. Business, industry, finance and the penumbral shadows of the grey men of the deep state were all behind this deal; everyone in this country with any power and influence backed this resolution. Letwin is now friendless, unless one counts the few mentally-ill ranters and painted idiots clustered on College Green. They are hardly in a position to compensate for the directorships and sinecures he will now have lost now after his constituency voters have also scorned and rejected him.

By their actions yesterday, parliament and its little bent Speaker have shown that they are not worthy even of the pretence of polite regard. The contempt shown to them by the government and Conservative benches yesterday should be repeated until they are gone. The time for the polite pretence of listening to their deluded bombast is past. Let their inanities echo around an empty chamber for another week or so, with their gurning fool Bercow squirming in the Chair. We can't be bothered with them any longer. They are nothing.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Will they or won't they?

It's now up to MPs. Either they swallow the Boris deal and we leave at the end of the month, or they vote it down and we're in unknown territory again. Personally I reckon Boris has played a blinder. Juncker would not have made clear his support for no further extension if he had not been reasonably certain that at least one of the 27 was so much on his wavelength as to veto the necessary unanimous decision of the council that would be necessary.

I won't rehash all the acres of newsprint on this. It's not a good treaty and it's not a treaty that will last for long, I suspect - but it gets us out and it starts the process. As a contributor keeps reminding me, after forty years Brexit is not an event but a process and if it takes ten years to unwind completely then so be it. But we must start somewhere and here is the best we can get.

I can offer only the same message as the Express this morning.


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Catalonia, Kurdistan .. we either believe in self-determination or we don't

As our own struggle to free ourselves from the adhesive embrace of the anti-democratic nascent empire of the EU reaches its climax, I think we must spare a few thoughts from those elsewhere equally determined to assert their freedom and identity.

The right to self determination was first penned in modern times by Churchill and Roosevelt in August 1941, long before America entered the war and when Britain faced its darkest hours. The Atlantic Charter is a document of enormous hope and of confidence in the triumph of good and right over the dark and evil authoritarianism that had enveloped Europe;
..Third, they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them;
After the victorious alliance founded a permanent United Nations organisation, Article 1 of the New UN Charter signed in 1945 stated
To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
Of course what constitutes a 'people' is open to debate, but I believe that most of us will be able to recognise a genuine claim to a distinct identity and one that is contrived. Thus we can agree that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are distinct from England, but perhaps not that Wessex is so distinguished. The Kurds have a strong claim to self-determination, their people spread across largely artificial borders drawn after the Great War so that they are divided between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Catalans in the east of the neck of the Iberian peninsula have a claim at least equal to the basques in the west.

Self determination is an anathema to the global supremicists, who would abolish all national borders, all distinct national identities, to achieve a homogeneous mass of subjects of global government, global corporatism and global law and administration at the hands of a priestly caste of unelected experts. They dismiss self determination as 'nationalism' just as they dismiss democracy as 'populism'.

Well, I'm on the side of self determination. As a democrat and a localist you would expect no less of me. And the EU? They will side with those suppressing freedom, those imposing the authoritarian rule of conquest on their subject peoples. You would expect no more from them. If the Catalans imagine they will find support in Brussels, they are cruelly deceived.  

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Are we there yet? II

Yes, it's a question we've asked before. This time, no one seems to know. Everyone on our side is terrified that Boris will have given away too much, whilst the Remainers are praying that Boris won't concede enough to allow the EU to change May's Surrender Treaty, thus giving them scope for a second cancelling Referendum (which they will lose if it allows a single Leave option).

No one can get angry until the deal is published. We don't know what the deal proposes. Journalists know no more than I do - they stood outside the Berlaymont last night counting the lit windows and reporting the times at which the lights went out (most by 2.30, it seems).

