Yesterday’s column from The Conservative Woman:
(Regular readers will be familiar with the content.)
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.
Miles has e-mailed Ren to come to a non-descript, out-of-the way pub on a Monday night. Ren assumes this is to do with Lucius – he told Miles on Friday his discoveries about Lucius.
When Ren gets there he finds Miles with two younger guys. Miles introduces them as Ken and Halberd. They’re social psychology postgraduates. They’re not Lucius’s students but they’ve been working with him on the analysis of some of his studies.
After getting drinks in, they all sit down to talk.
‘So,’ says Ren. ‘Is this about…?’
‘It’s about Lucius, yes,’ says Miles. ‘I’ve told these two what you’ve discovered. Or possibly discovered, we don’t want to jump to conclusions just yet. But Ken and Halberd have been suspicious of Lucius for a while, as I discovered a couple of weeks ago, when we were having a drunken conversation in the pub about fraud in psychology. They’ve been analysing his work, and they think there are very suspicious things in Lucius’s data.’
‘Like data that’s too good to be true?’ says Ren.
‘Yes,’ says Ken. ‘Sometimes, anyway. In the earlier work it looked more credible. Then it started to look more perfect as it went on. But recently it’s got more credible again. This suggests, assuming he’s massaging or even inventing his data, that he was careful early on to make the data look realistic, then he got blase about it for a while, and then he started being careful again, after realising that he was being too risky.’
‘Something else we’ve discovered is the Cronbach Alpha scores on some of his studies are very low,’ says Halberd.
‘It’s a measure of the internal consistency, or reliability, of the responses made. Like if a respondent says on one question that they’re an atheist, then they shouldn’t say on another question that they believe in God. If the internal consistency is low then that’s a problem. It means you may have participants who are just answering anything to the questions, and don’t care, in which case you can’t take the answers as confirming anything.’
‘But it seems very unlikely that Lucius would get so many participants who are just answering the questions randomly,’ says Ken.
‘Low Cronbach Alpha scores can also be caused by questionnaires that have been poorly designed,’ says Halberd.
‘Lucius’s questionnaire’s, however, aren’t poorly designed,’ says Ken.
‘So let me guess,’ says Ren. ‘Another thing that can explain low Cronbach Alpha scores is that the analyst has changed some responses without checking how this affects the overall consistency of that participant’s answers.’
‘Exactly,’ says Ken.
‘Hmm, not good for Lucius,’ says Ren. ‘Did Miles tell you that I noticed that a lot of Lucius’s studies were done at Lancedown University, years after he left it, yet no-one from Lancedown was listed as a co-author?’
‘He told us, yeah,’ says Ken. ‘We hadn’t noticed that, but you’re right, it’s suspicious. Not in itself, perhaps, but along with everything else it’s adding up to… well, I hesitate to use too strong a word here. Let’s just see how we go with some more analysis. There’s various other weird things to do with his work which we’re taking a closer look at, and we’ve been setting up some replications of his studies, which we were hoping to do over summer.’
‘He heard that they want to replicate his studies,’ says Miles, ‘and he tried to discourage them. And now he’s subtly trying to sideline them from his analysis team.’
‘So what has he been giving you to analyse?’ asks Ren. ‘Do you ever see, like, responses written in different handwriting? Videos of people giving answers? Anything like that?’
‘No, it’s always just computer files of results.’
‘Do you know anyone who has ever worked on one of his studies, and actually seen it happen?’
‘No. These are further reasons why we were suspicious.’
‘He loves the limelight, does Lucius,’ says Miles. ‘He isn’t going to go down without a fight, and he’ll try to take you all down with him. You guys sure you’re prepared to face that?’
‘I am a little scared,’ says Halberd.
‘I’m not,’ says Ren. ‘Bring it on, data-fucker.’
‘I’m worried too,’ says Ken. ‘Perhaps we should have stayed out of it. But once we joined his analysis team, we had no choice. Imagine if he got exposed as a fraud later on, and it was known that we were on his team. How would that look?’
‘So what about this Tobias Woolley guy?’ says Ren. ‘Do you think he’s in on it?’
‘We’re not sure, but we suspect not,’ says Halberd. ‘If Lucius is faking everything then Tobias won’t be involved in any studies, because there are no studies. And if Lucius just sends him data he’s going to assume that it’s kosher.’
‘Tobias is very political, in a very admirable way, in my view’ says Ken, ‘but he’s a bit gullible, I’d say, having met him at a conference once. Like, you could tell him anything, as he’d believe it, as long as it fits in with his politics.’
‘Or maybe he suspects that Lucius is making it all up,’ says Ren, ‘but he’s keeping quiet because the conclusions are politically agreeable to him.’
‘Well, who knows?’ says Ken. ‘This is all speculation. All we can do is dig deeper.’
‘It’s depressing,’ says Halberd. ‘I never knew academia could be so corrupt and political.’
‘Oh, I knew that,’ says Ren. ‘What I never realised was that it could be so much fun.’
How did Lenin manage to take over a vast Empire with a rag-tag bunch of fanatics, and maintain Communist rule instead of being quickly deposed? Obviously there were the particular circumstances of that time and place. But mainly it was because he was more ruthless, not just than his enemies, but more ruthless than anyone imagined was possible. Lenin imagined the unimaginable and didn’t fear to enact it. His enemies repeatedly failed to understand how far he was prepared to go to win (and of course Stalin kept this up in spades). They were, in a way, fighting the war in a more restricted mental space than him. As a result, he could run rings around them; they were like Flatlanders dealing with a three-dimensional being.
The situation is the same with Theresa May and Olly Robbins. Their enemies imagine that May’s team are fighting a conventional British political war, where fair play and traditional morality and British shame and decency play their usual roles. But they’re not. They’re fighting a dirty Leninist war and will go to any lengths to win, lengths that their opponents cannot even imagine they’ll go to. Just when you think you’ve put them into an unwinnable position, they’ll take nanny hostage, and then slit her throat. This is not conventional warfare. This is a scorched-Earth, winner-takes-all battle.
Update: Here’s an example –Michael Fabricant writes in the Telegraph that
I have become exasperated with this decent, kind, hardworking, but stubborn Prime Minister who is cursed with a political tin ear.
They don’t even understand the game she’s playing. A ‘tin ear’? Perhaps he’s being as polite as he can be to prevent all-out party warfare, but I think he’s the sort of person who gets herded into a gulag and still thinks things will be sorted out in a few days.
And all-out party warfare is exactly what the Tories need, pronto.
It’s being put about that the real point of bringing Corbyn in is that it’s a trap for him, to expose the Labour Party’s hypocrisy and deliberate vagueness on Brexit. This is BS. It may go badly for Corbyn, that is true, although most likely he’ll just bluff it out saying that nothing satisfactory to Labour could be agreed. But the idea that the real reason the Conservative hierarchy is doing this to damage Labour is absurd. It’s in fact incredibly damaging for the Conservatives, with the members in uproar and quitting in droves, while it makes Labour look more electable. The fear of Corbyn and his pack of Communists was the only thing keeping the Tories afloat, so a more disastrous policy for the Conservatives than working with Corbyn and giving him power cannot be imagined.
What it’s really all about, as I keep saying, the WA. That’s what everything May does now is about. That’s all that matters to her and her team. Everything will be sacrificed for that. She’ll burn everything on the ship of state to keep stoking the fires for her WA. Eventually she’ll start burning the hull.
A lot of people have misunderstood what May is doing. The end game is still getting her WA (or a modified version) through. That’s always been her game. Bringing in Corbyn for talks is really about scaring her recalcitrant MPs into finally voting for the WA. ‘Vote for the WA, or you’ll get a worse version that Jeremy and the Labour Party will write and vote through’.
A lot of her critics are saying ‘Bringing in Corbyn won’t work, he’s got nothing to gain by agreeing anything with her, he’ll let the Tories own their plan and they can own the fallout while they continue to fall apart’. This is most likely true, but it’s not the real plan. May knows full well that Corbyn is unlikely to agree anything with her. If he does, she’ll take it, but the real plan is to scare her own MPs. I’m not saying that will work, but that’s her plan. Do anything to get her WA through. If she doesn’t get an agreement with Corbyn this week, she’ll try again later. ‘Either you agree our WA, or we’ll eventually have a Corbyn-written deal passed’ is the message.
