Category Archives: United Kingdom

Oh Dear!

Brendan O’Neill has farted in The Spectator.

Ah, but these were the wrong kind of working-class people. They were the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), a fascinating grassroots movement founded earlier this year to protest against terrorism and the ideologies that fuel it. These Football Lads had their first demo on 24 June. Thousands descended on London Bridge, site of an Islamist massacre just three weeks earlier, and held a traffic-stopping demo against extremism. On Saturday they had their second gathering. An estimated 10,000 fans brought Park Lane to a standstill. Rival fans, from Spurs, West Ham, Leeds and other teams, rubbed shoulders, held wreaths in the colours of their clubs, and listened peacefully as speakers railed against hateful extremism and slammed the branding of people who criticise Islamism as ‘Islamophobic’.

It was a very rare thing in the 21st century: a march organised by working-class people and attended by working-class people. Thousands of them. Most marches these days are packed with public-sector types, plummy anti-fascists, and Guardian columnists who must maintain their rad cred by occasionally traipsing through the streets with people holding dusty trade-union banners. But the two FLA marches have been different. They have been cries from below. And they’ve been all but ignored. Sure, there has been media coverage, but it has been perfunctory. Despite being big, stirring and novel — people in football shirts gathering in their thousands to confront the ideology of terror! — the demos haven’t trended online or attracted much attention from the ‘voice for the voiceless’ brigade. They don’t want to hear those voices. The Spectator

O’Neill is a bright, youngish, sometimes Marxist who, I am afraid, channels Orwell. He notices things. He notices actual working class activity. A bunch of football fans, aka hooligans, are not a pretty sight to the more enlightened Guardian reading classes. In fact, these are the very people the modern British state is at great pains to exclude from the conversation. They say such rude things. They don’t buy into the denunciation of Islamophobia. In fact, given their head, they would likely pack up benefits queen Islamists and send them back to the shitholes they came from.

Can’t have that.

My righty friends tend to be very pessimistic about the Islamization of Europe. They write the place off as hopelessly mired in political correctness. I am more optimistic. The FLA is a good start, so are the Poles saying the Rosary on the borders.

Europe is far from over. In fact, there is a sense that it has only begun to fight.

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Endgame for the Left

When AfD won 13 percent of the vote in Germany the immediate reaction of the very,very, hard left was to attack the victory party.

Of course it was. Because the antifa people are, frankly, idiots. Idiots with fascist tendencies and a propensity for random street violence if they think some icon of the left is under attack.

Viewed on any sort of time horizon, antifa, BLM, SJWs and the rest of the Left’s storm troopers will fade into obscurity in a matter of a year or two. But the damage they will do to the “respectable” left will last for decades.

Radical minorities, splinters, if they are violent enough, will ensure that the left is tainted as violence supporting for a very long time. The more intelligent of the antifa idiots are willing to see this as a very good thing because it will drive the frail, democracy supporting, lefties out of the left.

For the moderate left antifa presents, along with vicious identity politics, the endgame for Progressivism. Empowered, deeply ahistorical, children with no impulse control will deliver election after election the centre and to the right. Which will be fine with antifa; but which will kill a hundred years of serious socialist infiltration. The normals will wake up and begin to fight back.

The most delightful part, from a right-wing perspective, is that the moderate left can’t figure out how to disown the lefty babies of antifa nor can it quite unwind the identitarian idiocy it has done so much to nurture. The wilderness looms large.

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Corbyn = Trump

jeremy-corbynDonald-Trump

As I write the British election is in the balance. What can be said pretty conclusively is that this election is not at all going as expected. Corbyn and Labour were supposed to lose. Bigly.

But they are not losing, er, right now they are winning. By 17 seats and 6% of the popular vote. Still early but this was not supposed to happen. The polling suggested a Conservative majority. The British MSM were pretty much either pro-Tory or deeply skeptical of Corbyn. But he’s winning.

Why? I suspect for many of the same reasons Trump won. Because people are fed up with business as usual. They don’t want to elect someone who will continue on in the same way. They want to shake up “the system”. In America the way to do that was to vote Trump and leave the “most qualified candidate in history” sitting in the weeds.

In the UK that same sentiment recognized that whatever else Corbyn is he is not “business as usual”. Exactly the opposite.

In the US the election of Trump horrified the political establishment and, as we saw in Comey’s testimony today, that establishment feels entitled to fight back. Comey felt entirely justified leaking his conversations with the United States President. In fact, he was willing to testify that he leaked them to forward the idea of the appointment of a special counsel to look into the nefarious Mr. Trump.

Corbyn’s people and Trump’s basket of deplorables are rather obviously different. The indications are that Corbyn had a very successful night with the young people: promising to end university tuition will do that for a man. Trump had virtually no support in colleges except for the boys who liked taunting SJWs with MAGA hats. No SJW voted for Trump except by mistake, every SJW in the UK – including many former Green supporters – lined up behind Corbyn. We’ll have to see how the rest of the tabs went but the argument that each man came from a radically, and oppositely, polarized base is likely to win out. People who like Corbyn really like him and he’s hated in the same measure. Rather like Trump.

If, by some chance, Corbyn wins we will see much the same sort of reaction from the British political establishment. Including the Parliamentary caucus of the Labour Party. He is not supposed to win and getting rid of him will become Job #1 for Westminster and Whitehall. The Blairites and the permanent secretaries will be on the job.

Like Trump, Corbyn has shown a rhinoceros hide to his detractors. He has survived the non-confidence of virtually his entire Parliamentary wing. He has the support of the militant left of the Labour Party and, so far as he seems to be concerned, that is more than enough.

[As I wrote this May closed within 15 seats and 1.5% of the popular vote…I’ll post this as a hostage to fortune because I think the same anger with the establishment which propelled Trump and Brexit is turning this election on its head.)

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Political Junkie 2fer

I’ll write a bit about Comey below but, realistically, the only major stories seem to me to be a) that Comey leaked to the NYT, b) that Loretta Lynch directly interfered in an ongoing FBI investigation for political purposes. The Russia Trump collusion story is dead and the “hope” = order view of obstruction of justice is on life support and failing fast.

Meanwhile, the exits from the UK from Order-Order.com (the comments range from hilarious to hysterical.)

Tories – 314 (-17)

Labour – 266 (+34)

SNP – 34 (-22)

Lib Dems 14 (+6)

Plaid – 3

Green – 1

UKIP – 0

If those hold May does not have a majority. A Lab/SNP/Lib Dem coalition could govern with periodic support from the tiny parties.

Early days but this was not what the polls or the betting markets were predicting.

Update: I suspect this is going to be a long night for the Brits. Having an eight hour time advantage means I can go to bed knowing who won. If any one won.

Imagine the joy of these words: Prime Minister Corbyn…Oh shit.

Meanwhile the pound is down against the dollar and euro but not by a lot, a couple of cents.

Update #2: About the only thing obvious in the UK election is that UKIP appears to be collapsing. Which makes a lot of sense with Brexit in train. It will be a while before any other trend will be detected.

Thinking about Comey I get the sense that Trump, while not out of the woods, had a good day. While Comey called him a liar a few times – mainly about opinions rather than facts – he also said that he did indeed tell Trump he was not the subject of an investigation three times.

For the anti-Trumpists the collapse of the “Russians and Trump collaborated to defeat the sainted Hilly” story is going to be sad. They will keep hope alive with the “Trump fired Comey because Comey would not back off Flynn” story alive for a while but that is pretty thin gruel for an impeachment story, especially as Trump apparently encouraged Comey to look into the activities of his “satellites”.

Politically the loonier Democrats will try to keep the story and the investigations alive; but the danger to the Democrats lies in the fact those investigations are slowly turning to the behaviour of the Obama White House. Unmasking for political purposes is an actual, serious, crime. Telling the Director of the FBI to refer to the “Clinton matter” rather than the “Clinton investigation” is not obstruction in itself, but it illustrates how far Lynch was prepared to go to protect Hilly. I suspect even the loonier wing of the Congressional Democrats will be happy to let the entire thing die when summer recess rolls around.

