Category Archives: Politics

Political stuff

Caravan Wars

caravanPresident Trump is apparently sending some 5,000 troops to the Mexican border in order to confront the caravan of people arriving from the south. One would need considerable optimism to think that it is going to go well.

Trump talks in terms of an “invasion”. But it is not like an invasion in the ordinary sense. These caravan people are not soldiers, but economic migrants. It’s really not on to shoot them dead, even for Trump, and so for the troops, their rifles are presumably going to be useless.

Some of the caravan people, perhaps many of them, might well claim asylum. Whilst they might well be asylum seekers, it is doubtful that any but a tiny proportion will be found to be entitled to asylum, and so after the US government spends a lot of time and money on them, they will presumably be sent back across the border. And then what happens?

It is not difficult to imagine that vast Continue reading

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Bad Strategies

Brexit votesIt does very much look as though the Remainers have got their strategies badly wrong concerning Brexit.

During the referendum campaign, the Remainers focused very little on the merits of remaining part of the EU, instead choosing to denigrate Brexiteers, and to try to instil a sense of fear about leaving the EU. That might well have worked in continental Europe, but the British people tend to be resistant to that sort of pressure. And so the Remainers lost.

As we head towards the Brexit date in March 2019, the Remainers are now focused on trying to make the Brexit process as difficult as possible, continuing to denigrate the Brexiteers and effectively saying that if you voted for Brexit, you are stupid. Again, the British people tend to dislike that sort of patronising treatment.

Again, I think this is likely to backfire. The more troubled the Remainers make the process of leaving, the more likely the British people are to think, “Sod it! Let’s just leave without any sort of deal with the EU!”. This is not, of course, entirely the fault of Continue reading

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Chutzpah par Excellence

Israel protestChutzpah is a Jewish word, and was rather neatly explained by Malcolm Turnbull a while ago as equivalent to murdering your parents, and then claiming sympathy because you are an orphan. So it is not entirely a surprise that the Jews are rather good at it, and appear to have entirely outmanoeuvred Jeremy Corbyn.

This is what has happened. A couple of months ago, Israel passed its nationality law, which is widely been condemned as racist.  Translated into English, it includes the following:

1a. The Land of Israel is the historical birthplace of the Jewish nation, and in it the State of Israel was founded.

1b. The State of Israel is the nation state of the Jewish nation, in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination.

1c. The realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish nation.

6a. The State will invest in ensuring the well-being of members of the Jewish nation, and its citizens who are undergoing difficulties or imprisonment due to their Jewishness or their citizenship.

6b. The State will work in the Diaspora to ensure the continued connection between the State and the Jewish nation.

7a. The State sees Jewish settlement as a national value and will work to ensure and advance its creation and establishment.

It is worth unpacking this a little. It is apparent from section 1(a) that the expression “Jewish nation” does not mean the State of Israel, but Jews collectively. By paragraph 1(c) the word “unique” makes clear that it is Jews, and only Jews, who are entitled to self-determination in Israel. Not the Arabs. Oh no. Just the Jews. Uniquely. By section 6 (a) the State of Israel invests in the well-being of Jews; there is no equality here for citizens of Israel who are not Jewish. The endorsement of the settlements at section 7 (a) not only discriminates in favour of Jews, it is plainly contrary to international law.

I do not ordinarily agree with very much that finds its way into Continue reading

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Regicide is dangerous…

…It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please

regicide

 

My great etc uncle Colonel George Fenwick was not only a soldier, but a member of the bar, and he was invited to sit on the bench which tried Charles I and condemned him to death. There were a few misgivings about the wisdom of regicide at the time, and Uncle George was not stupid. He declined to sit.

That was indeed wise. Come the Restoration, those members of the regicide bench who were still alive were hung, drawn and quartered. If my memory serves me well, the royalists even dug up one or two members of the bench who were by then dead, and hung, drew and quartered them!

A new sort of regicide has developed recently in Australian politics. It is quite a while since a sitting prime minister has finished his term in office without being deposed by internal revolt, and the present incumbent (just) Malcolm Turnbull looks as if he is just about to go the same way. Interestingly, he has required the regicides to sign their names to a piece of paper before he walks to his political scaffold. As I write this, it seems that Continue reading

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Pride and Prejudice

What a striking contrast this past week between the pride of the RAF 100th birthday celebrations, and the miserable capitulation of Theresa May to the EU.

Will she be replaced as Tory leader, and hence Prime Minister, by someone with the bottle to override the bureaucrats and to do what the country has voted for? Perhaps, but probably not quite yet. There is an anomaly. The majority of Tory voters are pro-Brexit. The majority of Tory MPs (including Theresa May) are not. So those MPs do not – on the whole – truly represent their own party.

If the party gets angry enough, might it take a leaf out the Labour Party book, and deselect the traitors? They could. Not their habit, of course; local Conservative Associations are typically loyal to their sitting MPs. But these are strange days. Get rid of the Tory MPs would do not share the views of their local parties, and TM would be out of No 10 in a jiffy.