So our barrels are charged with powder and shot, slow match is burning, and we are waiting. Ready to douse the match and fetch the shot-screw or otherwise.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

The BBC's hubris will lead to nemesis

Channel Four news has broadcast footage of their reporters being scoffed at and refused interviews by both Boris and Arron Banks - the Arron footage is classic. They imagined that the public would be outraged that politicians had dared to defy the power of the news, but instead most folk just shrugged. Everyone knows that C4 News is deeply biased against both the Conservatives and Brexit - what do they expect?

When Boris went straight to Facebook to take public questions the BBC's Nick Robinson accused him of using methods common to dictators "down the ages". Up to a point, Nick - only those from the 20th century onwards, surely. Unless Tiberius had technology available to him we know nothing about. Robinson's jejune petulance and public silliness was because Boris had shown that ministers don't need the BBC.

The only reason a government minister gives a TV or radio interview is if their government / party gets more out of it than it costs them. There is no public right for angry Remainer journalists to harangue, insult, bully and demean their Brexit opponents in public just because they have control of the airwaves. There is certainly no obligation on anyone in public life to subject themselves to it.

The BBC's naked bias over Brexit has cost it the right to be a national broadcaster funded by the licence fee. The Charter must not be renewed in 2027 - and the sooner the lumbering behemoth adapts for life after the TV tax, the less the grief for all. 

Monday, 14 October 2019

Brexit to the sound of trumpets

Well, HM has just broadcast our Party's draft election manifesto to the nation - and it didn't cost a farthing of our permitted election spend. I lost count at 24 Bills - it may be 26 - and every single one a feel-good, popular measure that reaches across traditional party allegiances and touches the parts of voters that other parties cannot reach. Labour, the Illiberal Anti-Democrats and the Scot Gnats will be furious - and I'll be listening to the debate in a couple of hours to laugh at the dribbling meltdown on the opposition benches.

That's the price of not enabling a general election - every single day they delay allows the government to use the entire machinery of Whitehall and the State to build voter support.  Their spittle-flecked fury this afternoon will go down like a lead balloon with the electorate - they will just be reinforcing Boris' narrative that the Remainers are unhinged, bigoted saboteurs with little self control and no potential whatsoever to fulfil the duties of HM's Loyal Opposition, let alone be seen as a government in waiting. 

Carry on, Corbyn. You're doing a fine job.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Internet shopping post-Brexit

I am an inveterate internet shopper. This is generally because I am an ingrained price-chaser and source stuff from across the world - including knock-off Poulsen luminaires from China, still a third of the cost of the originals even with shipping and customs duties and VAT added. So I am used to the process, which is simple and efficient here. The Post drops you a card with a URL and reference, one logs-on to the website, enters a few details, scans a couple of documents and makes a SOFORT transfer and then the goods are delivered. Not a problem a few times a year - but what about those regular weekly / monthly purchases from UK suppliers or UK eBay?

Well, those regular suppliers, you won't be surprised to know, are already ready for Brexit. Everything bought via the internet from outside the EU needs a customs sticker as the delivery of a couple of memory sticks from 7-day shop yesterday shows -


After Brexit the value will be the critical factor. No VAT is payable on imports under €22, and no customs tariff on imports below €150. UK suppliers who are VAT registered will in future make sales to EU customers free of UK VAT. Thus purchases under €22 will (I expect) be 20% cheaper - like my memory sticks.

One of my other regular monthly buys is from Screwfix (the Kingfisher group's success story).  Screws, fixings, blades and discs, sealants, adhesives mostly - much cheaper than local. They offer free delivery to Europe on orders over £50 and looking at my order values over the past year -

They're all well under the €150 customs duty limit - the UK cost will (I expect) be 20% lower, local VAT will be payable at 20% so the net result is zilch.

There will always be a few exceptions that will no longer be economic. Pallet deliveries, mostly. I've become used to booking my own pallet deliveries online, for as little as £160 a pallet. Stone floor tiles from Italy, a nation whose border is fifteen minutes drive away, cost no less than £65/m2 plus delivery (a minimum of €200 per pallet load) from any of the EU27 but can be bought from the UK for £27/m2 plus delivery. Yes, the exact same tiles from the same quarries. I need another 14m2 for an unfinished bathroom so will have to figure this out after Brexit. 