Update #3: Time for a G&T. The constituencies reporting are all pretty safe Labour or Tory enclaves and 22 to 10 is not unexpected given the seats reporting. The collapse of the UKIP vote puts a lot of Northern and Midlands Leave ridings into play. right now it looks like Labour has a slight edge in picking up that vote. We’ll see.

I have to bet that absent a majority May is gone in a week. But the really interesting question is whether Corbyn will be able to hold on given that the Parliamentary Labour Party thinks he’s a loonie.

Update #4: Again, it is fairly early but Labour seems to be holding a 4-5% margin in the popular vote. Over at Guido’s the comments are even nastier than usual about May’s failings. Apparently, she simply did not connect with the British electorate. Which I can believe given how Boris Johnston was trotted out in the dying days of the campaign having been under wraps for the first month and a half. Now it could all switch over in the next couple of hours; but this election was called when May had a 20-25% advantage in the polls. It is a rare politician who can turn that sort of a lead into a squeaker. And it is not as if Corbyn suddenly became any saner. Nope, if the Conservatives lose or lose their majority Mrs. May needs to be gone by the weekend.

Update #5: Votes are coming in from the South and while Labour holds a 15 seat edge its lead in the popular vote has dropped to 2%.  In other news, odds on Boris Johnston becoming leader of the Tory party which had been 60:1 this morning are now at 5:1. Still 400 seats to go and a lot of those are in the south and the rural bits of England. But now Labout is 20 seats ahead.

Update #6: 492 seats declared. Lab 218, Cons 219, popular vote tied.  This is going to take a while. What is evident though is that Labour is picking up seats and May isn’t. (Although there are Tories in Scotland for the first time in years.) Regardless of how the night turns out I can’t imagine May retaining the leadership.

Update #7: 303 for the Conservatives, 42 to 40 in the popular vote. Does not look as though May will get a majority. She says she’ll stay.

The night was very reminiscent of Brexit where it took several hours for the Leave vote to roll in. The home counties came through. But what Parliament looks like when the dust clears is complicated. Annoyingly, the Lib Dems increased their seat count, though the awful Nick Clegg managed to lose to my great delight. This may have been a “change” election in disguise.

Corbyn looks safer in his seat than May does in hers. He ran his campaign his way and picked up 28 seats. He will have a rather good argument to take back to his caucus. He increased Labour’s share of the popular vote by 9%. The Parliamentary party may not like him but I can’t see him going anywhere soon.

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Minimum Damage

In the cold aftermath of a terror attack, it is very easy to want to round up all the Muslims and….

And there is the crunch. Send them back? Not really a viable option. There are several million Muslims in the UK most of whom are entirely blameless, many of whom were born in the UK. “Sending them back” is not any sort of solution. Nor is “rounding them up”. What would you do with millions of pretty ordinary, non-terrorists?

We were chatting about this over dinner. Rather than impossible and extreme solutions, what can the Brits actually do? And, because I run a political philosophy/legal/political science seminar most nights over dinner (my sainted Susan is owed far more than I can ever repay), how can they do it with minimal destruction of civil rights?

At this point, the security services in the UK have a list of around 23,000 people who are “at risk” of terrorism and another list of 3000 people who are suspected of terrorist activity. Inclusion on either list is, I suspect, a fairly hit and miss enterprise. There are, of course, no-fly lists as well. What might a determined government do with this sort of information?

At the outer range of what could be done, every person on the longer list could be detained, questioned and sorted. It would be a massive operation and a massive invasion of the civil rights of the people on the list. 22 dead children and 7 dead Londoners might be enough to trigger the roundup. I don’t know.

What I do know is that such an intervention could accomplish a number of useful things. First off it would likely reduce the size of the list. People wrongfully on the list would, after some fairly light questioning, be removed. It would also give the authorities the opportunity to get the fingerprints, biometric data, internet usage patterns, associates and such like of people already identified as potentially dangerous.

