THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain

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The poison in our civilisation's veins

Sympathy for the underdog is one of the most agreeable Anglosphere traits. I am prone to it myself; instinctively cheering on West Bromwich Albion or Stoke City against the likes of Manchester United. Fans of the Red Devils will bitterly tell you of the phenomenon known as "ABU" - Anyone But United, which is the same trait viewed from their perspective. It's logical then that we Brits should empathise with the downtrodden and – depending on our analysis of how they came to be underfoot – seek to right their perceived wrongs. 

Humans have always been too quick to analyse their problems in terms of perceived malice from "the other". For example, I grew up in t'North in a heady atmosphere of victimhood. There were plenty of logical reasons for the relative poverty of our post-industrial towns and cities. Many of them would simply never be built in modern circumstances. They are there for long-gone reasons but their communities, bound together by tribal loyalties, cling to them with ferocious sentimentality. It would amuse their ancestors who left rural poverty all over our islands during the Industrial Revolution to flock to opportunities in dark, Satanic mills. To seek betterment elsewhere, as their ancestors did and as I could not wait to do, is perceived as defecting to the enemy. Better to live on, more or less supported (as their plucky ancestors never were) by a Welfare State that subsidises such wilful victimhood.

Even after I had left, it took me years to shake off those ideas. At University my law tutors urged me to apply to the major London firms but I declined, having grown up with the ridiculous but unchallenged view that our capital city was a nest of predators living idly on the sweat of honest working folk. The flip-side ABU-equivalent is the way that London football fans sneer-chant at provincial supporters "We pay your benefits". Now that I live in "that London" I have also heard Londoners claim victim-status themselves, bemoaning the high cost of living (particularly housing) and claiming that the capital is the only city on these islands to make a positive net contribution to HM Treasury. 

Humans are tribal. If a language is really old, like Chinese or the tongues of the Native American tribes, the word for ones own people is "human" and the words for other peoples are derogatory – "foreign devil" or the like. The names we use for the Plains Indian tribes are given by their enemies because their own names would all translate to the same word. More recently, even "Wales" and "Welsh", the English names for the place I was born and the people among whom I was raised, are from the Anglo-Saxon for "foreigner". I would argue that where things have begun to go wrong in the West is that tribalism and victimhood have converged and an identity arms race encouraged by the anti-discrimination lobby has set all the "tribes" against  each other.

This, I would suggest, is what the present furore about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, the scandal about statutory rapes in Telford, the murder of an elderly Jewish lady in Paris, the emergence of the Alt-Right, Black Lives Matter and AntiFa have in common. In their game of "victimhood trumps" various would-be underdogs have both strengthened their own tribal bonds and awoken the tribalism of others.

It's dangerous to enjoy the sight of the Labour Party – home of cynical grievance-mongers for decades – hoist by its own petard over anti-Semitism. It's perilous to succumb to anger over the way that Leftist political correctness has thrown thousands of white girls in Telford or Rotherham to the wolves for fear of the juju word "Racist".  Lives are being lost (and many more lives degraded) in the United States as the uncontroversial assertions that "Black Lives Matter" and "All lives matter" are used as tribal battle cries. The Alt-Right's so-called "fascism" would evoke snorts of derision from history's real Fascists, as it amounts to White people lamely joining the destructive game of identity politics.

When growing up in Wales I once told a fanatical Welsh Nationalist that if he really had nothing better to be proud of than his ethnic roots, he should  take up macramé so as to have an actual skill to take pride in. I felt free to mock his parochial obsessions because I could never imagine him presenting a threat but that kind of thing is more dangerous now. At one of my first partners meetings at a law firm in London where most of my partners were Jewish, I was surprised when one said we had no chance of winning a bid for some work because of anti-semitism. I told him, truthfully, that I had never heard an anti-semitic remark in my life and doubted the thought would even cross the potential client's mind.

That anti-semitism is back in Britain, as it clearly now is, is due to the Labour Party's attempts to use identity politics to build its own base. Rejecting (or rather rejected by) its traditional base, Labour has sought to put together a coalition of victims, including – though socially and economically there is no more "conservative" group around – British Muslims. To do so it has become uniformly pro-"Palestinian" and anti-Israel and thus attracted into its midst many members reared with a hatred of Jews as unchallenged as my early hatred of "the South".

I reject the Alt-Right because fighting fire with fire just doesn't work. The answer to the poisonous ideas of identity politics is not to join in. It's to reject them for what they are– inimical to the best values of Western Civilisation. Our highest value is the Rule of Law – a much misunderstood phrase, particularly on the Continent where it's often used to mean "shut up and do as you are told or we'll set the police on you". The best way to explain it is in the resonant phrase – "Be you never so high, the Law is above you".  Your social status, your ethnicity, your family background, your education, your political power and your wealth are all irrelevant to the Law, in the august presence of which we are all (as we are not in any other context) equal. When you say your favourite class of "victim" deserves special protection from the Law, you are shattering the only important equality – the one on which our civilisation is built. We in the West have done that repeatedly and with the terrible consequences that are now emerging as we have sought to signal our virtue by "protecting" various underdogs. 

The Labour Party will not extricate itself from its present mess by re-ordering the hierarchy of victim-groups. I hope and believe that was not what the British Jews protesting yesterday were asking for. Nor by classifying her murder as an anti-Semitic hate crime will we bring back to life the murdered Parisienne or protect future such victims. We can all only emerge from this destructive and hateful shambles by restoring equality before the law and abandoning the damaging notions of identity politics in general and "hate crime" in particular.

Human progress is driven by free competition of ideas. It is hindered by the sort of tribalism that means you must know someones race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender before you can evaluate the credibility of their ideas, their rights to express them or the correct punishment for someone who hurts them.


Who Leads The West?

Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel? | Hoover Institution.

The linked Hoover Institution article is excellent and explains, if you correct for their assumption that all European nations are like Germany, remind yourself that Locke was English and that the American Revolution was conducted on the principles of English philosophy, why Britain cannot remain in the EU. 

It is no coincidence that the totalitarian ideas of the nineteenth century were so widely embraced in Mitteleuropa  and bore such terrible fruit in countries influenced by the cancerous thought of that region’s universities. Germany’s tragic history in the twentieth century grew from a notion still held dear by its people.

Kant explicitly stated that, if called upon by his state to die, the individual should willingly do so. His successors Hegel and Marx were equally inclined to see individuals as eggs in the state’s great omelette. The EU’s open disregard of the views of member states’ citizens is not a bug but a philosophical feature.

In their — to them entirely uncontroversial — world view, which sees Anglo-American individualsm as shallow and selfish, the greater good of the collective as defined by the elite takes priority over the will and even the life of a mere individual. If “unenlightened” humans vote the wrong way, it is perfectly natural for Kantian elites either to ignore them, rebadge the measure to foil them, or if trapped into the need for a positive vote to conduct it repeatedly until it yields the “right” result! It’s actually noble to their minds to behave in ways that to our minds seem outrageously vulgar. 

Continental poltical thought always carries the embryo of the next totalitarianism in its belly because to their thinkers Liberty is a gift of the lawmaker, whereas we see ourselves as  born free, see law as a (sometimes) necessary evil, and expect lawmakers to defend Liberty above all other goods. 

When Europeans speak of geopolitics we think mainly of trade. When Merkel asserts the primacy of politics (a game) over economics (a science) we are bemused. We don’t see trade as a weapon of war or even a diplomatic bargaining chip but as a human activity as natural as sex. Tell us neither whom to love nor with whom to bargain. Call us “a nation of shopkeepers” and we’ll wonder why you think it an insult. 

The author’s mistake here is to lump us in with the people of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Marx when we were the people of Locke and Smith before their young Republic was born. And God willing we always shall be.