But so far, the personal impact of Brexit looks to be .... nil. Bring it on.

Friday, 11 October 2019

The EU army's theatre of operations ...

It's a slow day so let's have a bit of fun. Let's presume there is a future shake-out of military alliances, with the EU choosing to go its own way, after having admitted Ukraine. Let's presume also that the neutral countries stay neutral, and that the UK, Norway and Iceland remain in NATO. Turkey? Well, not in NATO, clearly. And unlikely to have been admitted to EU membership. Which would lead Turkey to look to Russia for an alliance.

Now the military types amongst you will appreciate the position better than I, but if I were the EU, I think I'd want very much to have Turkey on my side rather than Russia's. With a population of 82m, 12m of which are men of prime military age and not soft and woke like EU youth, what's the bet that the EU will go-a-courting again? If they have to defend three fronts, will that cost them more or less than the 2% they're supposed to spend on NATO?

NATO blue, Russia red

NATO blue, EU green, Russia red

Turkey is a Rogue State and must be treated as such

Long time readers will no doubt recall I have been consistent for many years in promoting the dangers of our alliances with both KSA and Turkey, the two greatest fomenters of conflict, terrorism and instability in Europe. I have been consistent in advocating the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. Back in July I even congratulated the Telegraph's Con Coughlin for unusually lunching with the right MOD briefer and writing -
When Turkey joined Nato back in 1952, the idea was that it would help to protect Nato’s eastern flank from Moscow’s aggression. Now that is clearly no longer the case, and European leaders should join their American counterparts in facing up to the fact that Turkey under Mr Erdogan is a lost cause. The days when Turkey had a genuine interest in cementing its ties with the West by joining the European Union are long gone. Instead, we have a country that openly associates with those who wish to do us harm.

Consequently, now that Mr Erdogan has demonstrated that he feels more at home in Moscow than he does in Brussels, we should acknowledge where Turkey’s true interests lie, and terminate its NATO membership.
As far back as 2015 I was of the opinion that only internal action by the Turkish people to remove Erdogan could turn things around but was later forced to admit the failure of that course -
Well, the coup was tried - and failed. Tens of thousands of civil servants have been dismissed, hundreds of the most senior military officers imprisoned, and at least a score of them judicially murdered in custody ('fell out of a window' 'had a heart attack' etc). Erdogan appreciated his isolation and moved to make an ally of Russia, with $20bn of arms purchases. It is pertinent that at least some of that money comes from the EU, the billion-Euro bribes for not sending migrants across the Greek border.
Turkey's invasion of northern Syria can hardly come as a surprise to anyone. That a NATO member can undertake such unlawful aggression without the sanction of immediate expulsion is a disgrace. That Turkey can threaten Europe with a tsunami of 3.6m migrants if anyone objects to its unlawful invasion is proof if proof were needed that Turkey is now a rogue state.

Unshaven 
On the subject of baddies, a word of advice to shirt-and-tie characters who are desperate to cultivate a cool image with designer stubble. Like a teenager with a face full of bumfluff trying to grow a moustache, make sure you have enough facial hair before you try - or you just look dirty and unshaven. EU commissioner Johannes Hahn and XR's Rupert Reid please note. 

EU functionary Johannes Hahn and XR man with a suit Rupert Reid

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Histrionics and small cows

Yesterday I felt a yearning as never before for a world free from reports that the EU 'insists' that the UK does this or that, that the EU 'refuses' consent for Britain to do something, that the EU finds 'unacceptable' a British position. The relief of being free of such impertinences will be like being free of a bully that blights our lives. The closer we get to Brexit, the more nakedly dogmatic and peremptory the commands from the Brussels Kanzlei are becoming, and the less heed we pay to them. It's like watching a clueless leash-holder shouting ineffectually at a dog who doesn't give a fig and revels in disobedience with a huge grin; 'heel! heel!' 'stop! stop!' shouts the fool as the dog drags him to explore an interesting smell.

The recent histrionics from both Guy Verhofstadt and Donald Tusk, surely two of the world's politicians least in control of themselves, only underlined the utter, bodging amateurishness of the whole EU. It's really no use the standing at the edge of the park holding the lead and shouting 'Come back! I order you!' as a joyful dog bounds off into the distance.

Guy Verhofstadt in particular confirms his folie de grandeur every time he gets on his hind legs with his pronouncements about 'Europe'

Some weeks ago I wrote to Der Spiegel's London correspondent about a reasonable and well considered piece he had written under the utterly false strapline 'Boris hates Europe'; he's a reasonable chap and responded "What can I say? You are right, there is a huge difference between Europe and the EU – and I hope and believe that my article makes that distinction. The cover catchline is a total different matter though. It’s not in my responsibility, and often even we writers only see it at the very last moment .." He promised to pass on the point to the magazine's subs and it seems to have had some effect - I haven't read the same error since. Someone needs similarly to point out to Guy with great patience the difference between a continent of 730m people that includes nations such as Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom and a little empire of 460m people within it. Perhaps only Father Ted would have been up to the task ...

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

A black swan moment for Brexit

Well, twenty-four hours really is a long time in politics. The surprise is not that the EU has demanded Northern Ireland as the price for Brexit but that the gloves are now off and that Number Ten has made it public. I suspect strongly that Mrs Merkel said exactly the same thing to Mrs May, which explains much of the draft Selmayr-Robbins treaty (Selmayr himself said explicitly that losing the six counties was the price Britain would have to pay for leaving). Mrs May did not of course tell us that this was the EU's position - and I wonder whether she mentioned it to the Queen during her regular weekly briefings.

That Downing Street made the demand public - a demand that could not be denied by the Bundeskanzlerei, as the conversation was undoubtedly recorded - marks the real political change. Mrs May aimed for an agreement that the EU would find acceptable; Boris is looking for an outcome that the citizens of the UK find acceptable. That is an enormous difference in approach. 

I've no doubt that some fatuous idiot will pop up and opine that as NI voted 'remain' this is reason enough for the EU to insist on sovereignty over the province. Asinine. Demography in Northern Ireland may mean that at some time, maybe in five years, maybe in twenty-five, that there will be a majority in the Province to join with the republic of Ireland. This is wholly a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, wholly a matter for a referendum for only that purpose. That decision has not yet been made. 

Well, I cannot take pleasure in being correct when I doubted that the Prime Minister's deal would get the three green ticks it needed, but yesterday's events have brought us to a point that is hardly unexpected - a clean Brexit. It also leaves remainers in the position of advocating the loss of Northern Ireland as the price they would pay for a deal with the EU. Not a position, I suspect, that will be popular with voters. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

People -v- Parliament: Round 3

With parliament prorogued today for the rest of the week, at least remain MPs will be unable for a few days to keep digging the hole they're in. Parliament is today held in greater contempt than at any point in my life. The one clear finding of today's Comres poll for the Telegraph is that the nation overwhelmingly blames parliament for the Brexit mess - Boris gets away relatively unscathed;

The public have quite accurately identified their enemies - and any election in the next month or two will irrevocably be coloured by the contest between people and parliament. I can tell you in advance that parliament will lose.

The privileged elite, having captured all the institutions of the State, naively assumed that they could do away with the will of the people, could dispense with democracy. MPs became deluded to the point of imagining that they were important as individuals, that their personal opinions on this matter were more important than the people to whom they had lied in 2017 to win their seats.

