Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stavropoleos Church this afternoon

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It’s Lermontov’s 203rd birthday

I've meant to read him since my mid-teens, bought 'Another Hero of Our Times' after i returned from my wonderful visit to the wonderful Georgia and still hadn't. Unlike he he was productive. He had achieved an undying name before he died at the age of three years younger than Marlowe, ten years younger than Byron, eleven years younger than Pushkin.

No, I'm not Byron, it's my role
To be an undiscovered wonder,
Like him, a persecuted wand'rer,
But furnished with a Russian soul.
I started sooner, sooner ending,
My mind will never reach so high;
Within my soul, beyond the mending,
My shattered aspirations lie:
Dark ocean answer me, can any
Plumb all your depth with skillful trawl?
Who will explain me to the many?
I... perhaps God? No one at all?

Exit polls: Austria swings to the right

First exit polls in Austria: the centre right People’s Party 31%, the right wing Freedom Party 29% and the ruling Social Democrats: 25%.

I am pleased that the far left Greens did badly on 4.9%. They are a dangerous party. Sadly, they will pass the 4% threshold and have seats in Parliament. The President, of course, is Green.

In 1683 at the Battle of Vienna Europe was saved from attack by the Turks and this proved a decisive turning point in history, the beginning of a very long retreat that continued to the 1920s. 

Popes and European leaders in 1683, of course, were made of different stuff.

On the social media I see many people are alarmed by the news, especially Americans who read liberal papers. So, predictably, is the Financial Times which is very globalist and very pro-immigration but so too is the Daily Telegraph and even the Daily Mail. I think they should learn that evil morphs, that Islamists are not fascists exactly (I know many people who insist that they are) but much closer to the threat posed by Hitler than the people who want to stop Europe taking refugees.

It seems that nowadays Nazi analogies must be deployed in almost every argument and when it comes to an Austrian right-wing (though democratic) party, founded in 1955 by two people who had been in the SS, that's very natural. But Nazis analogies can be used in more ways than one.

Some Jewish friends of mine are afraid of the Freedom Party. Others are afraid not of the anti-immigration parties but of the islamification of Europe. 

Lord Weidenfeld was of the latter view. He was a Viennese Jew who came to England following the Anschluss in 1938. In an interview he gave on BBC Radio 4 shortly before he died said that if things became hard for them as a result of anti-Semitism "Jews could go to Israel but...the rest?" and that the people of Europe might be stuck with "millions of not-so-friendly people".

Sunset in Bucharest four minutes ago

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This is by Octav Dragan:

The Middle Ages didn't end here till the mid or late 19th century

One of the reasons I so love Romania, or at least the Regat, is that the Middle Ages didn't end here till the mid or late 19th century. No Reformation (outside Transylvania and the Banat), no Enlightenment.

The French Revolution did have a very delayed but very great impact, but 'liberté' was understood in the Balkans not as personal freedom but as 'national self-determination'. Fraternité, of course, meant nationalism. But in the end the French Revolution indirectly did for Romania, via its bastard offspring, Nazism and Communism.

Judy Asks: Why the Delay on an EU Migration Policy?

Just one very mild, quotidian example, out of thousands every day, of the way EU enthusiasts think, speak and write.

This pensee is from one Miriam Lexmann, styled 'Member of the advisory board, COMPASS project on capacity-building and governance at the University of Kent'.

"Beyond the focus on the (in)sufficiency of development aid and technical policy details, it highlights more fundamentally that the EU cannot reflect solidarity if its populace does not cherish this virtue and if political leaders opt for popularity instead of leadership. The Visegrád Four’s dispute over migrant quotas displays a deep lack of democratic procedure, while the EU as a community lacks sufficient communication methods with its own demos, who are often hijacked by populist rhetoric."

Translated into English

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The academy as a special zone of (left-wing) Truth that must be protected against (right-wing) Falsehoods

Indeed, for the looniest end of the left-wing academy, even the theory is hostile to viewpoint diversity. They view the academy as a special zone of (left-wing) Truth that must be protected against (right-wing) Falsehoods of the real world. Genuine pluralism, from this vantage, is a cover for privilege and oppression. Why import such falsehoods into the charmed

An Austro-Hungarian partnership, to counterbalance Germany and France?

A victory in the Austrian general election for the People’s Party seems likely after the discovery of the dirty tricks of their opponents. They have tacked a long way to the right on immigration issues recently and will probably form a coalition with the Freedom Party, which will mean Vienna looking to Budapest not Brussels.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the Freedom Party, has said that he wants Austria to join the Visegrád Group that includes the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The Eurosceptic billionaire Andrej Babiš's AnoParty is expected to win the

A big bagful of good quotations that will be new to you

“For me dying is a lot like going camping. I don’t want to do it.” Phil Wang 

“Everything considered, work is less boring than amusing oneself.” Charles Baudelaire 

“Everything must be learned, from reading to dying.” Gustave Flaubert

Friday, 13 October 2017

Surviving sexual assault

Today I was trying to remember which famous woman writer wrote that she had her bottom pinched by George Moore and felt proud that it had attracted the attention of such a great prose stylist.

