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Politics

“How much there is that we prefer not to notice.”

The title is from the diaries of the Soviet poet Alexander Tvardovsky, as quoted (and translated) by Helen Szamuely. It’s from a passage describing an incident in the winter of 1955 when he saw young girls attempting to dig ditches in frozen ground.

The girls earn 10-15 roubles a day and their food is terrible. Today I joked a little as I went past: “Why not wait till spring? It will be easier to dig.” A pleasant young girl replied with sad determination: “We have to do it.”

How much there is that we prefer not to notice.

That was just how life was in the USSR. Now, this is not the Soviet Union. It’s not even close. But still, we go along with things for the sake of an easy life. We accept things we’d rather not until they become the “new normal”. There is much, even for us, that we prefer not to notice. “Asian” men abusing young girls in Rotherham, for example.

Once someone did notice, that shocked us all. But sometimes you have to step back a little, and look at what you’ve come to accept in a different light before you realise there’s something to notice in the first place.

I can’t recall exactly who it was – it may have been Helen’s “boss”, Richard North, or his associate Christopher Booker – who when writing about the European Union, asked a Norwegian politician prominent in that country’s campaign against membership exactly why it was that his countrymen voted against it, and received the answer, “It’s the lack of democracy in your system that we don’t like”. It struck whoever it was – and myself, reading it – deeply. “Your system”: we may rant about Brussels ordering around, and still, even now, persist on reporting it as “Foreign news”, but we are a part of this system. It’s ours, it’s governing us, and it’s rotten. We prefer not to notice.

I thought the same thing when I read Andrew Gilligan’s Sunday Telegraph column this week: (more…)

Lets avoid a shotgun divorce

Fog in the Channel - Continent cut off

Before I get kicked to death in the streets by the Counting Cats Eurosceptic wing (which seems to be most of us in fairness), I shall be clear and unequivocal.

I believe that Britain has a place in Europe as its political and economic stability is essential to British peace and prosperity, but that “Europe” and the “European Union” are two very different things.

I believe that the EU is a travesty and, if not brought down by its own hubris, will cause conflict in Europe in the not too distant future, probably over the secession of Germany.

For this reason, I believe the UK should leave the EU, in fact we should have baulked at its creation at Maastricht in 1992.  Although John Major was very successful at negotiating away the worst excesses of the transformation from European Community into European Union, it was in fact little more than appeasement. (more…)

Self-Fulfilling Prophesy, UKIP-style

douglas-carswell[1]

If we’d failed in the European elections I would have stood down, if we fail next year the party will pick someone better than me…

UKIP will be a force in the House of Commons next year and if we get this right we may find ourselves in a hung parliament holding the balance of power.

Nigel Farage – Yesterday

As if in recognition (although more likely politically orchestrated), former Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell MP this morning announced he was defecting to UKIP and resigning from Parliament – sparking a crunch by-election.

Now in fairness, he could have simply defected to UKIP and remained a UKIP MP (the very first) until the next scheduled elections in June 2015, but he’s chosen to do the more honourable thing and fight the seat in a by-election for UKIP.

BREAKING: Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to UKIP and resigns from Parliament sparking a crunch Essex by-election

The UKIP fox is definitely in the Westminster hen-house, I spy fun times ahead. Nothing like upsetting the Westminster apple-cart even if it is in the form of the Little England brigade.

Craven

The retailer of “naughty things” Ann Summers has apologized over a lingerie range named “Isis”

Knickers

Not to be confused with…

Twat

London (AFP) – Adult retailer Ann Summers apologized Saturday after launching a range of lingerie named Isis — but said it did not support jihadists in Iraq and Syria and had no plans to withdraw the line.

Well, that last bit is reassuring. Not, I suspect, that Ann Summers would be especially welcome in the New Caliphate anyhow. But why apologize? An Ann Summers spokeswoman stated the decision had been made months ago and Isis is an ancient Egyptian fertility goddess which seems a fairly reasonable name for female intimate attire. I mean it’s not something a lady would wear to play football in is it*?

It remains on sale which is something, though why apologize anyway? It is admitting that “ISIS” (or “IS”) have stolen part of our culture and mythology. It is bizarrely conflating something to cover your er… with a bunch of arseholes. And that is my point, really. Are ISIS vile? Are they dangerous? Yes. Are they the greatest threat facing the USA as President Obama recently stated? Are they Hell! They are just a bunch of ragged-assed renegades on the create. They ought to be treated with the disdain they deserve and not treated like Sith Lords. By regarding them as Mordor itself we are their best recruiting sergeants because it gives spurious glamour to a collection of honour-free tossers playing at jihad.