All they have done is to ensure that constitutional reform is now inevitable. Everything starts with the elector. Universal suffrage, the secret ballot and the right to associate and form and subscribe to political parties are fundamental to the security of every single citizen in our isles - leavers, remainers and those who don't care. If the elite try to subvert our system of representative democracy, we will constrain our representatives. If the Speaker abuses the privileges of the Chair, we will constrain the powers of the Speaker. If the Supreme Court starts to play politics, we will make its composition a political matter. Power in this nation is delivered via the ballot box, and votes are won not by threat, violence, closing the streets or silly stunts but by reason and argument, by establishing and maintaining a narrative that chimes with the lives and experiences of the electors. People -v- Parliament has lodged in the people's mind and cannot now easily be dislodged.

If you haven't yet seen it, I commend the 27 minute video in the post below. Just ordinary electors, real people, you and me, talking calmly to the camera. The elite will no doubt find it astonishing that we common folk value our democracy so highly.  

Monday, 7 October 2019

Boris fighting for a democratic Britain

The illiberals and anti-democrats have had it their way for so long that they still can't accept that the will of the people, the democratic mandate, can override their wealth, power and privilege. Beaten at the ballot box, they have resorted to the millionaire's cudgel of lawfare; ejected from the leadership and membership of the Conservative party they continue to use power, influence and media to frustrate the will of the British people. A few eminent citizens are so far in the pockets of the Brussels mafia - Blair, Major and their dags - that they directly betray the interests of their own country for their corrupt ideology, their own interest. Their collaboration with those who wish us ill befouls our nation and stains our public institutions.

Macron is an énarque, isolated and shielded from the people by a wall of bureaucracy. The thick windows of the Élysée keep the enraged cries of the people, the fumes of the tear gas and the burning streets from his Lillipution nostrils, a triple line of balaclavered black-clad armed riot police keeps the people from the gates of his palace. No wonder he believes Blair and Grieve more than he does Boris - and they are promising him that they will sabotage democracy from inside the country whilst he acts to damage the UK from without. They are urging him to hold out against a deal, to pin Britain against the ropes. And they are wrong.

We are leaving. One way or another, we are leaving. We will not allow the dismemberment of the Union, not permit the EU to remain as Britain's overlord, not tolerate subjugation as a Satrap state under the heel of the unelected Brussels cabal. M. Macron had better start to believe Boris rather than Blair and the other weasels.

This week the Prime Minister embarks on a series of meetings to tell them this face-to-face. He is bolstered by a whole series of polls that show that his party has a commanding lead, that voters are turning against the illiberals in droves, that two-thirds of voters want Brexit done, now. The sabotage-delays engendered by the establishment elite, the ruling privileged class, are about as popular as a cup of cold sick with voters.

We are Leaving.

French police, exhausted from months of street combat with the Gilets Jaunes, are invited to change sides
Addendum
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This from Spiked - calm, rational and reasonable. Just people who believe in a Fair Go. I commend. 


Saturday, 5 October 2019

The UK - Pour encourager les autres?

One sometimes starts to wonder whether the entire mess, blunder and deep divisions of the past three years have not been contrived for the benefit of the EU, as a lesson and warning to the remaining 27 of what will happen to them should they dare to challenge the rule of the EU. Such musing is not discouraged today by Der Spiegel, normally the most illiberal and anti-Brexit of organs -
The EU Must Soften Its Approach

As such, the EU should take a step back -- it's in its own interest -- to meet the British at the halfway point. The EU no longer needs to fear that Brexit will find imitators if Brussels shows itself to be too yielding. The picture Britain has painted over the past three years -- the crises in government and parliament and the threat of the United Kingdom disintegrating -- should have a sufficiently deterrent effect. After more than two years of negotiations and considerable struggle, Brexit has become inevitable. It would be good for the process to finally be completed. Separating in a positive manner is the prerequisite for a reasonable relationship in the future.
Apart from a tacit admission that May's ineffective bodgers had previously been beaten into a wholly unequal deal by Brussels, it is also a plea for Germany not to be burdened with a hostile and belligerent Britain when she has just herself fallen into the most difficult of recessions.

My own view is that we will emerge stronger, renewed and reformed from the Brexit debacle - with some much-needed constitutional cleansing once we have a decent working majority in Commons and Lords, some democratic house-cleaning and electoral repairs. One reform must be to limit lawfare - the ability of the very wealthy to undermine democracy through the courts - and to restate the limits on the power of the courts. We are not the EU, and have no wish to surrender our democratic freedom to the corrupt rule of lawyers and the very rich. 

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Democracy Deniers, puce-faced and spittle-flecked with rage

The anti-democrats in Brussels (including their dag in Dublin Castle) acted exactly as one expected yesterday. One of about fifty unelected EU 'vice presidents' had the front to appear on Iain Dale's show and condemn the plan as unworkable although it quickly became clear she hadn't seen the detailed plan and hadn't even read the seven page heads-of-terms released to the press and public. Verhofstadt had seen the precis document and waved it about on his mobile phone before ranting that the Empire would never let go of the United Kingdom. Varadkar was the comic turn, saving his petulant flouncing until mid-afternoon with a declaration that the people of the UK had changed their minds and Brexit should be cancelled (in fact polls give a solid 65% who think that whatever the rights or wrongs of Brexit, we should respect the vote and leave).

It was, in short, as dispiriting a display of jejune tantrums as one would expect from the crooked cabal in the Berlaymont. What it wasn't was any indication that any of them possess a scruple of statesmanship. They were like excited children. And so in the Commons.

Corbyn, now a very elderly man who with his equally elderly comrade McDonnell dreams of Marxist power before he dies, was provoked into a spittle-flecked fury of invective by the calm reasonableness of the Prime Minister's statement. I feared his heart was about to go at any second - an event that would provoke a high-fatality crush on the opposition front bench as half the Labour Party would lunge to take his place at the dispatch box, his twitching corpse kicked beneath the bench. He had earlier threatened the most severe measures against the score or more of Labour MPs who were favourably impressed by the Prime Minister's proposals enough to vote for them.

All in all, yesterday brought out into clear view the demented and almost incoherent anger of the democracy-deniers, the illiberals and the anti-democrats. Such people are not only enemies of Brexit but enemies of democracy - a threat to us all, leavers or remainers. If they cannot accept the most fundamental way in which democracy works, there is no place for any of them in public life.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Not yet triumph, but the tide has turned and the wind has backed

The government's double whammy yesterday of the Prime Minister's conference speech and the release of his final offer to the EU has changed the whole feel of Brexit. Overnight the front foot and the moral advantage have passed to the United Kingdom. No more are we a vacillating, wobbly amateur bunch of bricoleurs with the letters falling-off the wall behind us. Inept, confused and mistaken advisors such as Nick Timothy and his ilk have been cleared out of Downing Street and the PM for once has a professional team behind him. What a difference a year makes.

The cabal in the Berlaymont would be mad not to accept Britain's offer.

I wrote on Tuesday that I doubted Boris could get the three green ticks he needed to get a deal through. Today it looks as though two of those ticks are tentatively there. The Telegraph reports that the ERG, the Tory turncoats and about 25 Labour rebels could vote for the deal in the Commons. Whatever Farage is saying isn't being heard by the media. Germany is in recession and the Eurozone faces a series of economic bodyblows that will be exacerbated by a clean Brexit; they will grasp at the offer. That just leaves Brussels.

I've always pushed strongly for a clean Brexit, and like many have problems with some of the other baggage apart from the backstop in the draft Treaty. So why do I find myself this morning ready to shrug my shoulders and support Boris if he gets agreement for this deal? I'm not sure. But there it is.

Boris has effectively isolated the EU zealots in Brussels and Varadkar's fatuous posturing. Britain's mature, sensible offer and our reasonableness and statecraft are now on view to the world, released in those documents. The EU's every petulant instinct must be to reject the UK's offer - but do they dare?

Kit cars - now outlawed in much of the EU - will be saved for the UK