I had my bottom pinched by Danny Blanchflower, the footballer, who was wearing a bottle green dinner jacket. I was 20. I also had my bottom pinched by two very pretty fifteen year-old girls when I was the same age. I found all three incidents very surprising but not in the least traumatic.

If Philip Hammond isn't willing to prepare for no-deal, Mrs May needs a Chancellor who is

Nigel Lawson thinks Philip Hammond should be sacked and I agree. Negotiating a payment to EU before settling trade was a big mistake on our part. Leaving without a deal looks likely and it is better if Hammond is not in the cabinet if this happens.

Fraser Nelson is of the same opinion.

France will welcome 10,000 refugees over the next 12 months

News item in the EU funded Euronews:

France will welcome 10,000 refugees over the next 12 months, including sending out teams to Tchad and Niger to identify and transport people deserving asylum status.
10,000 is the equivalent of a small town.

'The social networks will deliver a Corbyn government'

Here is an interesting discussion by Niall Ferguson about how social media will have as big an effect as printing, which produced the Protestant Reformation and a century and a quarter of wars in Europe. Niall Ferguson thinks it may put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10. It's put Donald Trump in the White House.

Society is now increasingly organised by networks rather than in hierarchies, he points out. This is something to be welcomed, I am sure, necessary though hierarchies are.

Niall Ferguson is often right but is often wrong, as he was about China in Civilisation: The West and the Rest. People always lived in echo chambers. Left-wingers read the Mirror and right-wingers read the Express and they all mixed with others mostly of a similar outlook.

I see the internet and social media as a hugely positive advance for democracy and freedom of expression. That includes the freedom to express stupid or malign ideas. The Guardian, in any case, has done that for decades.

Is the Pope a populist?

He is a multiculturalist certainly. That has nothing necessarily to do with populism. But on divorce, homosexuality, living in a hostel, climate change and numerous pronouncements that the secular press loves?

Aristotle thought that slavery was a natural thing

Aristotle thought that slavery was a natural thing and that human beings can be divided into people who are by nature slaves and people who by nature are not. I see this important distinction every day.

Dear politically correct reader, I am using the word slave as a metaphor.

Does online dating increase racial Intermarriages?

Does online dating increase racial Intermarriages? - it seems so according to this - and a very good thing. Intermarriage is the only solution to the cantonisation caused by multiracialism.

Eloi: Political Correctness 'Triggering' Dangerous Herd-like Mentality

A reader called Peter posted this clip as a comment  on the blog- it's well worth watching.

'In a more civilised age Hans Kung would have been burnt.'

Evelyn Waugh, whose early death the Second Vatican Council caused, said that 'In a more civilised age Hans Kung would have been burnt.'

He was not joking. He meant it.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wants global ban on blasphemy

The USA will leave UNESCO. Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, an Iraqi-Jordanian, is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and wants a global ban on blasphemy. I hope they reduce funds to him.

Hollywood in a fit of morality

I don't really get the reactions of horror by people who know him well to the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Haven't people read Jackie Collins?
No, it seems. They are shocked. Shocked!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Britain is trying to do something that no society has really done

The former director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor has made a series for BBC Radio 4 about how religion has shaped society. 
In a very interesting interview in the Daily Telegraph he says:

“In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time,” MacGregor said.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Christopher Caldwell's 'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' and Enoch Powell

The respected American journalist Christopher Caldwell is senior editor at The Weekly Standard and writes for the Financial Times. His 'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' (2009) is a book everyone should read. It is the precursor to The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by the British journalist, Douglas Murray, who is Deputy Editor of The Spectator.

Caldwell vindicates the accuracy of British politician Enoch Powell's predictions of the size of the non-white population in the UK thus.
“Although at the time Powell`s demographic projections were much snickered at, they have turned out not just roughly accurate but as close to perfectly accurate as it is possible for any such projections to be: In his Rotary Club speech, [November 16 1968] Powell shocked his audience by stating that the nonwhite population of Britain, barely over a million at the time, would rise to 4.5 million by 2002. (According to the national census, the actual “ethnic minority” population of Britain in 2001 was 4,635,296.)”

According to the 2011 census, the non-white population of the UK was over 7.5 million. 

Sabrina has died

I suspect Sir Oswald Mosley had Sabrina in mind when he said 'In or around 1955 the British discovered sex and instantly made it ridiculous'.

Philip Larkin thought we discovered sex later. 

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three 
(Which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

In or around 1963  the world and England began to change out of recognition. From 1963 it was a few steps to joining the Common Market, out of town shopping centres, same sex

I tweeted this a year ago today

More liberal wars are in prospect. Hillary Clinton said last Monday that removing President Bashar al-Assad is the top priority in Syria.

The real meaning of the Harvey Weinstein scandal

That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank.
Lee Smith in The Weekly Standard


Jung quoting a letter from a former patient: "Out of evil, much good has come to me... I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them.

Trudeau: Canada is the first postnational state

‘‘There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada. There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice. Those qualities are what make us the first postnational state.’’

Justin Trudeau speaking to New York Times, Dec. 8, 2015

Sunday, 8 October 2017

"The souls that never go to confession are like rooms with closed windows, which never get any fresh air in."

"The souls that never go to confession are like rooms with closed windows, which never get any fresh air in." (Octavian Goga)

"'I know of no joy,' she airily began, 'greater than a cool white dress after the sweetness of confession.'" (Ronald Firbank)

Why do some people stay in the confessional so long? I am thinking of a very old lady ahead of me who took at least 15 minutes, which is a very long time. What had she done?

BBC pro-immigration bias

The BBC tonight describes AfD as 'anti-immigrant'. It is not - it is anti-immigration.

In fact, not even that but anti- mass immigration from outside Europe.

From my window this evening

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'Today everybody's identity is his or her iPhone. There is no national identity as such.'

In this article from the BBC site a famous Catalan writer is prosing on about the crisis when he suddenly says
Do we have an identity? I don't know. I think today everybody's identity is his or her iPhone. There is no national identity as such.
A Romanian academic economist when I asked him what the future of Romania would be in fifty years time thought it wouldn't exist and be no loss.
Surely there'll still be people speaking Romanian?

Solitude is the school of genius

Does one find ones true self only when alone? I don't think so - ones true self is more likely to be found with close friends, a true love, a soul-mate.

Though great minds need solitude, which Gibbon called 'the school of genius'.

He never married but was very sociable and proposed to a lady when quite old. He went down on her knees and she rejected him saying 'Mr Gibbon, don't be so silly.' Even worse

Gun control would mean the end of the American moral project

My default setting, or rebuttable presumption, to use the lawyers' phrase, is that we English get things right and Americans don't as a rule. So it probably is with gun control. But the gun debate in the USA is about what sort of society America wants to be. It's a question that is existential for American society, as well as existential for people shot dead with legally acquired guns.

It's about the American attachment to rugged individualism and freedom as opposed to statism. Health care is similarly existential but less important because the Constitution does not forbid the US from enacting 'socialised medicine'. If America changed the Second Amendment to control guns the American moral project or American moral society will have ceased to be. Just as Eire ceased to be the Irish moral project when she legalised abortion. It would be the end of something absolutely fundamental, I think. 

What the papers say about Theresa May and that speech (spoiler: it's not good)

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Is it just four days since that speech? It seems like a fortnight.

Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph is very unforgiving.

"Every broadcaster (like every actor) knows that if you are suffering from a cough prior to a performance, a doctor can produce an anaesthetising throat spray which will ensure you are untroubled for a number of hours.
"If Mrs May’s team does not know this – or if she refused to accept their advice – then they are all unfit for their offices. This isn’t even a matter of political judgment: it’s a question of professionalism and simple competence."
Andrew Rawnsley in 'The Observer' points out in an article with the headline, 'Outrageous good fortune smiles once again on Theresa May' that she became Prime Minister by good luck and that her coughing, the unfunny comedian and the letters dropping off the slogan behind her were 'rather lucky' for her in that they eclipsed the speech itself, which was vacuous. 

I think this is right. Her speech began by being, by her low standards, well written and delivered, but had no ideas. She praised the free market and then cribbed Labour policies. It was a speech to the left of Gordon Brown's.

Most Prime Ministers do get the job by luck, including Wilson (the death of Gaitskell), Blair

Four quotations

"We are or we become the result of our network: our ten or fifteen close friends, clients, partners, acquaintances and competitors. Choose them well!" 
Alain Cardon

"The habit of ignoring nature is deeply implanted in our times. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life." 
Marc Chagall 

Seen on Facebook

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Poles pray at borders

Poland Catholics hold controversial prayer day on borders

I wonder if the only people to whom the Polish day of prayer to celebrate victory of Christendom over the Muslim Turks at Lepanto is "controversial" are the BBC - or if Poles think it is too. The story is here.

Oh dear, oh dear

At least 100 European Isis fighters 'to be prosecuted in Iraq, with most facing death penalty'

Among those detained are Belgians, Russians and fighters from Central Asia 

British fighters, including the notorious Mohammed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John’, were among them. He is believed to have been killed in a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria in 2015. 

One has to love Trump's sense of humour. A troll of genius

Trump nominates coal lobbyist to help lead Environmental Protection Agency

Andrew Wheeler has sued the agency several times but looks to be the Deputy Administrator of the EPA

Saturday, 7 October 2017

I wish I'd said that

Woman is born free and is everywhere in chain stores.

From an old Spectator cartoon

There has been just one prosecution for FGM in the UK

Amber Rudd, an A-lister parachuted into the Commons seven years ago, combines being British Home Secretary with being vice-chairman of the Parliamentary committee on female genital mutilation. Yet there has still been only one (unsuccessful) prosecution for this horrible practice in the UK, despite it becoming increasingly common and having been made a crime 30 years ago.

Many Tory MPs and journalists want her to succeed Theresa May before the 2022 election and be the next Prime Minister.

Food, diversity and the new international elite

“Bizarrely, as immigration began to change Europe at its economic and cultural core, the political vocabulary remained the same as when immigration had been a fringe phenomenon. People kept talking about restaurants.”

Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West 

Malcolm Muggeridge said sex is the mysticism of materialism

"The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature, usually crushed to earth by the cold facts and dry criticisms of the sober hour." William James

Sex is the mysticism of materialism. Malcolm Muggeridge

“Drink wine. This is life eternal. This is all that youth will give you. It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyám

Today is a palindrome

7 10 2017

Male heroism

Stories of male heroism, men protecting women, in the Las Vegas massacre. Men are still men. 

Also wonderful female heroism too.

Some moving stories of old fashioned masculine heroism in the terrorist attacks in Paris. 

Human nature does not change and the Western world is not nearly as decadent as it seems if you read about politics. 

Three quotations

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

“Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

Overheard: "If G.W.Bush reminded some of their lame ex-husbands, D.Trump now reminds others of their hysterical drama-queen ex-wives."

People in towns are healthier than those in suburbs and countryside

A recent survey shows that people who live in towns are happier and healthier than people in the suburbs and countryside. The main reason is that the townies walk more. That makes sense. 

The country, said Sydney Smith, is a healthy grave, but it seems this is no longer true, thanks to the invention of the motor car.

Friday, 6 October 2017

On my walk to work today

Will she leave or will she stay? Power is seeping from Theresa May and she had very little to spare

The Tories no longer stand for anything much and they have no obvious potential new leader to replace the useless current one. But these are not the worst thing.

The worst thing is that they made the incredibly stupid mistake of letting party members choose the leader, over weeks.

My guess is that George Osborne is behind the plot to replace Mrs May with Miss Rudd though I don't quite suspect him of making the letters fall off the slogan in front of which Theresa May was speaking
In fact only a Leaver can unite party and country. Gove? Davies is too busy. I'd be fine by now even with Boris - he is exciting and believes in Brexit, or so I believe - but it seems he's been snookered.

A Remainer plot to replace Theresa May with Amber Rudd?

Former Tory party chairman Grant Shapps just said he wants Theresa May to quit. I would too but I worry very much that this is a Remainer plot. I do not want Amber Rudd, an A-Lister who was parachuted into her set, and whom I just discovered is married to AA Gill who wrote this article.

I can easily imagine Mrs. May resigning. She obviously hates her job now and must see she is not up to it.

Philosophers are more dangerous than anything else

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. — Bertrand Russell

Yes perhaps but stupid people are usually right and do much less harm than the philosophers.

Through most of history, 60% of males failed to reproduce

Click here for the article. It is reassuring for confirmed bachelors.

Thursday, 5 October 2017


The Japanese have strict gun laws and a low murder rate. The Japanese in the USA commit remarkably few murders despite easily available guns.

This is not an argument for or against gun control. It's a reminder of reality.

Theresa May is jinxed, but her speech was not so bad

What a year this is for politics: Spain, Great Britain, France, Korea, USA. Like last year was. Politics which was so boring before Margaret Thatcher and again in the 1990s is interesting now. The Chinese proverb about interesting times is a fake, by the way.

Napoleon did not ask of a general 'Is he lucky?" Cardinal Mazarin said it or rather asked something fairly similar. But Theresa May certainly isn't. Some politicians are and it's very important.

'I know what kind of woman Theresa May is. Her worst nightmare is losing control' says Judith Woods in the Daily Telegraph. Yes and that is one of her very many Plutarchian

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Theresa May speaking to Conservative Conference now

Theresa May can scarcely make her speech because of a bad cough.

She has just said that "this country has always been a beacon for democracy". No it hasn't. One man one vote came in (admittedly thanks to the Tories) in 1918. One person one vote eleven years later, thanks again to Tories. Democracy was not considered generally a good thing in England until 1917, when our ally the Tsar was deposed and the USA became our ally. She said our country has always stood for tolerance, but only up to a point, Lord Copper.

She keeps talking about the 'British dream'. A new expression that she has coined, as far as I know. It sounds like it's her policy that we become a copy of the USA.

Why do I dislike the phrase 'British dream' a lot? 

David Laws's diary for 4 December 2012: Cameron and Osborne humiliate Theresa May

We very easily imagine Theresa May squirming, as she squirmed in her interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday.

She is not nearly as clever as Messrs. Cameron and Osborne, was a hopeless Home

"Men who are not free always idealise their bondage" and other quotations

"Men who are not free... always idealise their bondage." Boris Pasternak

“Direct self-observation is not nearly sufficient for us to know ourselves: we need history, for the past flows on within us in a hundred waves.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

King Philip VI of Spain condemns the Catalan 'referendum'

It is NOT King Felipe, BBC. It is King Philip VI.

His Majesty did very well to condemn Catalonia's independence referendum as illegal.

King John Charles made a big mistake by abdicating. Every year makes a monarch better, like Chateau Lafite.

"Learning to read and write is a fundamental right"

This makes me cross. I just learn that "Learning to read and write is a fundamental right", according to UNESCO. This is as bad as the 'right' to clean drinking water. Don't misunderstand me. I am in favour of clean drinking water and learning to read (though illiterates know so very much that the semi-educated lose). But these are not RIGHTS. Freedom of movement, expression, worship, fair trials, freedom from unjust interference by the police - these things are rights.

These are Continental 'positive liberties' and damnable.

Europeans, who have no real tradition of freedom, love rights that involve infringing freedom. The right to clean water means someone is required to pay for your clean water. EU law is full of positive liberties. Why should there be a right to privacy or respect for family life? One reason UK is not staying on EU.

I had a conversation on  tie theme with  German Christian Democrat Professor of Human Rights, very different from a Conservative, which I published here.

Blogging Boris talking to Conservative Conference live

Boris is talking live.

"Jeremy Corbyn still admires Bolivarian revolutionary socialism. I say he's caracas." (Groan.) 

Boris speaks admiringly of Romania's flat tax - which is a definitely conservative idea - and points out that Tories were opponents of USSR. (So were Labour, so not a fair point.)

Gun control is irrelevant to the Las Vegas massacre

It is unintelligent to accuse people of not being intelligent because you disagree with them, but the people talking about the need for gun controls in the USA following the Las Vegas massacre are uninformed. The machine gun used by the killer was subject to gun controls and he had all the documents needed. Las Vegas is irrelevant to the case for gun controls.

He had many guns and in Nevada he only needed a license for automatic weapons, but he was rich and respectable and would have had no trouble getting licences.

The killing is being used by Democrats for political points about gun control because that's the kind of thing politicians do, which is fine.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Groucho Marx danced on Hitler's grave

I just learnt that Groucho Marx climbed a pile of rubble that marked the site of Adolf Hitler's bunker, the site of Hitler's death, and performed a two-minute Charleston.


"My presence here today shows the Government is committed to recycling." 
Michael Gove beginning his speech to the Tory Conference today.

"Today the individual must gradually reconstruct inside himself the civilized universe that is disappearing around him." 
Nicolás Gómez Dávila

More last words

The dying Duke of Valencia, a 19th-century Spanish prime minister, was asked whether he wanted to forgive his enemies. "I have no enemies," he said. "I killed them all."

General Franco did much the same thing. Count Ciano, the Italian Foreign Minister, described in his diary their meeting in Franco's study, while the Caudillo continued to sign a large pile of death warrants. Occasionally, he would ask his secretary which party the condemned man belonged to and, if it was one he particularly disliked, he wrote on the warrant 'garrote'. Ciano said, 'I can come back later if you are busy' but Franco replied, 'Oh no. It's just routine stuff'.

At least fifty murdered at Las Vegas

The local sheriff, holding back tears, announced that at least 50 were dead and 200 were injured in the Las Vegas shooting.

People are dead and dying yet what the world wants to know is was the killer a Muslim. Either way, this horror can be used for political purposes (gun control, immigration control, fear of Islam, fear of Islamophobia).

It's interesting that when things like this happen, as they do all too often these days, one turns to Breitbart as the only trustworthy source. Certainly not to the BBC or CNN. As Douglas Murray put it, when it comes to Muslim terrorism the media seem to see their role as negotiating between the public and the truth.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Why are people sympathetic to the Catalans over the referendum that isn't one?

Why are people on social media sympathetic to the Catalans trying to break the law? I don't get it.

I don't mind Catalonia becoming 'independent' but I very much mind them breaking the law and love it that Madrid will not stand for that. But Catalonia is really ruled by foreigners, in the EU and in the future perhaps by other foreigners.

The violence that the police used, on the other hand, was unjustified, unnecessary and will redound on Madrid.

Eastern Europe, the last hope for Europe and the world

You might be interested by this articleWhy the West Can’t Unite Against Terrorism, written by Richard Storey, who thinks Eastern Europe the last hope for Europe. 
I assumed Eastern Europe was the best part of Europe before I got here in 1990 and I have never doubted Romania's superiority to the West, in innumerable, intangible ways, since I came to live in Romania in 1998. But when asked 'In what ways?' I always have difficulty in answering - apart from saying they still believe in God here.
But, as I type this, I think of many strong reasons. They also still believe in the nation, their tradition, in freedom, hierarchy, the divine order in the universe that makes men men and women women. I could think of many more reasons if pressed.

Mr. Storey says, rather gushingly:
"How else are we to explain Europe’s indomitable civilization, despite being beset by barbarians at the gates and the plutocratic pursuit of political power? The answer is apparent to much of Eastern Europe; they have seen where the unstable forces of leftism lead them and have returned to the Church as that common transcendent system of higher cultural values which bound Europe together into a network of communities. This is why they stand strong and terror-free, boldly declaring their Christian identity and closed borders in the face of the EU taking Poland, Czech and Hungary to court."


"We begin to live when we have conceived life as a tragedy."

W. B. Yeats‏

"Thus a whole religion sustains modern England, the religion of patriotism. Destroy that in men by some heretical development, by “excepting” the doctrine that a man’s prime duty is towards the political society to which he belongs, and England, as we know it, would gradually cease and become something other."

Hilaire Belloc (The Great Heresies)

Neagu Djuvara and Dan Hodges on Trump

Dan Hodges today: Donald Trump is a lunatic. A big lunatic. An ocean going lunatic.

Neagu Djuvara to me last year: Trump is a bull and a bull is what we need now.

Good gossip about Theresa May

Some good gossip about Theresa May in a book serialised in the Sunday Times. She annoyed 'courtiers' by making the Queen postpone her visit to Ascot and by telling the Queen she had a deal with the DUP 17 days before she sealed one.
It reveals that the prime minister repeatedly broke down in tears after surrendering the Conservative majority and went into a spiral after she faced widespread criticism for failing to meet victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Pope Benedict XVI: Catholics are free to disagree with the Pope

Non-Catholics usually think that Catholics have to agree with the Pope. This is not so. Catholics are required only to subscribe to dogmas (contained in the Creeds with some additions) and popes are only infallible when enunciating dogmas. On matters of faith and morals the Church claims to be infallible but this does not mean that the Pope is. On matters of politics, including immigration policy, and of the physical sciences, such as climatology, the popes are certainly not infallible or even necessarily competent to make judgments. In such matters, laymen should and will decide for themselves.

Anyone who thinks Pope Francis' obiter dicta are binding on Catholics might read these words of Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Benedict XVI) in 1969.

Famous Last Words

“I see that you have made three spelling mistakes,” remarked the Marquis de Favras when he read his death warrant.

Coming across that quotation reminded me of that I once collected last words and must find and publish online my collection. Here are one or two.

These are the last words of King Frederick William I of Prussia, the father of Frederick the Great. A Lutheran clergyman was giving him the last rites and said

Saturday, 30 September 2017

John Stuart Mill and the decline of the West

I bought a leather bound copy of Mill's On Liberty for 50p when I was 16 and haven't read it. I assumed I knew what it said and that J.S. Mill was an arch libertarian, a Thathcherite avant la lettre. I should have read it and shall do so now, followed by Maurice Cowling's arch-conservative demolition. How I wish I'd gone to Peterhouse and Cowling had taught me.

Only today I was wondering yet again whether my personal philosophy of finding an authentic life by relating to people openly, regardless of their nationality or class (or sex for that matter) and keeping a distance from conventional or fashionable ideas, was really my own or was one I had taken from elsewhere. I see now that it is J.S. Mill, mediated through 
John Fowles, whose novels and philosophy greatly appealed to me when I was 18. It is an admirable but somewhat adolescent philosophy.

Three very important quotations

"Stephen Miller was too nice to CNN's Jim Acosta at yesterday's White House press briefing. He might have said something like this: "Yes, Jim: in 1883, when Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet 'The New Colossus,' America had open immigration. Millions of white European immigrants settled the American heartland, and we drove out the Native Americans to make room for them. In other words, we gave privileges to white people and killed or displaced people of color. You can argue the merits of this policy, but we don't want to return to a situation in which immigration occurs at the expense of people who were here first."
David Goldman, 'Spengler' in Asia Times
3 August 2017

Forget Saudi Arabia: Iran is our natural ally

The Saudi town of Awamiya — like so many countless cities across Iraq, Syria and Yemen that are witnessing an unleashing of the ancient hatred of Sunni for Shia — now exists in name only. Last month, days before an assault on its Shia inhabitants by the Saudi regime, the UN designated it a place of unique cultural and religious significance. But under the guise of fighting Iran-backed terror cells, the Saudis then subjected Awamiya’s entire civilian population to the indiscriminate use of fighter jets, rocket-propelled grenades, snipers, heavy artillery, armoured assault vehicles and cold-blooded executions.
More than a dozen Shia, including a three-year-old boy, were killed. Hundreds of young men were rounded up. At least 500 homes were flattened, and 8,000 residents were forcibly removed from those that

I am out of touch

Boris is in trouble again. I suddenly realise I am unable to understand the present age.  
The foreign secretary has been accused of “incredible insensitivity” after it emerged he recited part of a colonial-era Rudyard Kipling poem in front of local dignitaries while on an official visit to Myanmar in January.
Boris Johnson was inside the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site in the capital Yangon, when he started uttering the opening verse to The Road to Mandalay, including the line: “The temple bells they say/ Come you back you English soldier.”

Boris smells blood - Theresa May has always been a weak leader

"Several months before the general election, Boris Johnson returned to the Foreign Office after a meeting with Theresa May, flanked by her powerful joint Chiefs of Staff, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. It was clear to him who was in control – and it wasn’t the Prime Minister. “That’s modern slavery right there,” he told a colleague. More recently, he’s told allies that the disastrous general election result has left the Prime Minister a shell of her former self. Her mighty aides have been dispatched and the failed snap election hangs over every meeting. Her body language, he has told allies, is shrunken."

So begins an interesting article 
Gary Gibbon that suggests that Boris Johnson thinks that Theresa May will not last for the whole of this Parliament (I am sure that is right) and he has one last hope of becoming leader of the Conservative Party. I think he is in many ways not up to the job, had concluded that he'd be a disaster, but I have to say that he certainly would be better than Theresa May. 

Perhaps it's not such a bad idea.

Friday, 29 September 2017

For Israel victory for Assad in Syria is very bad news

It is in Israel's interests for the war in Syria to continue indefinitely and Syria to be a failed state. ISIS and Al Qaeda do not worry Israel nearly as much as ISIS's enemy, Iran. But, thanks to Russia, as I predicted from the moment Russia sent help to him, Assad has largely won. Most journalists said this would not happen but most journalists have been wrong about Syria all along.

And this, for all the unspeakable horrors perpetrate by a regime that almost no Syrians like, is the best hope for peace Syria has.

It's very understandable for Israel  to fear Iran, though they greatly exaggerate the danger, but for Europe and America Iran is effectively an ally ag
ainst Sunni extremism. Israel's unofficial allies, the Saudis, are in fact a greater threat to Europe.

Thursday, 28 September 2017


"There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one's native land." 

“Intellectuals are naturally attracted by the idea of a planned society, in the belief that they will be in charge of it.”
Sir Roger Scruton

''In revenge and love woman is more barbaric than man is.''

A poem for National Poetry Day

For National Poetry Day I post this, one of my favourite poems. It's not a favourite because it's an elegy for the demise of Catholic folk religion at the Reformation, but because I simply love it. It is comparable with, though not as good as, Shakespeare's 'When icicles hang by the wall' from Love's Labour's Lost.

FAREWELL, rewards and fairies, 
Good housewives now may say, 
For now foul sluts in dairies 
Do fare as well as they. 
And though they sweep their hearths no less 
Than maids were wont to do, 
Yet who of late for cleanness 
Finds sixpence in her shoe? 

Judge Moore and separation of church and state in the USA

Judge Moore, the Trumpian who defeated the mainstream Republican candidate to be the party candidate in Alabama for the US Senate, sounds rather appealing, in a homespun Southern Protestant way, at least compared to the dreary mainstream Republicans whom he defeated. I can't stand them. Democrats hate him because he engraved the Ten Commandments in granite and tried to place them in the Alabaman Supreme Court.

This is contrary to the separation of church and state in America, you say? Actually not. The US Constitution does not separate church and state. It says

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

More thoughts on Boris Johnson

The ending of Arnold Bennett's The Card always comes to mind when I think of Boris Johnson. 
"What great cause is he identified with?"  
"He's identified with the great cause of cheering us all up."
He also reminds me of Bagehot's description of the Cavalier mind. 
"The essence of Toryism is enjoyment. Talk of the ways of spreading a

Boris Johnson: Romanians are “extremely valuable members of our society”.

Boris Johnson made a whistlestop visit to Bucharest yesterday and assured Romanians that their compatriots in Britain “should not be worried” about their situation after Brexit because they are “extremely valuable members of our society”. 
When asked about how worried Romanians living in the UK should be after Brexit he said:

“I don’t think they should be worried at all. They shouldn’t worry because they are extremely valuable members of our society. We love them. They make an enormous contribution to the economy of the United Kingdom, to the British culture.” 

Said this week

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump):

I love Twitter.... it's like owning your own newspaper--- without the losses

For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big.
Helen Gao writing in the New York Times this week.

[Carl] Bildt argues that because some Middle East nations have to cope with even bigger numbers of refugees, Europeans shouldn’t gripe. However, this is dishonest.
For a start, in reaction to the emergency of the past couple of years, Europe has belatedly done a great deal to close its borders, ­including paying Libyan war lords to stop the boats leaving Libya. Second, most Middle East nations hosting refugees hope they will go home in due course. And third, several hundred thousand Sunni Syrians are a huge burden for a ­nation like ­Jordan, which deserves Western financial support, but they do not threaten to fundamentally and forever change Jordan’s identity in the way they will destroy ­Europe’s identity.
Greg Sheridan, 'Angela Merkel signals ruin for Europe'

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Douglas Murray on AfD and the misuse of the word Nazi

From Douglas Murray's piece in the Spectator about AfD. 

Image may contain: text

I agree with it, and think it well worth you reading, though what most strikes me is the bad grammar on the part of a truly brilliant man who went to Eton and Oxford. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

AfD are not extremists but the real Christian Democrats

The German exit polls show the expected victory for the Christian Democrats and a stronger showing for the AfD, whom the BBC mistakenly calls far right, following the lead of the party's opponents.

They misuse the expression often. They use it for the Austrian Freedom Party and have done since the 1980s, even though the only thing right-wing about Freedom Party is opposing immigration. Which, along with scepticism towards the EU, is most of AfD's platform, though AfD has, inevitably, attracted some extremists and, regrettably, added

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Muslim rebels in Rohingya are few and have a jihadi link

Please read this article from Asia Times, a serious source of intelligent analysis, by Bertil Lintner, a respected Swedish journalist who has been writing about Burma for nearly four decades. Mr. Lintner explains how the Muslim 'Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army', which may only number 500 men, deliberately stages attacks intended to incite bloody reprisals from the Burmese army.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army uses local villagers when it attacks the army to give the impression of large numbers. Terrible reprisals are then visited on local people, whom it hopes will thereby become radicalised.

Islam, Europe and Christianity

“It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
Pope Francis, May 2016

Friday, 22 September 2017


We begin to live when we have conceived life as a tragedy.

W. B. Yeats‏

Thus a whole religion sustains modern England, the religion of patriotism. Destroy that in men by some heretical development, by “excepting” the doctrine that a man’s prime duty is towards the political society to which he belongs, and England, as we know it, would gradually cease and become something other.

Hilaire Belloc (The Great Heresies, p.6)

"Evangelicals have tried the “Alpha” approach to open up the Gospel to a new generation – in its own way this is no more than an update of the notion set out by C S Lewis in "Mere Christianity"whereby the bare bones of belief are laid out (a sort of Christianity “lite”) and it is left to the individual to put denominational clothes onto that body. This, I believe, is based on a misconception for, to use Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message". Faith cannot be separated from culture (after all the Incarnation took place at a particular time, in a particular nation) and the accumulation of interpretation and experience through the generations offers the rich and varied mix in which we are able to make the act of faith – this is what we call “tradition”. From within the tradition we can honestly say with Saint John: “something which has existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our own hands: the Word, who is life” (1st Letter 1:1). Culture is not just an “add on”: it is the outward expression of inner truth, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things, as yet,unseen” (Hebrews 11:1)."

Christopher Colven

"How else are we to explain Europe’s indomitable civilization, despite being beset by barbarians at the gates and the plutocratic pursuit of political power? The answer is apparent to much of Eastern Europe; they have seen where the unstable forces of leftism lead them and have returned to the Church as that common transcendent system of higher cultural values which bound Europe together into a network of communities. This is why they stand strong and terror-free, boldly declaring their Christian identity and closed borders in the face of the EU taking Poland, Czech and Hungary to court."

We shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Jordan Peterson and the transgender wars

'Because thoughts aren’t like that,’ he says. ‘People mostly think by talking. Not only do they think by talking, but they correct their thoughts by talking. If you deprive people of the right to think, then you doom them to suffering. You doom their stupidity of its right to die. You should allow your thoughts to be cast away into the fire — instead of you.’

A very interesting interview with Professor Jordan Paterson, a Jungian and Christian, who is in trouble for many offences, including refusing to use the preferred gender pronouns of people "who don’t identify with their biological gender". He sounds fascinating and brave.

At this point, to my astonishment, Peterson begins to weep. He talks through his


Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Doris Lessing

Do in thy lifetime what, in the hour of death, you will wish you had done.

Goffines Devout Instructions.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

It is every migrant’s dream to see the tables turned

It is every migrant’s dream to see the tables turned, to see long lines of Americans and Britons in front of the Bangladeshi or Mexican or Nigerian Embassy, begging for a residence visa.

Suketu Mehta, Indian-born New York-based author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Jeffrey Ketland is right

"I'm reasonably sure that the driving force behind every SJW is "purity": a kind of moral purification, reminiscent of the original Puritans. This Puritanism is visibly central to the pervasive, ultra-toxic American Ideology of "social justice", with all that it entails: purification rituals, denunciation of deviance, mass hysteria, ostracism of imagined witches, etc.

"Who aside from the original Puritans were so obsessed with purity? The Jacobins. The Bolsheviks. The Nazis. Mao's Red Guards. The Brotherhood. American feminists and SJWs."

Trump argues for healthy national egoism

"Trump's UN 'hate speech' criticised"
The BBC headline shows their disapproval, but I think it was a good speech (though I have some big caveats), praising 'independent sovereign nations'. No wonder the BBC hated it.

I liked these words
"In America we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone."
He praised nation states. He probably doesn't know the phrase 'healthy national egoism', but this is what he believes in and think makes for peace. The liberal wars of recent years certainly didn't.

Wonderfully, he talked of the great harm mass migrations do to the countries the migrants leave and enter.

More quotations

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”

Donald Trump speaking at the U.N.

From The Times Diary