It’s cool that Sonny and Cher both ended up as Republicans.
Cher questions Los Angeles' ability to ‘take care of its own’ amid immigration debatehttps://t.co/329WXNrJ7o
— Redbeard 🌟⭐️🌟 (@lloyd4man) April 15, 2019
The good bits are obvious: finally a party that is explicitly about leaving the EU, and not isn’t just pretending to be behind Brexit, like the Conservatives were. The Tory vote collapsing. Tories possibly waking up to the fact that they’re finished if they don’t deliver a real Brexit.
Some of the reasons for pessimism are also obvious. A right-wing vote split between the Conservatives, Brexit Party and UKIP, possibly letting Labour get into Westminster if the timing goes wrong. (It doesn’t matter so much in the European elections as they use a proportional representation system.) Brexit then ends up cancelled. (This is not a criticism of the Brexit Party, as something had to be done about the Conservatives, and UKIP weren’t getting anywhere.)
But there’s another thing that gives me pause. We right-wingers want a real conservative party with backbone that can destroy the Conservative Party, dispense with the political correctness and leftism that bedevils the Tories, defend conservative and libertarian values with vigour and clarity, as well as give us Brexit. The Brexit Party may be trustworthy as far as Brexit goes, but how good are they going to be at those other things? Are they just going to be the same as the old Conservatives apart from the Brexiting?
Take Annunziata Rees-Mogg, for example. She was on the Conservative Party’s “A list” of candidates, all approved by the Conservative Central Office, so she’s hardly going to be Tommy Robinson, is she? She only left the party because of Theresa May and Brexit, not because of any of the party’s endless list of previous betrayals of Conservative principles. Is she really going to be someone who is going to engage in some ‘creative destruction’ on the civil service? Are the other BP candidates going to stick up for Roger Scruton when he’s falsely smeared, or will they do what they think the other guests at the dinner parties they go to would expect them to do?
The Brexit Party have already dumped Catherine Blaiklock for the heinous sin of retweeting “far-right agitators Peter Sweden and Stefan Molyneux, and Paul Joseph Watson”. Farage is now very careful to disassociate himself from anything that could be labelled alt-right, either because he’s a lot more conventional than people realise, or because he knows that that means the media kiss of death, as UKIP have discovered. That doesn’t sound like a party that’s going to stray too far from the BBC-Guardian approval zone to me.
What we have now is the perfect opportunity to replace the Tories with a real red-blooded right-wing party with balls, because there’s a lot more than Brexit at stake. The last thing we want is to replace them with some metropolitan poseurs whose balls fall off as soon as Brexit is over. But in the current political/media space we have in the UK, that’s what we’re likely to get.
Here’s the idiot millenial view of communism in a nutshell:
Communism is everyone being able to go to nice restaurants with no class, race or gender barriers and nothing fucking else.
— The One Who Wishes To Live Deliciously (@evan_welch) May 13, 2018
Except that it turns out that the restaurant has no food. And everyone gets locked in, then rival packs form and fight for dominance, and before too long some people have been killed or enslaved by the others, and some are being eaten. That’s what Communism as a nice restaurant really is.
‘Well, they’ve got a lot to protest about,’ says Ren to George.
Ren and George are attending a reception being thrown by the University for the visiting Murnesian Head of State. They nervously scan the crowd protesting the visit. There’s no sign of the usual protesters like Derek Lucas, Tony Shaver, Verna Leach, Harry Smales or Lucius Birch – they prefer to protest against democracies. The protesters are mostly Murnesian students and migrants who’ve experienced the semi-Communist one-party Murnesian state for themselves. There are far more protesters than Ren expected – they must have come from all over the UK for this opportunity to protest against the Murnesian government in a free country.
