Category Archives: United Kingdom

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.

Tagged , ,

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.

Tagged , , ,

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.

 

Tagged , ,

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.

Tagged ,

Time for Fury

A second journalist, Steven Sotloff, has been beheaded by the medieval Islamists of IS.

There are many good reasons to eradicate IS and its enablers: genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, rape as a tool of war, slavery – and the murder of one more person should not tip the balance. Rather, the balance should have been tipped long ago.

Pinprick airstrikes are not doing the job. Hellfire missles are too little, too late. It is time for serious air attack. Cluster munitions will make some impression. It is time for the Saudi airforce to start flying its 300 F-15s.

It is also time for there to be a single, short phone call from the American President to his allies saying that the US is going in and, if they would like to help they would be welcome.

Now, if the empty seat who occupies that office cannot bestir himself to defend the citizens of the Republic he serves the Constitution has provisions for that. Meanwhile, it is still important for Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, France, Saudi, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and Israel to begin the process of rolling back IS.

Tagged , , ,

UKIP

There is nothing I like better than watching the smug bastards of the consensus parties having their heads handed to them.

UKIP and our Nigel have done that in the EU elections.

Now, how does this play out in English politics? Well, if there was any doubt Nick Clegg was done this pretty much puts paid to it. Cameron? Not so much. If he is bright enough to realize that UKIP is Reform to his PC’s. He can be Mulroney or he can be Kim Campbell.

For Ed the question is a bit different. Labour did ok. Won Council seats, has MEPs. The problem Ed has is that everyone know he had next to nothing to do with such success as Labour had. With UKIP potentially splitting the Conservative vote, the next election is Labour’s to win. Unless Ed is such a dud that UKIP can take seats from them.

The Reform Party crashed on the ramparts of the dullards of Ontario. UKIP is being shut out of London and the inner cities of England. For Cameron the hope is that, comehow, the metroland people will vote Tory and the immigrants will vote Labour and it will all turn out OK.

The collapse of the Liberal Democrats actually helps Cameron because Clegg has no leverage left. Cameron can and should tell Vince Cable and Ed Davey to stuff their looney ideas. Will he?

For Farage the challenge will be to keep the loonies if not out then quiet. The UK media gunned for him throughout the campaign and will be pissed that he managed nearly 30% of the vote despite their best efforts. The bien pensant, basically Annex dwellers with British accents and way more money, will attempt to paint UKIP in racist, homophobic, anti-feminist colours.

The question in the next year is whether any of that will have any traction outside the leafier reaches of London.

Farange has something Preston Manning never did: he is fun to watch. He does not take himself terrifically seriously with a fag in one hand and a pint in the other. I suspect that populist, bloke in the pub, appeal will do him well come the next British election. He is the answer to the age old voter question “who would you like to have a beer with?” Because Nigel will buy the first round and is already a couple to the good.

Boo Prince, Yeah King

I have often thought Prince Charles was a bit of a lamer…the fact he apparently refused to support Salman Rushdie in the face of the fatwa is just another reason to know he is far out of his depth.

What I was unaware of is what a stand up guy Stephen King was:

The Vanity Fair article says that, in contrast to Charles, novelist Stephen King refused to let stores in America sell his books if they refused to carry The Satanic Verses.

He called the head of one US bookstore chain and said: ‘You don’t sell The Satanic Verses, you don’t sell Stephen King.‘You can’t let intimidation stop books. It’s as basic as that. Books are life itself.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2604406/How-Charles-Martin-Amis-dinner-party-row-Salman-Rushdies-fatwa-Prince-Wales-refused-author-The-Satanic-Verses-thought-book-offensive-Muslims.html#ixzz2ytOnNVuW Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Tagged , , , ,

Crunch

The crunch and clangs you are hearing is the sound of the car wreck which passes for American foreign policy at the moment.

Russia is not keen at this stage for a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that would provide a framework to control Syria’s chemical weapons’ stocks, France’s foreign minister said after talks with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday. reuters

There was never much chance that Syria and Russia would actually act to sequester the chemical weapons. In the middle of a civil war it is not all that terrifically easy to deal with the logistics leave aside the politics.

However, faced with certain defeat in the House and a good chance of defeat in the Senate and the American people 3 or 4 to 1 against the idy, biddy, no really, really small, attack on Syria, Obama needed a way out. Putin threw a lead life buoy and the very dim Obama and the even dumber Kerry grabbed it. (The laughter echoing through the halls of the Kremlin can be heard in Damascus.)

Hitting Syria, or, more accurately blowing a raspberry in its general direction, was not the credibility piece here. Everyone knows that the US has awesome raspberry blowing capacity. The credibility was all about the President’s ability to deal with a complicated international situation. While the Court Press will hail the Russian “deal” as proof Obama can wield the power of his office for a peaceful outcome, anyone paying attention will know just how badly he and his team have done.

The audience here is not the Washington tounge bathing media nor, in fact, the American people: rather it is the Iranian, North Korean, Syrian, Russian, Israeli, Egyptian and world strategic elite. People whose job it is to assess the resolve of the American President.

I rather suspect that, no matter what the Big Zero and his spinners say tonight, the universal verdict will be:

Pwned

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Bring on Boris

Headboy David Cameron loses in the Commons.

“Dozens of Conservative MPs refused to support the Prime Minister and sided with Labour in opposing a Government motion which supported the principle of military intervention. The motion backing the use of force “if necessary” was rejected by 285 votes to 272, a majority of 13 votes.”

It is not at all obvious that a Headboy can maintain the respect of the school after his proposed program of punishment was so soundly rejected. It is one thing when the boys in the Conservative House abstain, but it is quite another when they vote against the Headboy.

A decent man would resign.

Cameron?

We’ll see.

Tagged ,

Kidding Aside

191159508-26da7445-c556-4f88-99bb-f99a632f2c35 2

The resignation of the Pope is extraordinary. Likely right, deeply perplexing for my Catholic friends.

It is, however, a rather interesting modern precedent.

Canada’s Queen, (PBUH), is getting on. In fact she is older than the Pope. However, to date, the Queen has shown no sign of abdicating in favour of Charles. It is just possible that the Pope’s retirement might open the way for our Queen to gracefully retire.

I am not saying she should; rather, the Papal precedent might allow her to consider the option.

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: