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Saturday 27 June 2020

Doctor Bew and the malice of Davos

Way back in February, lost in the panic of the emerging threat from the Wuhan virus, the PM issued a written statement to Parliament setting out the terms of a comprehensive Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. Four months on, the merger of DfID into the FCO to form the FCDO from September was announced - just the first of the many changes to come. Undertaking the review, the PM announced, "a cross-Whitehall team in the Cabinet Secretariat, and a small taskforce in No10, will report to me and the National Security Council".

Snippets of news are also leaking that Mark Sedwill is deeply unhappy and may not last out the year wearing his triple crown of Cabinet Secretary, Head of the Civil Service and, since 2017, National Security Advisor. I strongly suspect it is the hubris of the last of those jobs that has been most greatly provoked.  For last year Boris brought in to the Number 10 policy unit Professor John Bew of Kings - and Bew is leading the PM's team. To get a flavour of John Bew's world view, I recommend the list of papers he has authored or co-authored, listed on his Policy Exchange home page. In particular, his paper on a post-Brexit NATO is as sound as granite. It comprehensively smashes many of the fatuous pabulums peddled by EUphiles in Whitehall and Parliament, and by supporters of PESCO and the UN -
- There is a false narrative about NATO that presents it as being less important than, or even contrary to, British involvement in the United Nations.
- Another false narrative that risks undermining NATO is the idea that it is the European Union that has kept Europe at peace for more than half a century.
- For most of NATO’s existence, with the exception of a brief period in the 1980s, there has been a broad consensus on the frontbenches of the major British political parties as to the Alliance’s vital importance to UK interests and European security.
- There is no viable successor to NATO as the guarantor of European security or the foundation stone of transatlantic unity.
In re-affirming the primacy of internationalist rather than supranational solutions to security threats, Bew will risk the malice of the Davos globalists as well as the fifth-column inside SW1.

John Bew is Professor of History and Foreign Policy in the War Studies department at King’s - an outpost of academic probity and scholarship that has so far managed to resist the contagious madness that is sweeping through academia. The same department has also given us David Betz and MLR Smith, both very much alive to the concept of State Capture, and co-authors of a paper for the Bruges Group in January 2019 -
For thinkers like Adam Smith the rule of law was intended to maintain balance and ensure the integrity and fairness of the market to prevent monopolistic behaviour. In a not dissimilar manner, the role of parliament in a mature democracy like Britain was to balance out competing interests and claims to power, which included giving a voice to the lower orders. For such a system to flourish it required parliamentarians to be somewhat representative of the people who elected them. Thus, they functioned as the will of the people in parliament, whom through dialogue and debate would mediate and resolve issues in a manner that broadly accorded with the expressed wishes of the electorate.

With the rise of the new political classes, a different political dynamic is emerging. Drawn from similar backgrounds (often middle-class, university educated, with little prior career experience outside politics itself), members of parliament increasingly sound alike, think alike and act alike. The evolution of a monochrome political establishment is producing a radical disconnect, which the Brexit denouement is throwing into stark relief. What we appear to be witnessing is the corrupt mutation of the notion of the representation of the people in parliament, into the substitution of the will of the people by the interests of the political class. We are entering the realms, no less, of state capture. What happens when sectional interests capture the political institutions of the state?
This is a question we will get to, but first it is worth reiterating that in many senses this has been a long time coming, and to emphasise, in the British case has little or nothing intrinsically to do with Brexit.
Unwinding more than forty-years of 'the long march through the institutions' would tax the most capable of governments even in normal times. That those who have marched into the heart of the State are not in this instance Gramsci's communists but a privileged and elite minority who have lost touch with an electorate that gave the Party an 80 seat majority last year makes it much harder. The burdens of the Wuhan virus makes the task almost but not quite a Sisyphean burden.

I am unequivocally ready to give everything I can to support the government's internal struggles. The so-called Culture War is a sideshow, a big frothy flatus that will burst and fade as the economic crisis descends. We cannot divert our attention from the fight that matters -  reclaiming the State.

Friday 26 June 2020

Police are not immune to Instagram culture

Back in Suffolk in the 90s I used to rough shoot with a bloke who'd bagged several empty Halls to market and sell; this was before City, pop-star and footie player money moved out into the country, and though just about every village had its Hall house, an astonishing number were empty and unwanted. Anyway, point is this gave him many hundreds of acres of rough shooting whilst he was agent. One morning after shooting the grounds of Mockbeggars Hall we stopped at the village shop for a couple of ham rolls. The cottage next door to the shop had been bought by a county copper, who had an irrational dislike of anyone parking outside his house. Not a great deal of foresight in that mind. Sure enough, while we were in the shop he was out there examining the Landy for Road Traffic Act breaches. In the (locked) back were our guns. He was pumped like a toad when we came out

"Do you know how many times I've had to face someone holding a shotgun?" he demanded

"Never" replied my mate,  a Countryside Alliance gun-rights star, with a hard light in his eye. He did actually know every single shotgun crime incident in the county for the past twenty years and was just waiting for the parking space bully to challenge him. The toad crumbled, mumbled a few words of advice about gun security and retreated into his cave.