Ren is not happy about being part of the official reception for Ding Pingajing, the current Great Dignitary of the Worker’s Paradise of Murnesia. Ding is generally regarded as the Murnesian Head of State, although some Murnesian commentators claim that the real power lies with Fan Jimjam, General Secretary and Inquisitor of the National Peoples’ Consultative Committee of the Murnesian Communist Procuratorate. Tonight’s reception has been brought forward from Friday, which most people have assumed is an attempt to thwart the protesters, but it’s really because Ding needs to get back to Murnesia pronto to see off any attempt by Fan to officially replace him. (The University did consider banning all protest against the Murnesians, but eventually decided that this would look a bit too… Murnesian.)
Ren is part of the reception because Robot has leant on him to go. Robot has been dropping heavy hints about probation; he’s unhappy with Ren for various reasons, such as the TITE situation. Although Robot agrees with Ren that TITE is unfit for duty and needs to be reformed, he doesn’t like the way Ren caused so much trouble over it last year, nor does he like the fact that Ren is still refusing to go back on the course (Ren’s grounds are that Balderstone is still running it, and nothing much has changed). Ren needs Robot to support him getting through probation – without that support he’ll lose his job. Although it would be a very unusual step for a Head not to support a lecturer in such a situation, especially one who is doing well with his publishing, Ren can’t be sure that Robot isn’t going to fuck him over while he has the chance. Hence, Ren is representing the department at the Murnesian State visit, which no-one else in the department wanted to do.
George has been roped in as well because he also wants to throw Robot a bone – he’s refusing to retire on health grounds, even though he’s officially sixty-three and near retirement anyway (and departmental gossip has his real age at more like seventy-three). Since his collapse at Tyson Kipnis’s talk he’s been fine, and carrying on as normal, but Robot, who wants to get rid of him so he can hire in someone more current, who’ll apply for grants, keeps telling him he should retire before he dies giving a lecture. George says that he’s going to go somehow, so why should it matter if it’s in the middle of a lecture? Robot says that staying on in the job will make it more likely that he dies, but George says it’s the other way around. Ren thinks with the way George is puffing and wheezing tonight with the effort of walking that he’s going to die soon either way. But who knows? Maybe he’ll outlive them all with his long-life dieting.
Philosophy is expected by the VC to have a presence at the reception because the Murnesian government has asked the University to set up a campus in Rankpo, one of its industrial cities. The idea behind the campus is that an exact copy of either Oxford or Cambridge will be built. (’Oxford or Cambridge’ meaning, of course, the University colleges and buildings – the Blackbird Leys estate is unlikely to be included.) The choice of Oxford or Cambridge has yet to be decided; possibly a combination of the two will be the final result.
Both Oxford and Cambridge have rejected the offer to be involved out of hand, and both have threatened legal action should any of their buildings be copied. But the Murnesian government insists that there are no legal impediments to copying buildings in Murnesia, and has been courting various other UK Universities who might be interested in running the resulting University. Grayvington University is now in pole position to be in charge of ‘Oxbridge University at Rankpo’, which will earn it a massive fee, enough to outweigh, at least in Raven’s mind, any resulting fallout with Oxford and Cambridge. (Raven’s thinking seems to be that, as the University’s relations with both Oxford and Cambridge are very low to start with, those relations can’t get much worse. Also, he considers Oxford and Cambridge to be elitist institutions who need taking down a peg – although he’s happy to talk in elitist terms about Grayvington when it suits him.)
As Philosophy has the reputation (whether truly or not) as being of central importance at Oxbridge, the VC has stressed to the Philosophy Department that it is important that Philosophy is represented at the reception. Robot was initially a bit reluctant, as he wasn’t sure whether that would go down well in the wider philosophical community, but colleagues from other Universities assured him that no-one would care. It’s not like Grayvington philosophers are going to shake hands with George Bush or Ariel Sharon. (Robot, being a kiss-up/kick-down type, would have acquiesced regardless.) So Ren and George got the squeeze to represent the department, along with Robot. The media hasn’t been very interested in the Murnesian visit, to Raven’s disappointment – he regards this collaboration as an event of historical, world-shattering importance – so there isn’t going to be much in the way of publicity, whether positive or negative, anyway. Ren has only seen one camera crew here, and he recognises the woman speaking to camera – it’s just a local news show.
The two philosophers walk past the protesters, who are behind barriers. Ren thinks of giving them a thumbs-up sign, but he decides it’s best to do nothing. There’s no knowing how they would react to that – they’re really, really furious, shouting and screaming at everyone involved in the event. The air they’re expelling at furious pace from their lungs threatens to knock George over; Ren holds onto his arm to steady him.
‘I’m all right,’ says George. ‘My friends and I used to play cricket on the roads in the suburbs of London during World War II after they’d been bombed. I’m not going to get frightened by an unruly crowd.’
Hmm, thinks Ren, if you really were playing cricket in the war then you’re probably older than sixty-three. But he keeps quiet. He’s angry that he’s been forced to do this event honouring real-life tyrants. He’s angry with himself for agreeing to do it. The Murnesian state may not be as bad these days as in the time of the mass-murdering leader Kum Kwat, but it’s still a place of terrible abuses (and there still exist forced labour camps), not to mention the fact that Pingajing is a veteran murderer from Kwat’s time (as is his rival Jimjam). He wonders whether he can walk in and then sneak out without Robot realising, before he remembers that he and George are supposed to be sitting on the front row. Still, it’s a good experience to see all this in action, even if he’d prefer to be with the protesters.
There are private security guards in front of the barriers, although not as many as there should be, given just how many angry protesters there are. The Murnesians are surrounded by their own security people, and Ren can see one of the Murnesian agents filming the crowd, which worries him. Will the video will be used later for identifying dissidents? There are also some white guys in suits he suspects are British security agents. They wear their suits far too well to be suited-up academics.
Mark Francois. You should see the snobbish comments made on Twitter about him. The FBPE types really go to town looking down their noses at the fact that his English isn’t as good as theirs. Endless mediocrities with 2:2s in English or Sociology acting as if they’re God’s gift to the intellectual world declaring that he’s embarrassed the country for speaking his mind and not cowering like Theresa May. It all reeks of ‘How dare the bloody gardener have an opinion…’.
Good on him, I say.
I think all these extension meetings are mainly theatre. The officials get together beforehand and agree on what is to happen. It’s like radio comedy quiz shows, there’s not an actual written-down script, but most of it is roughly worked-out in advance.
Things can still go off-piste, and it seems like that did happen with Macron threatening to upset the agreement last night. But that’s all theatre too. In the end, no matter how much he would have liked to turf the UK out, he had to play ball like he was supposed to.
But anyway, the delay is of course really all the fault of Jacob Rees-Mogg/Steve Baker/Boris Johnson/Mark Francois (circle the current bogeyman).
You know that recent story that less than one in five millenials supports the Conservative Party?
The findings, presuming we can trust them (which I don’t assume at all), all point towards the need for the Conservatives to become more Conservative again, which is good.
Except that one of the findings is this:
Protect the environment, including the green belt. The environment is the third top issue for 18-24 year old voters and younger voters. All ages, including 18-24s favour protecting the green belt.
Yet the young are supposed to be turning away from Conservatives in droves because of the exorbitant cost of housing in the UK, which they blame on the Tories.
The young are, shall we say, very uneducated on the conflict here. Like it or not, ‘protecting the green belt’ pushes up house prices. It’s not the only factor, of course, but it’s a major one. If you want cheaper houses, which is entirely reasonable thing to want, especially for younger people who cannot get on the housing ladder (and they have my greatest sympathy, British house prices are insane) then you have to give up some of your other cherished beliefs, such as protecting the green belt, or being pro-immigration, or being pro-low density housing. You can’t have all these things. Life is about trade-offs, and here’s one crunch point where trade-offs have to be made.
The worst thing is that these millenials are leaving school having no idea about what drives house prices. They think it’s just Thatcherite greed, or something like that that they heard about on a chat forum. And they think that things can be solved by taking a lot of money off middle-class, middle-aged people and bunging every young person a couple of hundred thousand for a house.
The Conservatives, of course, have utterly failed in explaining this quandary (just like they have utterly failed in making any sort of a pro-market case in recent decades). Yet another reason why the Conservative Party is a liability for the right.
Update: As Alison Pearson points out, it’s not just the young that the Tories are losing:
Bizarrely, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt chose this week to fret about the Conservatives’ lack of appeal to young people after a study showed that voters don’t switch to the Tories till the age of 51.
That’s the least of your worries, Penny, darling. Come out to the Shires and ask a Tory over 51 about their voting intentions. Be sure to stand well back so the flames don’t singe your blow-dry.
Apologies if some parts of this post seem familiar, but it is, after all, Groundhog Month.
Theresa May and her team (particularly, it seems, Olly Robbins and Gavin Barwell) are currently undertaking a coup. So far they have been successful.
But, you may say, Theresa May already was the leader of the country. So how can she have undertaken a coup? The answer is that although she was PM, there were, at least in theory, significant constraints on her power. One such constraint came from Cabinet. A PM is supposed to make decisions in consultation with Cabinet. The PM picks the Cabinet, so often you get a Cabinet who are already disposed to go along with the PM, so this is not always much of a check on power. But it has always been there as an expectation.
But the problem is that it is only an expectation. It’s not a formal, legal requirement, but a part of the UK’s tradition. And one of the things Theresa May and her cronies have done in going rogue is to be as legalistic as possible. Anything they want to do that they legally can do they have done. Tradition and precedent have been kicked aside. They’ve done what they wanted and challenged any of their opponents to find a legal way to stop them. And in the absence of a written constitution, there’s not a lot their opponents can do. It’s not written into law that May has to do what the majority of her Cabinet wants. So she hasn’t.
In the past we have expected our rulers to be bound by feelings of duty, honour and shame, and but none of those has any effect on May. Her attitude is that unless you can convince the police to come and arrest her, she’s staying in office. (Actually, even if she was arrested she’d still probably refuse to step down. And she’d probably get away with that too.)
Another informal check on the power of a PM is the party. But May is simply ignoring her party. They put her into the position of PM. But now she’s there she doesn’t need them. She’s become PM without a party. Every single Conservative MP in the land, every Tory councillor, even every party member, could knock on her door and tell her to go, and it wouldn’t force her to go if she didn’t want to. She could disown her party and there’s nothing much they could do. (In reality I don’t think even May has the balls to stay on in every possible eventuality – for example, a disastrous showing at the May local elections may be enough to force her out – but a bunch of backbenchers telling her to go can simply be stared down.)
The party can, of course, hold an internal vote of no confidence. But once that’s happened and the leader has survived it, the leader has a year before another vote can be put. In that year enormous damage can be done as the party becomes irrelevant. Even if another vote is held, there’s no guarantee that the party could get rid of the PM, as modern government has so many MPs on the governmental payroll that self-interest may induce them to vote for the incumbent if they think that their salary is going to be slashed with a new leader.
The party MPs could instead bring the PM down with a Parliamentary no confidence vote, assuming the opposition would vote for it. But as that will most likely lead to an election those MPs may fear losing their seats, or the opposition party winning, so that may put them off supporting such a vote. They may also be bound by feelings of duty towards their party which they feel preclude them ever voting against the party in such a fashion (feelings of duty which Theresa May does not share).
There’s also no guarantee that the opposition will support the no confidence vote themselves if the PM has reached out to them and is including them in the processes of government, and/or if the opposition judges that the PM’s going rogue is badly damaging her own party, so they should hold off and let her do more damage. Both these things have happened with Theresa May and the Labour Party, so there is no longer any guarantee that the Labour Party would vote against May in a no confidence vote, although I’m sure they will if the Brexit talks with them are unsuccessful.
Another possibility may seem to be a Parliamentary vote for an early election, but that does nothing to remove the leader from being party leader. If that leader wished to stay to fight the election, they could. So voting for an early election (which requires two-thirds of the house) means going into an election with the rogue PM, which none of the MPs in the ruling party are going to want to do, because they’ll probably lose the election in that scenario.
There’s precious little else that can be done to remove a rogue PM. There’s no way that the public can bring the PM down, or force an early election. There are no public recall mechanisms. So a rogue PM and executive who are determined to stay in power to enforce their agenda can do so for a quite a long time, long enough to create havoc.
A rogue PM has not really been that much of an issue in the past. This is partly because in past times politicians have felt more bound by convention and tradition (it would have been unthinkable for any PM to behave like this thirty years ago). But it’s also because in the past a rogue PM wouldn’t have been able to do much. A PM has much less power than a US President. A rogue PM can’t just decree that a new law has been passed. Only Parliament can pass new laws, or alter existing ones. And it is true that in many ways Theresa May’s power is incredibly weak. She cannot command her party. Large numbers of her MPs brazenly mock her. Her successors are openly talked about.
But international treaties are a different matter, and that’s where the rogue PM can really wreak havoc. It turns out that while Theresa May can’t just write some words down on a piece of paper and have a new law come it being, she can profoundly change the country and its future just by writing some words down on a piece of paper, if those words are her signature and the piece of paper is a Brexit extension agreement with the EU. For that she doesn’t need anyone’s permission. (At least apparently so, although I still maintain that she has no legal power to sign any of these extensions of our behalf.)
On this understanding of the PM’s power she could sign the country into slavery if she so wished. She could sign an international treaty with Russia whereby the entire population of Britain is to be turned into dog meat in Siberian factories, and apparently there’s not a damn thing we can do about it, although you can bet that in such a case the civil service lawyers would suddenly discover that, hang on, it turns out that the PM can’t just sign an international treaty and have it automatically become law after all.
This brings us to the civil service. A PM who is fully rogue and who goes against the civil service and the Establishment probably would not last long; they’d find a way to bring him or her down. In Theresa May’s case she isn’t, of course, rogue to that extent. She and her team have not been silly enough to go rogue against the civil service or the Establishment; in fact, they’re on her side. They’re all rogue. The civil service has gone rogue, and so has the Establishment. They’re openly against the people now. They’ve always been that way, you might say, and you’d probably be right, but Brexit has forced them to come out in the open about it. The deep state has been forced to surface, and it isn’t pretty to look at.
In addition, she also has a lot of Parliament on her side, in the form of the Remainers from all parties who form a majority in Parliament, and who have been emboldened by the media and each other to stop pretending they want to respect the referendum result and instead to frustrate it. So Parliament has gone rogue too. As has the Speaker.
Basically the whole of the Establishment has gone rogue along with the PM. And this is what the Leavers of Britain, armed only with their toothpicks, are up against. This is why the Conservative Party badly needs to change its leadership rules. It’s why the Fixed Term Parliament Act is a bad idea. And it’s also why referendums, for all their imperfections, need to be become a permanent feature of British life. But those are issues for further discussion. For now, we just need to appreciate what we’re up against: a rogue Establishment that knows it has to win.
And now: the result of all the attempts at modernization in the Conservatives by David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May, and so on, who thought the Conservatives were the nasty party and the old members needed to be replaced by trendy young urbanites:
Fewer than one in five millennials currently support the Conservative Party with nearly half of Tory voters now over the age of 65, according to new research.
That went well, didn’t it? About as well as everything else the Tories have touched in the last few decades.
I’ve dropped the prices on my novel The Biscuit Factory Vol I: Days of Wine and Cheese. In the UK the Kindle version is only £1.99, which is nothing at all, really, while the print version is £8.05, which includes free postage in the UK, so it’s not a bad price all told.
(The paperback costs a little more than most other books because it’s almost 400 pages, and print-on-demand costs are determined by the page length, but that means you’re getting better value for money than with the slim volume someone knocked up over two weeks: my book is the result of a year’s hard – but inspired – graft.)
Prices will also be reduced in other countries, although I don’t know what the delivery situation is like there. But the US paperback price, for instance, is only $11.50, which seems a pretty normal price.