As an aside they are currently carrying out “judicial” executions, crucifixions and amputations and “encouraging” children to watch (like Alton Towers in the sand). Of course they would regard the ladies pictured above as depraved. I have a rather different standard for depravity.

On the plus side I am reliably informed that Russia has banned such frivolous under-garments on spurious grounds of causing minge-rot or something so it would seem we are annoying the right people.

Pooty Poot and the Sand People – sounds like a dreadful band from the ’50s.

*No I haven’t seen that video. Curse you internet!!!

Free apologist with every rape

Rotherham Child Abuse Scandal - Ring A

“Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.”

Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds

There is a reason that “Lady Justice” wears a blindfold, it is so that both prejudice and favour are ignored in the legal system and one of the reasons why the Anglo-Saxon legal system has established itself around the world.

Unfortunately, the same rules do not apply to the politically correct who see a “narrative” at every turn, indeed is a “Social Worker” not the very epitome of the Fabian state writ large?

The net effect of such deliberate and wilful ignorance was that a significant number of children were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and coercion because the public appointed and empowered enforcers of the law were colour-blind to their actions because they were Muslims.

Without committing acts of outrage myself, it is impossible to continue, but suffice to say that until political correctness and random acts of racism are removed from both law and public service – for what else is “Child Services” – or whatever the current politically correct euphemism?

There may well be a place for social workers, but it is within the voluntary sector of the 19th century rather than the state enabled child abductors of the 21st.

So. This Scottish thing, then.

It’s a month from now, so I suppose as the resident Jock I should say something about it. Okay, here’s the thing. I realised recently exactly why I’ll be voting “No”, and it comes down to this: Sure, the UK sometimes screws things up – Cameron is currently busy making an almighty hash of dealing with ISIS, for example, and the economic situation’s an unholy mess – but it’s my country, dammit. I’m British. My father’s family were Ulster Protestants (and you don’t get much more British than that), ultimately from Yorkshire, while my mother’s descended from border reivers who didn’t give a flying crap what country there were in at any given time. She has a cousin who moved to Yorkshire, coincidentally enough, and brought up a family there. I like cricket (as much as I like any sport), and support England, for whom Scots are eligible to play, and have. Friends I grew up with live and work in England and Wales (and therefore, incidentally, have no say in this). We don’t have much of a military history on either side of the family (both my grandfathers neatly managed to be too young for WWI and work in reserved occupations during WWII), but my great-grandfather died at Gallipoli under the Union Jack. Buggered if I’m about to vote for taking the blue bits off it.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

… as someone once said.

But moreover, leaving aside all the emotional aspects that we’re told are irrelevant by a bunch of people swanning around in painted faces and tribal dress, harking back to battles fought seven centuries ago – and this is the epiphany that struck me the other day when I realised that it’s what’s been in the back of my head all along – I have absolutely no confidence whatever, not a scrap, that a Scottish state would be the slightest bit better. Not least because, as we all know, all states are a bit crap in the end, but mainly because of Holyrood itself. Great Things were promised by the “Yes” campaign back in 1997. Almost exactly the same Great Things as are promised by the “Yes” campaign right now. Everything was going to be absolutely wonderful in the New Scotland, brought to us by an Era of Consensual Politics™. The parliament would get everything right, be all things to all men, we’d all be happier, healthier, and wealthier, neighbours would smile benignly at one another of a morning, and everyone would get off with the all the people they fancied. Or something.

And you know what? It’s no different. If anything, it’s worse: more centralization of power, more irresponsible profligacy with the taxpayers’ money, more pinch-faced governmental busybodying, and less individual liberty. Which might have happened anyway, but still. No better. Just last week Holyrood announced an attempt to scale back Westminster’s relaxation of gambling laws because “there are too many betting shops”. Who says? They do, our Betters. And if the Edinburgh Tramway isn’t the Springfield Monorail come to hideous, eye wateringly-expensive, life, I don’t know what is. (“What about us braindead slobs?” “You’ll all be given cushy jobs!” Was that the Simpsons, or the referendum debate the other week? It’s getting hard to tell.)

I didn’t buy the “Yes” hucksters’ flim-flam in ’97 and I don’t buy it now.

But why is it no different? Because they don’t want it to be. The entire raison d’etre of the seperatist movement – in which I include the paradoxically centralizing “devolution” – is to resist the perceived liberalising trend of Westminster. The writers of the words I quoted above recognised that the logical response to abuses of the power of a state is to create one less able to exert that power (and they still, arguably, failed) but the Scottish political class is absolutely fine with it as long as The Right People are in charge. It’s painfully obvious from everything they say that the advocates of a seperate Scotland want to use it to its fullest. From what little we know of their constitutional plans – we are again, as we were in 1997, being asked to sign a blank cheque – they intend a litany of “positive rights”, making classical liberalism effectively illegal.