Today of course, a selfie with the Landy in the background would be on Instagram within minutes. If there's one myth plod loves to perpetuate about the Job it's their contact with weapons. That and dead bodies. "Do you know how many bodies I've had to ...." must be the most popular opening police line in constraining human joy - and in most cases the answer will be, as it was with our plod, "None".

So when two junior officers were tasked with guarding a murder crime scene recently, neither could resist taking selfies with the dead and posting them to Whatsapp. How many more officers have done the same, and keep the pics on their phones, so if anyone challenges them with a "none" they can provide evidence that they have, in fact, seen a human dead body? Police are no more immune to the Instagram culture than any others of their age, background and education.

There is a serious question. Should we continue to allow police officers to go on duty with their mobiles? Or members of the armed forces, or the emergency services? Or should we just accept that these distasteful records are a part of modern human culture?

Thursday 25 June 2020

Wirecard - German corruption comes to bursting point

There's a magnificent lightning storm outside and thunder is roiling in the valley, I have a packed and frantic day ahead anyway and last night at about 9pm to cap it all the crew who had been working since dawn to get the hay in were standing abjectly at my front door. When wrapping the vast hay-balls in the flat field above my back meadow, one of the bales had taken off down the hill and smashed a corner off my barn roof. OK. I'll deal with that as dawn comes. But with regard to the Wirecard fraud story, I hope you'll forgive me for re-posting a 2019 post -


30th April 2019
The stench of corruption from Germany's businesses

Back in April 2018 we ran a fairly lengthy piece on German corruption. The German government had in effect encouraged widespread business corruption with law changes that made it easy to get away with - and for the past decade, it has been pervasive, deep and substantial. We quoted a report that found
A staggering 43 percent of German business executives polled by EY (formerly Ernst & Young) think bribery and corruption are fairly commonplace in Europe's economic powerhouse. That's a big jump from just 26 percent in 2015.
So who cares if most of German business is bent, the nation's judicial system ranks with Greece in terms of probity, shareholder protection is amongst the lowest in the developed world and there is little creditor protection? Who cares that courts and lawyers are beyond the reach of most victims, who must passively take the hits from German corrupt dealing?  Well, we wrote
This deep and endogenous German economic corruption will not play well in the rest of Europe. The UK, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian nations, with low levels of corruption and high scoring of commercial rectitude and probity, will be feeling fouled by contact with German corruption - and will now be adding up the commercial losses that German crookedness has cost them. The southern nations will be aggrieved that they have been bullied, coerced and hectored by a deeply crooked nation wearing a false disguise of moral superiority. And eastern nations such as Poland and Bulgaria, countries Germany has robbed of billions of Euros in corrupt complicity with Gazprom, will be looking at concrete measures to get their money back.
Yesterday Matthew Lynn broke yet another tale of German corruption in the Telegraph. The latest scandal is fraud at Wirecard - a rapidly ascending start-up that replaced the moribund Commerzbank in Germany's DAX index. The Telegraph and the FT are reluctant to be too specific; one suspects m'learned friends are hovering, and even the linked piece in the Anti-Corruption Digest is careful. Lynn writes
We have an image of Germany as a very law-abiding country, and on one level that is certainly true. The streets are safe, and no one can pay a bribe to get out of a parking fine.... yet right at the top of the country’s biggest companies it is starting to look painfully obvious there is an honesty issue.

The Germans are fond of portraying themselves as the exemplars of responsible, socially conscious capitalism. In truth, however, the hypocrisy is starting to become nauseating. There is clearly something rotten within Germany’s business culture – and even worse, no one seems to want to do anything about it.
It is the sort of casual, 'who cares?' corruption that saw Martin Selmayr's crooked appointment to EU capo shrugged off and Germany's biggest industrial names reduced to international gutter reputations no better than bootlegging prohibition gangsters.

So don't be surprised that when the downturn begins to bite, the entire German commercial edifice comes tumbling down - and the German economy proves as much of a paper tiger as did Soviet military might in 1989.

Siemens, VW, DB and all the other past disgraces and now Wirecard. But why has it taken 14 months since Matthew Lynn broke the story (carefully) in the 'graph? Germany's business culture stinks like week-old Mackerel, and the Autumn will see an overflowing of the German bent business cesspit as the Covid recession bites far deeper than the bubble-bursting I was expecting when I penned that piece. You'll need your facemasks - the stench will reach every corner of Europe.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

They must let Scotland go

No, no not the nation. The Blairite life-peer who has headed the Commonwealth secretariat for the last four years, and whose term is now coming to an end. We are about to embark into the world as a sovereign independent nation seeking trade deals, new relationships, a post-globalist and internationalist thrust, a re-orientation of perspective. What qualities would you look for in a Secretary-General?

