It is hard not to notice that socialists increasingly tend to call themselves not “socialists” but “progressive” these days.
It is not new for political movements to describe themselves in terms which are less than accurate. As was pointed out many times during the Brexit debate, the British Liberal Democrats turned out to be neither liberal nor democratic, in that they did everything within their power to suppress the views of those with whom they disagreed and to overturn the largest democratic exercise in British political history.
Likewise in Germany, the Continue reading
The technicalities of 5G are something of a closed book to me. But I listened carefully to Malcolm Turnbull’s explanation as to the dangers of allowing a Chinese company to gain a foothold into Australia’s 5G ambitions, and that explanation sounded cogent to me. He provided a rational basis for Australia saying “No” to Huawei as a 5G supplier in Australia. However innocent Huawei may now be in terms of espionage, the inescapable fact is that as a Chinese company, it is wholly within the power of the Chinese intelligence forces, whose track record is very far from ideal.
The newspaper reports suggest that Huawei has obtained a lead in 5G technology by investing a few billion in 5G research. The Scandinavians seem to be second in the field. The reports also suggest that Trump has offered a technical collaboration between the USA and the UK to catch up.
If it is possible for the USA and the UK to catch up, with the investment of a few billion contributed to by both countries, that sounds like a good idea to me. Even if it means Continue reading
It will have escaped no one’s notice that the recent fires in Australia have been particularly widespread this year. Unhappily, a couple of dozen people have been killed, and although this number is much smaller than the many who have been killed by the anomalously cold weather in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan during the same period, it is a couple of dozen too many.
The fires are of course useful fuel for climate alarmists, who want to push the narrative that there is some sort of emergency whereby carbon dioxide emissions will cause us all to fry sometime soon. Thus, Greta Thunberg wrote in a tweet on 22nd December:
Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible? Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires That’s what has to change. Now.
Likewise, Tim Flanney, a man with a formidable reputation for getting things wrong, says that it is “immoral not to connect the dots” in this way.
The evidence, however, is unremittingly against this analysis. New South Wales, where the fires first took a grip, has had a hot spell, for sure, but not exceptionally so Continue reading
It is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.
Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.
Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.
Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.
My guess is that there will be Continue reading
When Brexit won the 2016 referendum, the flopsie remoaners complained that it was only because of lies. In particular, they focused on the Brexit campaign bus which gave the gross UK weekly contribution, when they thought it should have been the net figure, after deduction of what the EU spends in the UK.
Boris Johnson has just won a considerable majority in the general election. The flopsies will not like that at all. They will want to say the election was stolen by lies.
But this time, there is no very obvious bus.
My guess is that Continue reading
Most people (including many in the Labour Party) are hoping that Jeremy Corbyn never, ever gets into No 10. But elections have been unpredictable thing these days. If, heaven forbid, an unholy pact of EU Remainers gets him in, there will be a morbid fascination among us expats as to how long it will take him to lead the UK into financial ruin.
Venezuela is a sort of precedent. There, the socialists shifted one of the wealthiest countries in South America to disaster in around 7 years. In that time, of course, the destruction of the economy was pretty complete. That nightmare is, of course, not yet over for them.
Australia is another example. Its socialist Prime Minister Gough Whitlam managed to destroy the Australian economy in just 3 years. By the end of that time, having trashed public finances, he had engaged a dodgy agent from Pakistan to try to negotiate a secret bail-out by even dodgier Middle Eastern oil states and was unable to deliver supply. Happily for the Australian people, the Governor-General stepped in to Continue reading
Clearly, UK politics is presently in something of a state of stalemate. It is 2-2.
On one side, we have the majority of the British people, and the British government, who want Brexit to happen. On the other side, we have the majority of Parliament and the courts, who do not want Brexit to happen. The Remainers in the House of Commons to not want to admit that they were lying through their teeth when they made their election promises to honour the result of the Brexit referendum, and so their policy is to obstruct and delay at every turn. The judges on the Supreme Court do not want to admit that they have now entered the political arena, but they will, if they possibly can, declare illegal anything the government does that gives effect to the democratic result of the 2016 referendum.
This wouldn’t be a problem, but for the Fixed Term Parliament Act. But for that ill-considered measure, there would be a general election by now, the Remainers would have been cleared out of Parliament and then it would be 3-1 for Brexit. Easy.
In the end, there will have to be a general election. Presumably, the Remainers are hoping that if they put it off long enough, the British economy will have been trashed, and the British people will have lost hope of ever gaining their freedom.
So maybe the government should chivvy things along a bit. The advantage that Parliament has is that it can, with the assistance of a conniving speaker, pass legislation to prevent any move towards Brexit. The advantage that the government has is that it has a huge number of powers, which it can exercise with machine-gun rapidity. The trick for the government will be to ramp up the fire rate. Here are some thoughts on what the government might do in the next Continue reading
One may safety say that Sir Oliver Letwin has brought the same world-wide regard for the dignity and respect of the UK as Sir Les Patterson brought to Australia.
Which is … Continue reading
You would not need to be a political genius, or even particularly cynical, to note that the current impeachment proposals against President Trump are driven by Democrats, not Republicans, for very good reason.
The impeachment proceedings have no prospect whatsoever of removing Trump as president of the United States. Like him or loathe him, he has a majority in the Senate, and so there is really no prospect at all of the majority in the Senate, let alone a two thirds majority in the Senate voting against him, as would be necessary for any impeachment. Conversely, the impeachment process does have the effect of focusing on the narrative: Trump wants Joe Biden investigated for corruption. Unhappily, you might say, it does not much matter whether or not Joe Biden is corrupt. The constant repetition of the narrative, on the other hand, will fix into the American psyche yet more firmly the notion that Joe Biden is corrupt. And so it is hardly surprising that that narrative is very welcome to Joe Biden’s competitors for the Democratic nomination. They are whipping that bandwagon along.
There’s nothing new, of course, about political forces pulling their weight behind political moves, including support for well-meaning but naïve opponents, for political purposes. The USSR did it for decades.
An interesting question is whether Saudi Arabia, and the other major stakeholders in the oil business, are behind Extinction Rebellion. It is interesting that, until Andrew Neil’s interview of Zion Lights, the BBC had suppressed any meaningful questions about the climate change lobby’s gender, or the scientific facts behind their campaign. And yet here we have the BBC airing Andrew Neil’s somewhat gentle but nevertheless devastating interview of extension rebellions spokesperson. She was made to look like a complete idiot. Which is not wholly surprising. Since Continue reading
A price that England has long paid for its openness and tolerance is that, when the country is under threat of foreign powers seeking to take over, there have been traitors who have engaged with those foreign powers.
The latest threat is of course from the EU, which is desperately seeking to retain and then expand control over the UK’s laws, waters, animals, trading arrangements etc etc.
Bizarrely, Dominic Grieve and others do not deny that they have been engaging with the EU behind the government’s back, to assist the EU in the bringing about such vassalage. They think that is perfectly fine!
It is not clear that they have a very good grasp of history. Happily for them, hanging (with or without the drawing and the quartering) has been abolished.
|Spain, under Philip
||Anthony Babington, hanged, drawn and quartered 1586
|France, under Napoleon
||Wolfe Tone, committed suicide 1798, having been sentenced to be hanged for treason
|Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm
||Michael Collins, shot in an ambush 1922
|Germany, under Hitler
||William Joyce, hanged for treason 1946