But then, that’s nationalism for you. They always think they speak for all of us. No, worse than that, they think they – or somebody – can speak for all of us. People like that have no concept of the dangers of the state’s monopoly of force. If the state is “us”, then misuse of its power is an impossibility; how can we oppress ourselves? And this really seems to be the thinking: Westminster’s failures are due to “them”, “the English”, but if “we” had the power, all would be rosy. I can’t help recalling that old joke about the Lone Ranger: “What’s all this ‘we’ stuff, Kemosabe?” A nation is not one big happy family making consensual decisions around the kitchen table of its government. State power is at best a necessary evil that must be handled with the utmost care. Scotland’s nationalists – of all political colours, because they only differ on the matter of degree – are far too in love with it to be trusted.

It’s not just us brutal Anglo Saxons you know…

Protest outside Muenster Town Hall

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in the historic city of Münster, Germany – a university town with 50,000 students and famous as the site of the Rathaus where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648.

What was not so appealing this weekend was the protest outside the historic Rathaus by a group of supporters of the Palestinians shouting quite frankly repulsive and anti-Semitic slogans while the Police looked on with cold eyes.

The rally had been called by the “initiative of the Friends of Palestine in Münster”. Bearing banners and pamphlets to express their protest the participants were mainly women with headscarves and children.

They also chanted slogans such as “child murderer Israel” or “mass murderer Netanyahu”. In a pamphlet stated: “We do not hate the Jews, but the terrorist state of Israel.”

On the opposite side of the street, under the arches, demonstrated a significantly smaller group of people for self-defense of Israel.

Heated verbal exchanges on the principal market (in the original German, translated into English by Google Translate)

It was quite clear to all concerned that the Police were not there to ensure the demonstrators didn’t get out of hand (as occasionally happens with environmental and Neo-Nazi protests in Germany), but rather to ensure that the demonstrators themselves were protected from the public at large.

Marcus, my host for the weekend, is an educated native German with a doctorate in physics who spends his summer vacations building village schools in rural India, so not exactly a little-Deutschlander, but he was outraged to the point of anger that the “…spectre of the anti-Semitism of the Nazi era…” (his exact words) should be displayed again on the streets of Germany.

I pointed out to Marcus that if the right to free-speech means anything, it means the right to make statements which others may find offensive and that there is no general right not to be offended.

“Quite correct”, Marcus said, “but if the protesters had been ethnic German’s rather than immigrants, then they would have been dragged away by the Police at the first anti-Semitic outburst” - this was in relation to an anti-immigration protest at the Münster Rathaus some months ago, which the police had broken up for exactly that reason.

“The police are afraid to intervene because they are Muslims” was Marcus’ final word on the matter.

Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

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A “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare

Sad Obama is Sad

A federal appeals court dealt a potentially major blow to President Obama’s health care law Tuesday, ruling that participants in health exchanges run by the federal government in 34 states are not eligible for tax subsidies.

Judge Harry Edwards dissented, calling the challenge “a not-so-veiled attempt to gut the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” and warning that the panel’s ruling “portends disastrous consequences.

US court deals setback to Obamacare

Good.

While having some sympathy for those caught up in the ever widening unravelling of Obamacare, folks who just want to make sure that their families can get the coverage they need at a price they can afford, the more nails in the coffin, the better.

Every time we’ve had a court case challenging the validity of Obamacare provisions, libertarians such as myself have hoped and prayed “Let this be it, let it end here…”, but so far it never has.

Why is this important? because it is the last gap in the gobbling up of healthcare provision by the US Government. They’ve taken the usual slow-pace slice-and-dice approach as recommended by Gramsci and other Marxists and are just waiting for the payoff, because when all healthcare coverage is mandated by the state, then it matters little who the actual providers are, it is socialised medicine with all the consequences that come with socialised medicine, postcode prescription, drug panels and ultimately death panels.

Anyone who tells you it ain’t so is lying.

So where do we go from here? Well as sure as eggs is eggs, there will be a lot of lying from the Democrats that this is just a transitory ruling and given the failure of the Supreme Court to actually overturn Obamacare on previous occasions (even with  Chief Justice John Roberts nominally in charge), I am dubious they will do so now, with any decision affecting the healthcare of millions of Americans.