So do yourself a favour and get some good reading in for the Easter break now!
You don’t think it’s just Brexit that the Establishment is ruthless about, do you? You surely wouldn’t be tempted to believe that while the government has demonstrated that, as far as Brexit goes, it is prepared to trample all over the voters, grind their faces into the dirt, sell out party and country, and tell massive lies each and every day of the year, but with everything else it’s in charge of it’s totally trustworthy and definitely doing the right thing and behaving with impeccable morals?
You can’t even be entertaining the notion, I trust, that the government (and the civil service) is a Jekyll and Hyde character, and Mr Hyde only comes out when the government has been drinking Brexit juice, but the rest of the time it is fine, upstanding Dr Jekyll, always out helping orphans and doing good deeds and never letting a false word pass its lips?
No, those would be stupid things to believe, wouldn’t they? You don’t meet many conmen who lie and deceive you and run off with your money, but who then come back to help you fix your leaking roof, do you? So why believe that the Establishment can be trusted on everything other than Brexit?
No, the sad fact is that the Establishment – including the government, the civil service and most of the media – is not your friend. You’re just an irritant to it, best brought under control as soon as possible. Which is why we should be worried about this:
Today Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has put out a government White Paper on ‘Online Harms’ which includes proposals for a regulator which will have the power to ban the websites of non-compliant companies from being accessed in the UK at all.
Anyone who thinks that, on the one hand, the government has been revealed by Brexit to be a power-crazed, semi-criminal cabal working for a foreign power and actively conspiring against its people, but, on the other hand, it’s totally a good idea to give this same government (or an even worse, Marxist, government) enormous power over the internet to do what it thinks it best for us, has rocks in their head. Big, thick, dense rocks that come from the Moon.
Yesterday’s column from The Conservative Woman:
(Regular readers will be familiar with the content.)
I take no joy in being right. Years ago when I had the Blithering Bunny blog I used to warn of all the things in UK politics that have now come to pass, such as the Establishment’s attempt to stop Brexit, and political correctness being used as a weapon against free speech. I used to say that elitism — the bad sort of elitism, where a minority who have power ruthlessly use that power to gain even more, and to crush dissent — was on the rise, and within ten or so years the new ‘elite’ would be out of control. (I put ‘elite’ in scare quotes, because we’re not talking about the best and brightest here.)
I take no joy in being right, but I want to take this moment to say: I was right. You – the people I used to argue against – were wrong, and I was right.
I wasn’t, of course, alone: dozens of right-wing blogs were saying the same things, and hundreds of blog commentators too. (And later thousands of Twitter users, and tens of thousands of commentators on articles in the online magazines such as Breitbart.)
But we were all dismissed as scare-mongers, exaggerators, Nazis, dumb hicks (although I never got that one, being an academic), controversialists, pyjama boys, swivel-eyes loons, far-right fascists, and so on. But it turns out we were right. The Establishment is a stitch-up. Progressive opinions have become sacred. Politics is the new religion. The thought police are here. Politicians do what they want, not what voters want. International empires such as the EU are not subject to democratic control. The BBC is nakedly biased. Most journalists are now open about the fact that they are just political activists with bylines. Big Brother is watching.
We were right about all that.
The fucking fools aren’t of course, my readers, because (judging by the comments I get) they’re mostly in the same political ballpark as me, and have noticed all the same things I have. I’m talking about the people who occasionally used to come to my old blog to argue with me. It’s my old academic colleagues, most of whom thought I was over-the-top. Some of them (especially the older ones) now quietly agree with me. Others (especially the younger ones) now consider me an enemy of the people. It’s the smug leftists and progs I used to meet at chattering-class dinner parties where I used to argue my corner, in the days when you could do so and not become persona non grata. (I don’t go to many of those sorts of dinner parties any more.)
They won’t be reading this, but I’ll say it anyway: I told you so. You fucking fools.
Update: Not to mention the government’s latest proposal that UK web access should be restricted to approved providers, which definitely won’t lead to political censorship, oh no, definitely not.