Well they probably wouldn't be those displayed by Scotland. Hauteur. Extravagance. A dodgy contract awarded to her mate from Bradford. Some 50 breaches of procurement rules perhaps awarding contracts to other chums. An illegal Tongan maid. Scotland is a very grand lady indeed, and she seems to love the pomp and status that goes with the job, the Commonwealth less so. In response to what is seen as chaotic and potentially corrupt mismanagement of the Commonwealth secretariat, the UK suspended its £4.7m annual contribution earlier this year until acceptable financial controls are in place.

The UK is just a member amongst many, of course, but is amongst the Commonwealth's biggest players. One assumes the CW would therefore look to another of the big hitters - India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia - to provide the next Secretary General. So far, Canada, Guyana, Nigeria, New Zealand and India have already provided post-holders. So Malaysia remains a possibility, as does Australia - but counter forces are at play.

First, Patricia Scotland doesn't want to go and has mobilised one or two of her Caribbean chums to support her. Secondly, in an era of BLM, the CW will be looking for potential candidates from Africa or the Caribbean. However, the next four years will bring many changes and challenges for our Commonwealth, and we need someone other than Scotland at the helm - for the sake of the organisation's 2.4 billion citizens from 54 nations including us.

Don't discount Chinese dirty tricks for this appointment - they want to block India, Australia and independent Pacific rim states and promote their tame African politicians, their mouths stuffed with Belt-and-Road gold.

And don't discount that the government's opposition to Patricia Scotland may involve similar reasons to which we aren't privy. 

Sunday 21 June 2020

Labour's love affair with Racial Hygiene

Funny old thing, history. Too often it defies the desires of the simple-minded for it to be neat and to conform with stereotypes. We have seen this week that the Guardian, woke rag of the snowflakes and soyboys, was itself founded on the profits of slavery. Those seeking reparations should perhaps look to the Scott Trust as a local port of call. And then there is the whole troubling history of the Labour Party's racist and totalitarian past, pursuing policies of compulsory sterilisation and the state controlled breeding of the British people to prevent race-dilution and mental defectives 'mongrelising' and 'polluting' the racial hygiene of the Isles. 

It was Major Archibald Church, Labour MP for Wandsworth, who as late as 1931 tried to get a compulsory sterilisation Bill through parliament, "in advance of public opinion". Hansard reports his speech
Of course, it may be urged that mere sterilisation is not enough. It may be urged that that will not cure the problem of mental disease. We are not suggesting that it would, but we are suggesting that the knowledge which has been obtained and the statistics which have been compiled as to the ancestry of mental defectives in a number of different States and countries, show that anything from 45 to 80 per cent. of the mental defectives in those various States and countries are so because they have inherited defective germ plasm. We are suggesting that it would be advisable to take the risk and sterilise all the defectives in the hope that by a generation or so we shall reduce the mental defectives to measurable quantities.
Hyacinth Morgan, opposing the Bill, said
The House has heard a harrowing tale which is mostly moonshine. The Bill is said to be in advance of public opinion, but it is really in advance of common sense and ordinary sanity. With regard to mental defectives there is said to be an increase rising crescendo in geometrical progression to overwhelm the world in an avalanche of mental backwardness, and to lure the progressive world headlong into an abyss of degenerate civilisation.
Of course Wandsworth and the mention of 'germ plasm' link Labour's Major Church with another dreadful old racist, the eugenicist Francis Galton, who inspired the founding of the Eugenics Society, which exists today (but perhaps not for much longer) as the Galton Institute, headquartered in Wandsworth.

Last week UCL announced that it was renaming a building named after Francis Galton because of his association with eugenics.  What other eponymous buildings, streets, structures, prizes and awards could be at risk?

Well, Labour and the Fabian Society were eugenics fascists in a big way. GB Shaw, of course, who wanted to use a 'humane lethal gas' in a sort of British Auschwitz as a final solution to mental defectives, Virginia Woolf who said of the mentally ill that "They should certainly all be killed", Huxley, Aldous and Julian, the latter wanting a scheme to inseminate (artificially, somewhat priggishly) British housewives with the sperm of superior white oxbridge graduates to improve the race, Harold Laski, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Beveridge, who spoke at meetings of eugenicists, JBS Haldane, Keynes himself and local south-London Labour MP heroes such as Will Crooks, whose views did not quite chime with those we hold today about the disabled. Crooks described disabled people as “like human vermin” who “crawl about doing absolutely nothing, except polluting and corrupting everything they touch”.

Can we can now expect a bonfire of eponymous monuments and memorials to these sick puppies?

How many residents of the Will Crooks Estate in Poplar know his racist and eugenicist views?
Of course, the nasty old slavery-funded Guardian also supported the eugenicists.
I'm afraid even the Manchester Guardian was not immune. When a parliamentary report in 1934 backed voluntary sterilisation of the unfit, a Guardian editorial offered warm support, endorsing the sterilisation campaign "the eugenists soundly urge". If it's any comfort, the New Statesman was in the same camp.
Writes Jonathan Freedland in a partially honest Guardian piece from 2012 - and indeed even the New Stasi has acknowledged some partial fault.

Be careful what you wish for, Comrades.