What I expect is another fudged decision – and the inane, stupid and crippling progression of Obamacare across America – destroying freedom, jobs and household budgets along the way…

Lord Adonis.

His first name, Andrew, means basically “manly”. This is Lord Adonis (a former Labour transport minister)…

Yeah, right. He looks like he could be hoicked with a wet tea towel.

QotD: Sowell on the Negative Wage

Dr. Sowell:

Someone who is trying to climb out of poverty by working their way up can easily reach a point where a $10,000 increase [ in pay]* can cost them $15,000 in lost benefits they no longer qualify for. That amounts to a marginal tax rate of 150 percent—far more than millionaires pay.

–Quoted by Hunter Lewis in his piece “50th Anniversary of Federal Government’s Failed War on Poverty.”

*Parenthetical not mine. –J.

A Word from Kropotkin

With hat-tip to Bryan Caplan*, of all people!

Parents and schools should be at great pains to see that the children learn this, take it to heart, learn to apply it productively. (I mean, you might know that the horses are leaving piles on the roadway, but the DIY method of taking care of the problem is not to kill all the horses.) It’s one of the main points which libertarianism, the Tea Party movement, and any other sensible political or philosophical group should stress.

In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, “There should be a law about parish roads.” If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile obedience and insults one of them, the insulted man says, “There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon the park-keepers.” If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or corn-speculator argues, “It is protective legislation which we require.” Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo explains, “We must have a law to put all that to rights.” In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice.

–Peter Kropotkin,
“Law and Authority”

*Bryan Douglas Caplan is an American economist, a professor of Economics at George Mason University, research fellow at the Mercatus Center, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and blogger for EconLog. Wikipedia

He contributes to econlog.org.

Single Acts of Lèse-majesté

The Thai Prince and Foo Foo

And totally off topic, we currently have martial law and a curfew here in Thailand, it’s very exciting. There are soldiers lolling about at road junctions, the schools are closed (yay!) and the TV is off. I just hope they don’t switch off the net as has been rumoured.

Roue le Jour

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The UK Electoral Dilemma

Prisoners dilemma

Although the result of the drubbing that UKIP has given all of the other main UK parties has yet to be revealed (as the Euro results won’t be released until the rest of the EU finishes voting on Sunday night), one thing that is clear is that although UKIP support is patchy, it is taking votes from all of the other main parties, but more importantly it is threatening to take the possibility of an outright win in May 2015 from both the Tories and Labour.

Given the unpleasant taste of coalition which Dave Cameron (and more importantly the UK populace at large) has endured for the last four years, the thought of repeating it with both a weaker Tory party AND a weaker LibDem party must be positively nauseating. I can’t imagine that Ed Miliband is much enamoured of a Lib/Lab coalition either.

This leaves the possibility of a little exploitation of game theory, best illustrated by “The Prisoner’s Dilemma“. In short neither Cameron nor Miliband wish to abandon their EU policies, but stealing UKIP’s main raison d’être in the form of a genuine in/out referendum on the EU would both undermine UKIP and allow either one of the parties to leapfrog into power.

However, if both parties do it then although UKIP is neutralised, neither party gains sufficient electoral advantage to seize outright victory in 2015. Equally, there is no benefit to half-measures as Mr. Cameron’s worthless 2017 referendum illustrates.

I’m betting that both parties will keep their existing policies on the EU for the time being, but that in a very late announcement just prior to the May 2015 General Election Labour will announce a straight in/out EU referendum.

…and before anyone starts… – No I don’t expect either party to actually honour a commitment to a straight in/out EU referendum. After the election is won it will get watered down into the usual bullshit settlement as Harold Wilson did last time.

The Pope may also have a tendency towards Catholicism…

…and we all know about ursine silvan defecatary habits…

This staggering gem from the NYT/Daily Mail. I recall when the fun and games started in the ‘stan. There was a twinkly old bar steward “massing” with a fucking hatchet on the Af/Pak border and ranting to the BBC about killing Americans. Above him were the contrails of a B-52. He was (self) impo(r)tently waving his little mashie at the bomber. And he was ponying up from Pakistan’s “restive” tribal areas. Or Hell on Fucking Earth as is better known.

Anyone who sincerely believes the Pakistani government has been our best buds through this farrago which has cost something like 3,000 NATO lives, God knows how many Afghans and you may have noticed how well we’re doing in the Paralympics of late… Well they are demented.