I suspect, after an initial vetting, most of the people on “the list” would be removed from the list and sent on their way. The people who are left would be subject to further, more detailed interrogation and, again, the majority would be deemed not to pose a threat and be sent on their way.

Now for the rest. The Katie Hopkins faction wants to see internment. I don’t. I think internment of people who are legally presumed innocent is wrong and an unacceptable violation of civil rights. But we do not have to intern people to keep an eye on them.

The security services in the UK are stretched to the breaking point. It takes 20 people to keep one guy under 24-hour surveillance.

A reasonable alternative is to seek Court orders for tracking ankle bracelets for the people identified as most likely to be actual terrorists. This might require legislation but it is minimally invasive and avoids the horrors of mass internment. (It would also, in all likelihood, be a treasure trove of useful information. Who sees who when and where.)

Between ankle bracelets and a thorough search of the suspected terrorist’s computers and mobile devices, the security services could gain a picture of what the tiny minority of terrorist Muslims in the UK actually do.

Draconian? Somewhat. Though there could easily be constructed a means for the Court Orders to be challenged by way of bringing evidence of bona fides. The orders could run for a year or two and only be renewable upon application by the Crown.

It is not a perfect system but it would address the need for Britian to protect itself at a minimum cost in terms of civil rights. Compared to internment it is a measured and reasonable response. Compared to doing nothing? The body count may not be high enough for the doing nothing option to stop making sense; but that count is likely to continue going up and as it does the demands on the UK government to “do something” will become deafening.

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London

23817924-no-teddy-bear-sign-illustration And here we go again.

I keep thinking the light will go on and the great and the good will say, “Hey, we have a bit of a jihadi problem and, well, near as we can tell, most jihadis are Muslims so we may have a Muslim problem and, perhaps, we might take a look at actually doing something about that Muslim problem.” They might think about taking a break from Muslim immigration. And they might look at rounding up the 23,000 Muslims deemed to be radicalized and have a bit of a chat. And they might take a look at closing some of the mosques these radicalized people have been known to attend.

But, most of all, I keep hoping they ban teddy bears, tea lights and flowers.

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Manchester

Blowing up teenaged girls and their parents is despicable. So are the predictable vigils, flowers, little stuffed bears, politicians vowing to stand together and all the other ritual manifestations of impotence we’ll see in the next few days.

At this point, the suicide bomber’s name is known, Salman Abedi.  Yes, he was a Muslim. It appears that the bomb was fairly sophisticated and there are suggestions it was made by someone who knew what they were doing. But we’ll have to wait on the outcome of the investigation to find out if Abedi acted alone.

After this sort of attack there is a natural tendency to look at what can be done to prevent further attacks. Hardening the perimeters of public spaces and such like. The Israelis pretty much defeated the waves of suicide bombings which plagued the country a couple of decades ago by creating and enforcing very strict security in every public space in the country. Certainly, something to be looked at in England and, sadly, in Canada.

Is there an argument for more aggressive policing in Muslim majority areas? Probably. And more surveillance and more human intelligence. But I would be surprised if this had much effect. There is already a lot of surveillance and intelligence gathering in these communities and terror plots are broken up regularly.

The political classes are keen to say that “This will not break us, we will not give into hate. Islam is a religion of Peace.” They utter these banalities because they have no other solutions. Decades ago the political class decided that Muslim immigrants and refugees were exactly the same as any other sort of immigrant or refugee and that, in a matter of a generation or two, would assimilate to English or German or French society. This has not turned out to be the case. No doubt some of the blame for that rests on the native populations’ failure to really welcome Muslim immigrants. But the bulk of the problem arises from the fact that as a matter of religious and cultural practice, Muslims tend to self-ghettoize.

So long as Muslim numbers are small there is very little choice for arriving Muslim immigrants but to work hard to join the mainstream societies they have arrived in. However, once Muslim numbers increase, parallel societies grow and assimilation becomes optional.