Hope for the future

I take no satisfaction in having been right about the unnecessary election of June 2017. The voters punished Mrs May for putting party before country. In their ire they came close to inflicting upon us all a government Communist in all but name. We had a narrow escape. I was in New York and watched the result through the eyes of a baffled America that wants to like us but just can't help seeing us as has beens with baffling delusions of grandeur.

About the only lesson that everyone (but Mrs May) can agree upon is that she is an idiot. She's a dead woman walking and it's only gracious to avert our pitying gaze. So what now?

The contempt of our EU colleagues (for now) could scarcely be intensified but, having worked closely with Continentals for decades, trust me; they never wished us well. That's not to say that they can't be friends at an individual level. They can and are. But they are absolutely united in their humiliating folk memory of Britain astride the planet when (in their view) so clearly a barbarian, uncultured race far far below the salt of the cultural and legal descendants of Ancient Rome. We have put our Empire behind us and moved on but I doubt the erstwhile rulers of Europe's failed and far more vile empires ever will. 

Here is my positive take. The next phase of our history is like an FA Cup match in which all believe us to be lower league minnows with little hope of success. Good. Expectations are low and those who wish us ill are over-confident that we can be lightly regarded and swiftly despatched. We have been here before. We shall be here again. So let's play the game as best we can and take what we can from the occasion.

The Brexit negotiation has its own internal logic. There is no reasonable compromise on offer because (to frighten others who might think of leaving) the EU can give us nothing. I am more afraid of betrayal from within. Since they can give us nothing, anything we pay them beyond their strict treaty entitlement will be a waste of resources we need to husband against an uncertain future. 

I believe in Britain's prospects. I really do. But our future is ours to take — or throw away. Given the alarming proportion of young people who, on the evidence of last week, are economic illiterates, ethical degenerates and brainwashed identity warriors, there's no guarantee of success. 

At least, after Brexit, we are under our own management. Win or lose the outcome will be ours to live with. 


How to deal with atrocities?

How to deal with atrocities? « Samizdata.

Perry de Havilland at Samizdata sets out what won't defeat Islamic terrror. 

one approach I am quite certain does not work is candlelight vigils, weepy hashtags and a refusal to face up to who the enemy is and why they are doing what they are doing.

He makes a good point but what will?

 

To begin with we should do nothing to validate the belief of these losers™ that they are special. The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 – a piece of knee-jerk legislation that led me to begin this blog long years ago – was (and this is the least of my criticisms) a mistake in psychological terms. It dealt differently with those who murder for political reasons thus confirming their view that they were more than "common criminals". This was a very different approach to that of Margaret Thatcher. She always insisted that Jeremy Corbyn's chums in the Provisional IRA were not "soldiers" or "political activists" but criminals like any other; that their motives made no more difference to the legal analysis of their actions than they did to the reality of the outcome for the victims and their families. One is no less dead for being murdered in a cause and one's killer is no more for it.

 

Such criminals should be detected, arrested and tried. If convicted they should go to the same prisons as other murderers and be treated exactly the same. Murder carries the maximum penalty presently permitted under English Law because it is the worst crime. Any special treatment of terrorist murderers and their accomplices is legally a distinction without a difference and – worse – will be in their eyes a badge of honour.  

 

If, statistically, Muslims are currently producing more terrorists, I see nothing illiberal about controlling future immigration from their countries until the terrorism has been defeated. Let's acknowledge we have a problem among the Muslims we already have. Let's own it, address it and while we are doing so prevent it from becoming worse. Some people will call that "racist" but they should not confuse us with people who give a damn about their playground name-calling. Repeal whatever legislation prevents such a policy and put it in force — just as President Trump has been wading through the Deep State swamp to attempt in the USA. Opinion polls suggest there is massive democratic support for such a policy across the whole of Europe.

 

That leaves the question of the already resident Muslim population most of whom, thank goodness, pose no threat. We can maximise that proportion by some common sense measures:

  1. Change our relationship with Saudi Arabia, the heart of Islamic darkness. It does not permit Christian evangelism on its territory. In contrast, as a civilised country, we permit all religions to be practised, but that does not mean we have to allow the Saudis to fund theirs. Currently there are more Wahhabi Korans in the UK than any other versions because Saudi Arabia provides them free of charge. Wahhabism is a particularly dangerous sect and motivates a disproportionate number of terrorists. 
  2. If this is thought likely to affect arms sales to that Kingdom, then perhaps we should form an Organisation of Weapons Exporting Countries to fulfil a similar function to that of OPEC in relation to oil.
  3. It may be necessary, after appropriate research, to prevent other countries from funding mosques and madrassas in Britain. I see no problem with that either. I am sure local Muslim philanthropists will step into the breach.
  4. We should ditch the doctrine of multiculturalism and make it a matter of immigration policy that new arrivals are welcome only on the basis that they agree to integrate into our society and live according to our values. There is no ethical problem, in my opinion, in stating definitively that Shariah Law is incompatible with those values. New immigrants should swear an affidavit on entry to confirm that they understand and accept this.
  5. We should break the news to our Muslim communities that they and their families have come to live in a Christian culture. Most Brits may not be religious now but still our country is one formed by Christian values. Constitutionally, it is actually a kind of mild Christian theocracy as we have no separation of Church and State. The Church of England is Established and twenty-six of its bishops – the Lords Spiritual – are ex officio members of Parliament. In this quirky theocracy, the Theos is Jehovah, not Allah. Daft, in my personal opinion, as I very much believe in the separation of Church and State on the American or French model, but no less true for that.
  6. We should deliver public services only in the official languages of the United Kingdom. When I lived in Poland, Russia and China I could not expect to deal with the authorities in English. They took the perfectly reasonable view that my weakness in their languages was my problem. To the extent I could not cope I found friends, colleagues or paid translators to help me. By dealing with immigrants in their own languages, we have encouraged them NOT to assimilate and have made it unnecessary for them to learn English. It is our fault, not theirs, that so many Muslim mothers live and raise their children dangerously outside our society's mainstream. I am sure most were initially astonished to find that our public sector is prepared to deal with them in their own languages at taxpayers' expense.
  7. We should cut all other services (e.g. translators to sit with children in classes, chaperones to accompany ladies to medical appointments) that discourage integration. Of course we should be tolerant of the needs of learners to bring English speakers along to help them out until they are fluent. I am sure there would also be some doctors prepared to allow male members of Muslim ladies' families to accompany them to consultations. I would not make any doctor do so, however. The ladies in question chose to come to a country where such an approach is alien (and rather insulting to our doctors). No-one forced them to come. They could have stayed in their countries of origin and these issues would never have arisen.
  8. We should provide English classes for refugees. They didn't choose to come and it's only decent to help them out. Economic migrants, like me in Poland, Russia and China, should pay for their own damned language lessons.
  9. Finally we must recruit thousands of members of the police, the Special Branch and MI5 from among our Muslim citizens. We are so often assured that most of them are peace-loving and loyal that I cannot imagine this will be difficult. As a young lawyer in Nottingham I personally administered the Oath of Allegiance to many new Muslim citizens and kept a Koran at hand for the purpose. I am sure many of their families have suitably qualified members now. 

I don't put forward any of these suggestions to punish British Muslims or even to deter future immigration once the problem has been solved. But if we are to reduce terrorism here, rather than just accept it as "part and parcel of life in a big city", I think measures like these are necessary. Do you agree? If so what other measures would you suggest? If not, then how do YOU think we should defeat Islamic terror?


Legal analysis vs bluster in the Brexit negotiation

The current public discussion about the so-called "divorce bill" or "financial settlement" claimed by the European Union in relation to the UK's termination of its membership is ill-informed on a cosmic scale. I decided to flex my neglected skills as a retired international lawyer and do a bit of research.

The EU has yet to produce any legal justification for its claim. It is simply asserting, as a negotiating position, that it will discuss nothing else until a payment has been agreed. This is an oddly weak stance. If there is a legal basis for the claim, they don't need it signed off in advance. It would simply be a contractual consequence of the treaties. The European Court would rule if the principle or amount were disputed.

To someone who negotiated for a living for decades, it has the aroma of, to be polite, bravado or, to be less polite, something else beginning with a "b".

That impression is reinforced by the fact that the EU has not produced its calculations. According to press reports it is demanding between sixty and one hundred billion Euros. Nor has it offered any legal analysis. We are told that the British government has clear legal advice that no such payment is due. Of course it won't publish that advice until the EU has offered some justification. 

Lawyers for Britain (disclosure: a campaign group in support of Brexit) has however commissioned and published a counsel's opinion by Martin Howe QC entitled The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union: Analysis of potential financial liabilities. The full opinion can be downloaded here. I have also hosted a copy of it on this site and put a link in the sidebar. It is well and clearly written. I suspect many of my esteemed readers will actually enjoy reading it even if they are not accustomed to such documents. 

For now, I will cut to the chase however and quote the conclusion of pages of dense analysis: 

For the reasons set out in this paper, there is a powerful legal case that the UK will not owe the EU any monies on withdrawal, and will be entitled to a net payment representing the value of its capital in the European Investment Bank.

Those readers who, like, me, actively want a "hard Brexit" should take the following comfort. If the EU's negotiators stick to their present position, there can be no further negotiation. The UK will exit without any agreement. It might even be possible (though I doubt any possible government after the election would have the testicular fortitude to go for it) to dispense with the two year notice period and stop subsidising our Continental chums sooner.

We would then trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) standard terms, which will allow either side to impose tariffs averaging 2.3% on imports of non-agricultural goods (agriculture is a pampered business everywhere and the WTO has failed to broker any agreement to reduce protectionist tariffs). Britain is of course free to impose no tariffs on EU goods. The WTO sets a maximum, but no minimum. In my view that is precisely what we should do. It helps our consumers not one jot or tittle to pay more for our Audis and Camembert. As a supporter of free markets, not crony capitalism, I favour the consumer over the producer every time.

One can love capitalism without loving capitalists - or at least not loving them more than ones fellow humans in general.

It is likely of course that the mercantilist, anti-free market, corrupt crony capitalist EU will impose such tariffs. It will be true to the antiquated and discredited ideology that made us want to leave. However the adjustment in the value of the pound sterling (the genius of the Free Market at work) has already more than covered the effect of WTO tariffs and the Government has (rashly and wrongly in my view) promised British farmers that they will be compensated from public funds for any negative effects.

Much as I disapprove of that, it will cost far far less than our payments to the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which routes subsidies not just to jolly Continental peasants but to rich people such as the French, Austrian and German partners in the international law firm to which I used to belong, who owned farms and vineyards not to feed and cheer the masses, but to garner CAP subsidies from their far poorer fellow-taxpayers. 


Has Political Correctness Gone Mad?

Has Political Correctness Gone Mad? - On Demand - All 4.

I watched Trevor Philips' programme with interest. He became President of the National Union of Students just as I was leaving student politics for the real world - back in the 1970s. He was a familiar presence at the NUS conferences I attended in the years before he was elected to that job.
 
Conservatism was generating all the new ideas at that heady time so Trevor and his comrades of the Broad Left (the Labour / Communist Alliance in "power" at the NUS) seemed like dinosaurs. Their policy of "No platform for fascists and racists" for example was simply not supported by sane students. I don't recall ever falling out with my Labour counterpart at university (where I was chairman of the Conservatives) on issues of free speech. As I recall it, he thought "no platform" was daft too. But the sane students went off into the real world. I became a lawyer and my Labour counterpart became a doctor. The "no platformers" like Trevor and his successor David Aaronovitch didn't. They went into politics, the media and academia and kept droning on about identity politics and multi-culturalism while the rest of us earned not just our living but - through the tax system - theirs. Their relentless efforts at promoting cultural Marxism have borne vile fruit so that now, he reported in his programme, two thirds of all British students support the NUS's current "no platform" policy, which has gone well beyond anything he and Aaronovitch ever argued for.
 
Trevor spent his whole career in the public sector and rose to be the head of the British "thought police" - the Equalities Commission. He was in that role when I next came across him at the Battle of Ideas conference at London's Barbican Centre about three years ago. He was speaking about how certain ethnic groups (notably black boys) underperform in Britain's schools and I challenged him from the audience. I pointed out that while black boys were at the bottom of the educational rankings, black girls performed better. What kind of racist makes an exception for the females of an ethnic group? I pointed out that, while Pakistani children did little better than black boys, Indian children were the second best performing group. Pakistan was an artificial construct imposed when the Brits granted independence to India. Ethnically, these kids were identical. What kind of racist would distinguish between them? It seemed to me that if teachers were the problem, then they were bloody strange racists. Apart from these other quirks they seemed to favour the Chinese. as their children were easily the highest performing! 
 
To Trevor's credit, he listened politely and laughed at my sarcastic humour even as the aspiring members of the left-liberal ruling elite howled me down. If racism was not the answer to this question, he asked politely, what was? I told him it was a question of parental attitudes informed by culture. I had worked in China where every mother saw education as the highest good. If West Indian and Pakistani women (not to mention working class white ones) wanted their children to do well at school they should make like Tiger Mothers. Teachers, schools and the educational establishment would not stop their children learning if they showed up at school wanting to.
 
From watching his show - which has received damning notices from his fellow-lefties - it almost seemed I had struck a chord. I would certainly like to think so. His contribution was thoughtful and intelligent. He senses that the Left has gone too far and alienated ordinary folk. The depressing parts were his interviews with students - who really do seem to have left the reality-based community - and his experiments with Mancunians ("straight-talking Northerners") who seemed culturally whipped but still craving more of the lash.
 
If you get the chance to watch it, do. It's as good a political thought piece as the biased media is currently likely to produce. The link above will expire soon. 

Cressida Dick

The closest I came to despair during the long dark political night I hope is now ending was during the affair of Jean Charles de Menezes. It wasn't so bad that panicked policemen made a tragic error in the wake of the 7/7 bombings. That was both understandable and forgivable. Had I been a juror in a murder trial of the officers who blew that poor young innocent's head from his shoulders with soft nosed bullets proscribed by the laws of war, I would have voted to acquit.

I am sure they did not kill him for the hell of it. They believed (or believed their commander believed) that he posed a genuine threat to them and the Londoners around him. Their legal defence would have been self defence under a misapprehension and I would have believed it. They were negligent at worst. They were negligently led. The family of the young Brazilian should have had civil compensation, the Metropolitan Police should have apologised for a tragic error and the officers concerned should have been disciplined and retrained. 

My despair was rather driven by the Establishment's response to the incident. It closed ranks on the rest of us and on Justice herself. It lied. It destroyed evidence. It committed crimes. Had you or I killed Jean Charles under the mistaken apprehension that he was a suicide bomber we would have faced trial. His killers were state agents and didn't; making a mockery of equality before the law. They were sent away on holiday at taxpayers expense as a reward. Their identities are still unknown. The government drummed up a stupid "health and safety" case to make the matter sub judice and give ministers an excuse not to comment until the fuss had died down. That was the nadir of Alistair Campbell-style political cynicism — manipulating the law, the press, and the public's limited attention span to mask a terrible injustice and an embarrassing failure of state power.

Justice was not done and was seen NOT to be done. An innocent died with consequences neither to his immediate killers nor to those, police and politicians, who issued the fatal orders. That Labour Government proved once and for all that the Labour Party is nothing more than the political wing of the public sector unions. The rest of us are of little concern — even if we lose our lives — compared to the privileged brothers and sisters under the leftist state's partisan protection. Even Jean Charles's usually-privileged ethnicity didn't count when the state's loyal servants needed protection. I wish I could believe it was different under a "Conservative" government but the sneer quotes say all you need to know of my view on that  

This is why I am so saddened to learn that the commander of the unit responsible for this tragedy now heads the Metropolitan Police. She commands the force I rely on to keep me safe in my home town. Her loyalty to the political élites (not to her officers, by the way, as she was cynical in shifting blame down the chain of command) trumps the safety of the public her force exists to serve and protect. Neither ordinary Londoners nor the officers under her politically-correct command should feel safe this morning .

She's the Metropolitan Police Commissioner not on her merits as a police officer but because she fits a Politically-Correct narrative. I would love to celebrate the appointment of the first woman to command this important force - the mother force of world policing. I can't because (for reasons unrelated to her sex) she is unworthy of the rôle. I shall sleep less easy in my bed in London tonight. 


Housing the politically homeless in our brave new political world

Fascinating though world politics is at present as the insurrection against PC sweeps the free-ish world, Britain is for once the most interesting place. Once upon a time in our country every little boy and girl who was born into the world alive was either a little (classical) Liberal or else a little Conservative. Then came Mankind's greatest catastrophe, Karl Marx. The Labour Party was sired as his bastard child on religious non-conformism. The mighty Liberals – in many ways the natural party of government in a trading nation that despised busybodies – degenerated into the apology for itself now comprehensively mis-named the Liberal Democrats.

I am a socially and economically liberal free market man who believes in minimum government and maximum individual freedom. I aspire (subject to removing the perverse incentives of corporate and individual welfarism) to global free movement of both goods and people so that every economic object and player can find its, his or her highest and best use. I believe that's the best hope not just for Britain, but for the entire human race if we aspire (as we should) to raise us all from material, cultural and spiritual poverty. 

The post-Brexit, post-Trump political battle lines seem to have been drawn up between "globalism" (a dysphemism for "free trade") and protectionism (the second most stupid idea in history, but still dangerously powerful among the economically illiterate). So it looks like we are heading back toward the old Conservative/TruLib™ or Tory/Whig divide. The realignment will take some time to work its way through though. Firstly, for example, the Labour Party (which still commands some tribal loyalty) needs to finish committing suicide. The new players, UKIP and the Greens, need to submit to the discipline of the electoral market and form consistent political and economic stances.

In many ways I am as politically homeless in this new alignment as I was in the old. UKIP is a strong candidate to replace the Labour Party, but I don't fit in its mercantilist ranks. The only thing I have in common with the Trumps, Farages and LePens of this world is that I believe when someone does move to another culture they should assimilate. I see NO obligation on a host country to modify any legal, ethical, religious, social or political norms to make new arrivals feel at home. 

I don't feel comfortable in the Conservative Party either. It's more inclined towards free markets than the other contenders but it's socially illiberal and inclined to build a scarily powerful state. Yes, it's a successful fighting force with a lot of internal cohesion and has been much strengthened as an electoral machine now that Brexit has removed the only threat to its unity. There is no doubt it will be one of the potential parties of government in the new order and in the likes of Dan Hannan it has some sound thinkers but I hunger for a home that is more authentically TruLib™.

The only element of my beliefs the Labour Party sometimes seems to  favour is free movement of, if not goods, then people. However that's certainly not from rational conviction. Labour fears/hates its traditional voters, now too sophisticated for its outdated Marxist schtick, and wants to ship in naifs by the million to replace them. Welfare recipients, rent-seeking intellectual idlers and other government dependents are its main voter base so it also wants to farm those unproductives. It therefore represents a perfect storm of cultural and economic impoverishment. Even if – as now seems unlikely – it survives, Labour is clearly not my party. 

I can't even muster the strength to explain why the Greens are not for me. Life is too short. Let's just say loincloths and camp fires are not my style. 

Which leaves the LibDems. Historically they have the right credentials. There are still some Gladstonians there, though they are not exactly in the driving seat. Once they stop grieving about Brexit and move from their present denial through anger to acceptance they have a real opportunity to be the party of free trade and an open, tolerant society. I see no signs at present that they even begin to aspire to the mantle of alternative government, but who knows? It lies in the street where Labour discarded it. Someone must surely pick it up?


Winning the War on Error

For the first time in decades I am optimistic we can win the battle of ideas against statists in general (difficult) and Leftists in particular (beginning to look easy). It will involve a journey that Jeremy Corbyn will never make; from the cosy mutual warmth of opposition, where all policies are theoretical and all consequences are optimistically imaginary, to the harsher land of reality.

We must avoid Corbyn's main error and engage with both doubters and opponents. We are true democrats; enemies of violence and no revolutionaries. We accept we must win votes from people of all walks of life. Our younger folk must be careful what they say and write in actual and virtual public, for it will be used against them if they ever run for office.

When we have no TruLib™ candidates in an election we must needs compromise by engaging and working with anyone whose policies are less hostile to our principles. They may be Hannanite Conservatives, Lbertarian-wing Kippers, Gladstonian LibDems or even John Mortimer or Frank Field-type Labourites. Most of my Labour-voting family and friends up North hate being bossed around by snooty people with meaningless degrees as much as we could wish – and are more likely to do  something about it!

Voters for both Brexit and Trump transcended traditional divides of class, ethnicity and even sexual identity. If there is a single issue that unifies them, it is not ideological (though some ideologues will struggle with it more than us). It is really a matter of respect. They want their political "leaders" to stop condescending to them and taking them for granted. This is democracy. They are the demos. They want their supremacy acknowledged and their political servants to stop being uppity, distant and divorced from their everyday reality.

If your child's education is poor. If it takes you and your life partner's full-time effort to meet everyday expenses, you want your MP and your PM to be focussed on that, not on the "rights" of mongers of imaginary grievance. If you see a spoiled brat in college weeping, or a pop star bleating that all women are "in fear", because of the outcome of a free election, you expect your representatives to ignore them, or even laugh along with you, not take their fantasies seriously.

If I am right, this is therefore a dangerous historical tipping point. It's perfectly possible that the Left will be the first to figure this out. Watching them froth and rage at "ignorant, bigoted" proles like Empire Loyalist colonels of the 1950s I grant you it seems bloody unlikely at present, but it's a risk.

If we are to engage with the ordinary voters who have better things to do or needs too urgent to address than to have time to obsess about politics, we must speak to their concerns in their language. They have seen through the warped words of the Left at last and this gives us an advantage to be seized and exploited – or lost.

Reading like-minded blogs, I think we have learned at least one thing in the long dismal night of the Left. We understand better than most how they warp language itself to serve their ends. I will address that in my next posts.


Hating the haters

In the wake of Brexit and Trump, I am becoming a little tired of all the accusations of hatred and division being thrown at those who voted the "wrong way". Leftists are utter hypocrites when they use these words of their opponents.

Their ideology deliberately sets people against each other by class, ethnic group, gender and sexual identity. Markets don't give a stuff about any of that and nor do employers. They only care if a given individual, regardless of skin tone and reproductive apparatus, has some economic value to add and is prepared to show up to do it.

Show me a shrieking hater divisively accusing others and I will show you a leftist. When they scream that anyone who opposes them is a hater, they are projecting. When they complain about division, they unintentionally reveal that the only way to have unity in their terms is to agree with every word they say. That same totalitarian tendency leads their intellectuals to "no platform" their opponents.

They're obsessed with hatred and division precisely because theirs is a hateful doctrine predicated upon social division. Without setting one group in society against another, they can never win or keep power. Which is why when they're in power the hatred and division never goes away.

It is time to call them out on their dishonesty. They are not the principled, ethical people they virtue signal themselves to be. That are not kindly or idealistic. They foment envy, hatred and division selfishly to give themselves the chance to live without producing.

Politics is show business for ugly people. Leftism is economics for parasites.