It comes down to this. The USA has had an alliance with Pakistan for many years. In their early wars against India, Pakistan flew largely F-86s, and the Indians got chummy with the Soviets and flew MiGs (they also had some Hawker Hunters and the Pakistanis got some Supermarine Attackers which were truly dreadful but that would detract from the narrative). The Indians still are chummy with the Russians on aerospace which is why the Su-34 has a microwave oven and a proper toilet. It was specced-up and partially designed by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) primarily for India. A great strike fighter (with a microwave!) but they should have fitted (along with the toilet) variable geometry inlets for the engines to get the speed past Mach 2. Because under successive US Admins there has been a bizarre “Game of Thrones” in the spheres of interference and Pakistan landed in the US one and India in the Soviet one for whatever reason. But genuine friends? Seriously?

We know, or ought to know, who our real friends are. The first British DFC awarded to a female pilot came from her (and her crew) flying through an unbelievable shit-storm of fire into a fort (yes a fort!) to rescue a critically wounded Dane, twice – shot down first time around. Now my people stood (with fuck-off axes) against them Scandy sorts but the Battle of Stamford Bridge* was like nigh on a thousand years ago. Since then we’ve made-up and bought Lego and are genuine mates – real allies. This is not blood – though I am Nordic/Celtic ancestry. I have long blonde-ish hair right now and look like I’m about to lead the Éored down the right flank. Good. I like it as does my wife. I am not being racist. Indeed I’m suggesting I am of immigrant blood and blood matters nothing. What matters is culture and if not it’s exact convergence but the mutual understandability. That makes for genuine friendship and not the sub “Game of Thrones” we have with Pakistan and the Afghans. I mean Dear God we liberated Afghanistan so they could impose a law legalising marital rape! When we stormed the beaches of Normandy did we expect to set-up such societies? I have been to France and Germany and they ain’t like that. I haven’t been to Japan or The Republic of Korea (though I have put enough moollah their way) but I have been to the Korean War memorial in DC. That is a memorial to 50-odd thousand soldiers who died to ensure half the peninsula didn’t get over-run by the vilest regime on the planet.

And it isn’t blood, or culture or even religion (I found Turkey very friendly). Well, maybe it is culture. The culture of not being an arsehole. I am sure many Afghans manage it but not the Khazi of Kabul. Though a man not without sin there can be a need for an Atatürk (as we had a need for a Cromwell). Sometimes you need a hard bastard to pull you out of the soup.

Or maybe not. It’s not very libertarian is it? But Turkey would be a complete shit-hole without Mustafa Kemal (insert obvious joke). Mind, the current Turkish PM seems hell-bent on a return to the fucking dark ages.

Or maybe not. The great social changes I have seen in my lifetime have been of the slowly, slowly monkey catching variety. Sometimes you need society to simply change and the biggest change I have seen is probably gay rights. There has been a phenomenal change in that since I was at secondary school.

But fundamentally you don’t choose your friends – your genuine allies – they choose you or you just get on. There is a reason every year the Norwegians ship us a ginormous Christmas Tree for Trafalgar Square. There is a reason Hamid Khazai ships us fuck all (apart from heroin on the sly) – an Eid prezzie would be nice. It isn’t blood or treasure or religion. We simply get on with Norway and we don’t with ‘stan (because they are cunts, largely). That in a sense is what this war is about. Or isn’t. It is an attempt at “nation building”, in shit-holes. I saw on the telly a couple of years back a US Army Cpt taking tea with tribal elders. He was an engineer and wanted to build a bridge employing local labour so they could go to town and get jobs but all the lads had gone off Talibaning. The US officer was very obviously pissed-off. I don’t blame him. He couldn’t say anything, alas. But there was a definite look about him that said, “Well, if that’s their attitude then fuck ‘em”. Of course he offered to build a bridge and not offer the chance to “marry” pre-pubescent girls so he was buggered from the start.

These are not allies in the sense of friends. The French might be founder members of the “Awkward Squad” but I reckon we can vaguely trust ‘em. We can certainly trust some other Europeans and the USA and some of the Commonwealth. We have friends, genuine friends and that is very different from having “alliances”.

I know people I would stand with (if it came to it) to the last gasp and I know they would stand with me but realpolitricks never works in the long term.

I know this post has rambled and I hope it is taken in the right sense. This is not a rant contra Islam and it is not a paean to Nordicology. I am just saying that if you want a genuine friendship which is the utter prerequisite for a real alliance you have to get on rather than manufacture it. And a country that harbours public enemy #1 within a brisk walk of its premier military academy for years is not a friend and should not therefore be regarded as an ally. It is both a strategic and some level a moral failure.

*Some enormous Viking held the bridge with a giant axe until a sneaky Saxon went underneath and skewered the IKEA merchant with a spear up the fundament.

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