Non-assimilation does not automatically produce terrorism. And partial assimilation, Abedi was, apparently, a Manchester United fan, does not automatically prevent terrorism. The problem is that a relatively isolated community can contain and conceal a radical fringe and that fringe can produce terrorists.

There are no easy fixes for the errors made decades ago. Yes, it would make sense to avoid making the problem worse by letting in thousands of unvetted, military aged, male Muslims as “refugees”. And it would make sense for every European nation to regain complete control over any “no go” areas in its territory. (Which may be more than a little difficult but needs to be done quickly.)

Beyond that, programs to voluntarily repatriate recent Muslim arrivals could make sense for some countries. Setting a goal and a budget to entice Muslims to leave places where they may not feel welcome is a step in the right direction. Implementing a general rule that where an immigrant or refugee breaks the law in a relatively serious way, expulsion is automatic might also be effective.

None of those measures does much damage to a rights-based, liberal, society. Whether they would do much to reduce terror remains to be seen. However, if they do not then more intrusive measures are likely to be demanded. Shutting down mosques where there are indications of radicalization, aggressive searches where weapons or explosives are suspected, repatriation of immigrants and refugees who are unemployed after a fixed period are all things which might improve security but at the cost of some of the rights of the Muslim community.

None of this is going to happen quickly. It has taken years for the West’s Muslim problem to develop and it will take years to improve the situation. Mouthing the platitudes does essentially nothing; but it will take real political courage to admit the West, in particular Western Europe, has a Muslim problem and to suggest ways of fixing it.

I am not holding my breath.

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Mad as Hell…

Boris Johnson, BrexitBoris Johnson threw his support to the “Out” campaign in England’s referendum on exiting the European Union today. In a stroke he added legitimacy to Brexit, dismissed the wet Tories under Cameron’s weak leadership and positioned himself as the next Prime Minister of England in the event of an “Out” victory.

Perhaps more importantly, Johnson underscored a revulsion with establishment, business as usual, squishy middle politics which has been occurring all over the world.

The rise and rise of Donald Trump and the collapse of the Republican Party establishment is one manifestation of this. But, more interestingly, the challenge mounted by Bernie Sanders – seemingly quixotic – has rattled the Democratic Party establishment. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats have an effective firewall in the form of super-delegates to push Hilly over the top; but the fact she is being so effectively challenged from what, in America, could be termed the radical left has been a shock. (It will be even more of a shock if Obama does the right thing for once and lets Hilly be charged with the crimes she so obviously and selfishly committed against the national security of the nation she was sworn to protect.)

On the left in England all of the candidates of the squishy center, whether Brownian or Blairite, went down to total defeat at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn and a rabble roused in its hundreds of thousands.

In each case, and there are more examples in Europe with assorted outre parties of the left and the right running up significant voting and polling numbers, what has happened is that large numbers of ordinary people are no longer content with the “offend nobody, do nothing” approaches of mainstream politicians.

What, precisely, was the trigger for this insurgent attitude varies from nation to nation and party to party but my own sense is that unfettered immigration played a huge role in focusing discontent. At least it did on the right. As well, the sense that the office holders were unwilling to stand up for much of anything created the conditions in which Corbyn, Bernie and The Donald could flourish. Finally, the bien pensant‘s endless attempts to shut down debate about immigration with accusations of racism have not been appreciated.

Watching the lines of migrants snaking through the Balkans or landing in Italy or flooding the Southern United States has not gone down well with people who are already struggling to make ends meet. For the English, the Blairite/EU project of largely open immigration has meant that schools, hospitals and benefits programmes have been overwhelmed. Housing has become hard to find. For the Americans, Obama’s abandonment of the enforcement of the southern border has raised the question of just how many people America can absorb on a yearly basis. And it has also raised the question as to whether America should be selective about who it lets in. Again, when the middle class is being hollowed out by economic forces apparently beyond the control of Washington, putting out the welcome mat to millions of migrants is not attractive.

At the same time, the office holding establishment’s dismissal of these concerns as racist or ignorant or both is a stone in the shoe of many voters on the right. While on the left, the unwillingness of the office holders to make a principled case for a more welcoming immigration strategy for fear of alienating the more traditional working class voters destroyed their legitimacy in the eyes of the activist, progressive and very vocal minority. A Saunders or a Corbyn, while they may not have much appeal for the general electorate, are rallying points for the anti-racist, anti-facist, anti-white, anti-Christian, anti-Isreal progressive core in both the Labour and Democratic parties.

At the height of the Middle Eastern refugee hysteria, a poor little boy was washed up on a Greek island. Like a reflex hammer, the sad little child caused every leftie knee in the world to jerk and jerk hard. Suddenly the left at large was demanding “action”. Even the squishy middle seemed to think that “something must be done”. Then, a few months later came first Paris and then Cologne. Oddly, in terms of reaction, I think the rapes and gropings in Cologne were more significant than the slaughter in Paris. Paris was the work of “terrorists” and only tangentially – in so far as several of the perpetrators were carried in on the tide of refugees – related to the migrant crisis.

Then, a few months later came first Paris and then Cologne. Oddly, in terms of reaction, I think the rapes and gropings in Cologne were more significant than the slaughter in Paris. Paris was the work of “terrorists” and only tangentially – in so far as several of the perpetrators were carried in on the tide of refugees – related to the migrant crisis.

Cologne was different. The rapists and the gropers were not “terrorists”; they were plain, ordinary, Muslim migrants. The Germans and, rather quickly the rest of Europe, woke up to the realization that letting millions of people from an alien – if not actively hostile – Muslim culture into your country was going to have big consequences, mostly unpleasant. They also realized that their government was pretending otherwise and, perhaps worse, attempting to censor the media and the internet to keep their citizens ignorant of the real costs – social, cultural and economic – of migration.

In England the EU referendum is very likely to turn on how best to keep the migrants on the other side of the English Channel. Cameron is pitching European co-operation in the face of a Europe-wide crisis. The Outies will say that until and unless England reasserts real control of her borders, Europe’s migrant crisis will become England’s problem. (And, of course, the leftie luvvies will yell “Racist” and will, I suspect, be ignored because overuse and misuse has rendered that term nugatory.)

In the United States the Trumpian Wall is and will be “Yuge”. It is a concept which will attract support from large numbers of non-elite Republicans and, I suspect, large numbers of working class Democrats who are sick of the endless stream of illegal immigrants clogging the social systems they depend on. Major media and the official Democratic party will continue to pretend that only racists object to unfettered immigration. A position which will alienate the white working class and, if Trump is skillful, annoy the struggling black and Hispanic populations. (Saunders, meanwhile, will have the bully pulpit at the Democratic Convention to decry the inhumanity of deportation of illegal immigrants. A position unlikely to sit well with people who live a little closer to the Mexican border than Vermont.)

Perhaps the most important thing which seems to be happening on the left and the right is that people are willing to look at radical action rather than meandering along the pointless path of the status quo. I may think Corbyn is a dangerous lunatic but I also think that he stands for something rather than nothing. Saunders has a healthy dose of the crazy old left wing uncle about him but he too stands for something no matter how impractical. The main objection to Trump is that he is a vulgarian with only a very limited understanding of the nuances of politics. Which may be true; but many voters may prefer that to the warmed over meatless gruel served up by his competition.

Boris Johnson, old Etonian, journalist, Mayor of London has cultivated an image as an endearing, deeply English, buffoon who rides his bike around London getting into scraps. He is, of course, a very sophisticated politician who can read the signals and gauge the political mood as well or better than Cameron. He is placing a huge bet that the English have had enough of rule from Brussels and that the grossly incompetent handling of the migrant crisis will push them over the edge to Brexit. If he is right Cameron will almost certainly have to resign and any member of the British Cabinet who supported the “Inners” will be disqualified to run for the leadership simply because they will be open to the charge that they cannot be counted on to properly negotiate the terms of Britain’s exit. That leaves the Leadership between Boris and Michael Gove and that, I suspect, is an easy win for Boris.

The next few years are going to be about a fundamental political realignment. The current stock of politicians are going to be kicked to the curb by populations unwilling to let their nations be overrun by people with whom they share nothing in common.

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The Lazy Left, Migrants and Jeremy Corbyn

gettyimages-487150944There are large patches of decent, well-meaning, people on the left whose eagerness to help anyone who might be “oppressed” is matched only by their zeal in denouncing people who question if such help may be doing more harm than good.

At the moment, there are around 800,000 migrants either in Europe or on their way. The luvvies on the left see each one of these migrants as a potential Anne Frank fleeing the evils of ISIS, Assad and assorted other nasties. Every one of the migrants is granted instant refugee status in the good hearts of the lefties because these kind souls are too lazy to even try to make distinctions.

Making distinctions is what intellectually engaged people do. There is an apparent difference between a family driven from their home a week ago and unable to register at a refugee camp and the young men who, the week before, were driving such families from their homes. But once the hunter and the hunted head off in the general direction of Germany, the lazy left transforms them into “refugees” and any attempt to sort sheep from goats is nothing but racist, fascist oppression.

Suggesting that the migrant flow might best be contained in the Middle East or that it would be a good idea to take on ISIS seriously and get rid of Assad are seen as failure of compassion. The idea that Europe might imitate Australia and turn the refugees back so as to discourage others from coming is entirely beyond the pale.

When I say “the left” above I used to be speaking of a particular sort of activist leftie who, in Canada, would usually be found at Rabble and at the more virulent anti-Israel events or suggesting the something be Occupied. The time these people saved by not thinking very hard was redeployed into adopting really hard line positions on issues of little concern to the average voter. For various reasons, mainly because the media are equally lazy and nutbars protesting pipelines or announcing that “No one is illegal.” are colourful easy stories to cover, this activist left is surprisingly influential. While it does not make policy, it can shout its agenda into the national conversation and can exercise a heckler’s veto over opinions it disagrees with.

It is no surprise at all that, as soon as the migrants started rolling into Europe, the lefties immediately embraced their cause as a test of Europe’s humanitarian resolve. This happened in Europe and here in Canada where there is a bidding war going on between Mulcair and Trudeau, along with assorted provincial premiers, as to who can promise the greatest compassion by demanding Canada take in ever more “refugees”. The fact neither of these leaders nor the provincial premiers have thought very clearly about the security, social or cultural implications of their bids shows how powerful the luvvie claque can be in Canada.

However, for the moment – and possibly excepting young Justin – the adults still run our politics. The far fringes of lefty thought, while over-represented in the media, are largely ignored in the day to day working of the Canadian Parliament. While a Mulcair government would have more than its fair share of left wingers, almost all of them would be capable – when it came to the point – of making the important distinctions necessary to tell the difference between a refugee, a migrant and an invader. And, perhaps as importantly, they would see a good reason to do so.

The lefties in the UK, having been defeated in the last General Election (which they had convinced themselves they were going to win), have decided to abandon adult supervision and elected Jeremy Corbyn as their next leader. Mr. Corbyn is out on the looney left of Labour. He likes Hamas and Hezbollah, has stated that he can see no proper role anywhere abroad for Britain’s armed forces, wants – of course – to tax the rich, renationalize the railways, is resolutely anti-nuke, deep Green and, needless to say, welcomes refugees in unlimited numbers. To say he is a radical left winger is understatement veering toward sarcasm. And he is terrifically earnest in each and every one of his beliefs.

Corbyn and the luvvies in general are predictably dogmatic because they have largely abandoned any pretence of critical thought. There are no complications in Corbyn land, no ISIS members floating over with the rest of the refugees. And, indeed, from a Corbynite perspective, even if ISIS was sending on battalions of terrorists, Corbyn says he will not bomb ISIS, he wants to talk instead.

There is a wonderfully childlike quality to Corbyn which I can’t help but admire. Unlike the last seriously left wing Leader of the Labour Party, Michael Foot, Corbyn is not an intellectual and has spent no time in and around government or the security services. He has managed to preserve his activist’s innocence of any knowledge of Palestinian terrorism, ISIS atrocities or other bad things in the world apparently by repeating the mantra – “It is America’s fault.”

You don’t have to think very hard once you have that essential key. And it allows you to preserve a touching naivete in the face of everything from migrants to the IRA.

The adults in the Labour Party are appalled. Front benchers are resigning, commentators are taking odds on how long Labour will be out of power, donors are heading to the exits; but it does not matter. For the activists, for the true believers, the election of Corbyn represents the pinnacle of the magical thinking which powers the dogmatic left. They can count on Corbyn to stick to his principles and their agenda no matter what the electoral consequences. There will be no trimming with Corbyn.

All of which will be deeply comforting for the activists because it will ensure that no hard choices, no difficult thinking, will be required of the newly pure Labour Party. Old fuddy duddies, the fiscally responsible, the war mongers who think, perhaps, ISIS might deserve a bit of bombing, the racists who fail to embrace every last migrant with open arms, people who think it important to have a productive as well as fair economy – they are all yesterday’s men. They lack the purity of purpose and the clarity of vision it takes to be a Corbynite and they will be tossed on the ash heap of history in a matter of months if not weeks.

Lazy thinking has triumphed in the Labour Party which, I suspect, means that the Labour Party, as we know it, is over. The adults will take their money, organization and abilities to make hard choices and play somewhere else. Which also means that the Conservative Party will be in government for at least one and perhaps two or three more elections.

 

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Round and Round the Mulberry Bush…

il_340x270.480855993_30qp (1)Pop goes the Weasel.

In olden times those down on their luck would pawn their coats or their tools on Monday and hope to redeem their pawn by Sunday when they needed to turn up in church properly attired.

Richard Fernandez, writing at PJ Media, talks about the musical chairs of the Greek Crisis:

Eventually the physical world starts to change to reflect the payments that have to be made to the players. Trade begins to contract, stores start to close and desperate individuals start to riot. In the naive days of the 20th century, when faith in angels and demons began to wane, it was fashionable to regard matter as primary. Wars were fought by burning actual buildings, killing physical people. But today we know that information has physical force. Computer programs, genetic instructions, memes — and financial data — are to all intents and purposes actual things, rather than airy nonsense.

Unfortunately we still live in a world governed by ancient 19th century Marxian ideas, where politicians regard information as infinitely corruptible, in a world where lies are not only common, but the stuff of power, the very sinews or privilege.  A financial crisis occurs when information goes so far out of whack with the physical world the music has to stop, and those without a chair must be booted off. belmont club

Greece is not a big deal. 2% of the EU economy. The entire place could sink into the Aegean and the world would be little worse off.

China is a bigger place. The factory of the world and its stock markets are in the process of collapse. A lot of companies which we have never heard of have shed 2.5 trillion dollars in market cap in the last three months. Unlike the Greeks, the Chinese have lots of hard currency with which to intervene and there is every reason to believe that the possibility of a Chinese crash will be averted. For now.

Infinitesimal interest rates and overbought markets are, at the moment, haunting the US, the UK, Europe, Japan and China. Fernadez thinks that “the players” have figured it all out and have comfy armchairs waiting when the music stops.

I am not so sure. The players have always counted on governments to step in when there is a cash crunch. When the derivatives have been drawn against busted counter-parties, when the “too big to fail” surprise us by failing. To date, that assumption has been true. It has been true because the governments have had the means – usually the printing press – to literally paper over the flaws in the system. At the moment the Greeks do not but the EU does and I suspect will. At the moment, the Chinese market is in free fall but the Chinese government has the cash to bail them out. But cash, however abstracted, is a finite resource. If you print more than your economy can sustain your cash begins to lose its value against real assets, against food, against bills of lading which must be settled on arrival.

The music is still playing and only the smallest children have been denied seats; but now the scramble is on to secure a seat for the next round.

The one thing which the world seems incapable of doing right at the moment is making more chairs.

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