Things might be starting to hot up, as the UK heads towards the EU rocks? Theresa May has already gravely prejudiced any prospect of a sensible Brexit deal. The only real prospect now of a proper Brexit is Continue reading

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A traveller from an antique land

OzyPlainly, all empires collapse. The much more interesting and difficult questions are “Why?” and “When?”

As to the why, there is a fair bit be said for the explanation of Joseph Tainter, who in 1988 published The Collapse of Complex Societies. In short, he tested various popular explanations about why civilisations collapse against numerous case studies. The usual explanations of moral decay, disease, innovation et cetera do not stack up very well. Instead, it is when the ER0EI[1] – as applied to social complexity – falls off that an empire is ruined. In large measure, this social complexity manifests itself in the expansion of a class of information producers and analysts who are not involved in primary resource production. Bureaucrats, in other words.[2]

There is a thing called the Vanguard Myth. At the early stages of the development of an empire, there are benefits to be derived from increased levels of complex bureaucracy. But after a while, those benefits tail off, and then become negative. The bureaucrats, of course, do not see that; they see themselves as in the vanguard of development, and forge ahead doing more of what they have previously been doing. Eventually, a tipping point is reached. It is in this zone that the risk – which eventually becomes a certainty – arises of collapse.

What is the topicality of all of this? Well, it is to do with the “When” part of the question. Adapting an old syllogism:

  • All empires collapse,
  • The EU is an empire,[3]
  • The EU will collapse.[4]

But when? There is a detailed and interesting analysis of this by Gwythian Prins, which is to be found on the Briefings for Brexit website. Gwythian Prins is a bright chap. He taught history and politics at Cambridge for over 20 years, is Emeritus Research Professor at the LSE and since 2016 has been senior academic visiting fellow at the École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. For various detailed reasons, which he spells out, he thinks that the collapse of the EU might be coming sooner rather than later. He starts with the Tainter Continue reading

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Juncker’s letter to Putin

What a disgrace:

Junker disgrace

Let every Remoaner hang his or her head in shame.

Is he seriously suggesting that the Russian habit of state assassinations on EU soil should be any part of the new “cooperative pan-European security order”? In any event, to suggest “positive relations” after the attack on – and probably, sadly, murder of – the Shripals is odious.

The sooner the UK cuts loose from these people, the better.

And did no-one ever tell him that it is very bad form to begin every single paragraph of a letter with “I”?

Ghastly man.

Well, two Continue reading

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Guy Rope

writes this on his Twitter page on 28th February:

We need to upgrade our engagement w/ Russian civil society. This means facilitating visas for Russian citizens…It’s unacceptable that people who violate Russian & international law can bring their family & money into the safety of the EU & its .

 

Just a few days later, someone, presumably a Russian citizen, enters the UK, presumably with a visa, and poisons someone who had violated Russian law, and who had brought himself and his daughter into the safety of the EU, with a nerve agent.  And also poisoned his daughter. And a police officer.

Does Guy have any other bright ideas, Continue reading

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What is it with Puritans and Witchhunts?

salemI never been a great fan of religion, let alone missionaries. Among Christians, the Catholics are particularly unwelcome; by large, the Protestant puritans have generally caused less trouble. But bizarrely, puritans do go in for witchhunts. Famously, of course, it was Salem, but it certainly hasn’t stopped there.

Take Oxfam for example, which has recently been in the press. The offence? It turns out that some of their people have been using prostitutes in Haiti, and other disaster struck places.

Now, I am not an expert in prostitutes, by any means, but I imagine that if you have chosen that particular profession, a major natural disaster – the sort of thing that will get Oxfam turning up – is likely to be very bad for business. I’m not saying it’s a good business, or something that we should encourage. I am simply saying that if a particular young woman – or even a somewhat older woman – chooses to earn her income by offering sex for money, then she will be among the many people adversely affected by a national disaster. So, a natural disaster happens. Business dries up for this young woman. That’s bad. After a little while, the aid agencies turn up, with their cardboard boxes full of food and their white SUVs full of earnest do-gooders.

And here’s the thing. If you happen to be a prostitute, and if one of these do-gooders in a white SUV is willing and able to be a good customer, that is not bad news. On the contrary, it is Continue reading

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Corbyn Proved Right!

piers-corbynAlthough his website site does have a somewhat deranged feel to it, Piers Corbyn (brother of the more famous Jeremy) seems to have been correct in his long-range forecasts of the present cold and snowy weather in the UK and elsewhere.

Piers is not only much cleverer than his brother, but is free to say what he really thinks. And to indulge his propensity  to crow a bit about the fact that his forecasts are consistently more accurate than those of the Met Office. It is all a bit counter-intuitive. The Met Office looks all solid and dependable, but in fact is ridden with barking-mad climate change group-think nonsense. Conversely, Piers looks as mad as a March hare, but time after time events, as they have unfolded, have vindicated his forecasts. Which is, after all, the gold standard of real science. This reversal of the norm is rare, but then again, we live in strange times.

Here are a few of Piers’ observations about weather, climate and others things at his website/twitter feed Continue reading

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