The point of the extensions for her is also the WA. For a lot of Remainers, a long delay is great because it brings a second (rigged) referendum back into play. But that’s not her aim. Her aim is still the WA. That’s why she is going to make the ‘guillotine’ a part of the delay. This means that the delay can be immediately stopped once her WA is through. So she’s saying to her MPs again, this will drag on and on, and I will keep delaying and delaying for eternity, until you bring it to an immediate halt by agreeing my WA.
So there is no point thinking she’s finally going to see sense and agree No Deal. The majority of her Cabinet wanted her to go for No Deal, and she refused. The WA is all she will countenance. So to get a real Brexit, she has to be brought down. Now, before she agrees a long delay.
Yes, really. This may seem a strange thing for me to say, after I’ve been saying for years that the Conservative Party needs to be destroyed, and all the members should quit and join another party. And after I’ve been saying that May is currently destroying the party. But all these people currently posting pictures of their cut-up cards on Twitter have their timing all wrong (see also this Tory member in the Telegraph).
3 members in my household also cancelled today. pic.twitter.com/NFbMZuE7aQ
— Newo Trauts (@newotrauts) April 2, 2019
The time to quit the Conservatives was years ago, well before Brexit, when it became obvious that they had become highly PC, and basically a version of New Labour. But if you’ve hung on this long, through all the many betrayals over the years, you might as well stay a few more weeks or months. Why? Because the left have overplayed their hand, and the party is about to split in two, and the right have the best chance they have had in decades to get back control of the party and purge all the disguised LibDems.
Should May finally be deposed, there are more than enough Leaver MPs to get a Leaver on the leadership ballot, and the membership is far more right-wing than the MPs, and will definitely vote for the Leaver as leader. That leader can then dump all the Remainers in Cabinet, dump all the Remainer civil servants in May’s team, dump all the Remainer advisors, let the local associations purge all the leftists, watch other leftists walk out of the party to join the CUKs, and then go full-on Leave, and generally restore some real Conservative values.
If you’ve been staying on in the party in the desperate hope that maybe one day the party will set course to the right again, this is the best, and only, chance of that happening. But it can only happen if all the right-wingers stay around to vote for a Leaver leader and to put pressure on the Remainers, for example by taking part in deselection processes. If you all quit the party now, then the Remainers will win because you left, just as you were on the cusp of takeover. And there’s no going back if that happens. That really will be the end of the party. That’s the time to quit. Not now.
Leaving now is like spending years hiding out in the hope that you’ll get a chance to kill the terrible tyrannical King, and then just as he’s about to walk near to your hiding spot, you run away. If you’ve wasted all those years staying in the Tories, at least make it worth something. At least stay for the final battle. Quitting now just makes it look like you were too dumb to understand what had been happening to the party for years.
You may reply that you’re quitting now because you have finally accepted that there’s no hope for the party, and it’s finished. Maybe so, but it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy if you leave now. (And it’s seemed a wrong ‘un to everyone else for a long time now — how come you didn’t see this?)
And as for joining the new Brexit party, it doesn’t really exist yet. People are saying ‘I’ve joined the Brexit Party’, but all they’ve actually done is registered to be a supporter, for a party that has a long way to go to even get started.
I’m almost tempted to join the Conservatives myself just to get a vote, but the three-month waiting time probably makes that pointless. Although I said yesterday that’s she impossible to kill, I’m not sure now that she really can survive for very long: if she gets a long extension agreed with the EU next week that will surely be all over Red Rover for her. But if we leave with No Deal on Friday week, that’s also it for her. The only way she can survive a bit longer is by eking out another short delay.
Then again, the party has proved completely hopeless at removing her. But if all the right-wingers leave, that’s going to become even more difficult.
Update: Similar thoughts tonight from Fraser Nelson.
Update 2: More similar thoughts in this Telegraph article.
She’s basically El Presidente now. In regards to Brexit she has presidential powers. It’s she, and she alone, who can agree a delay, or decline to agree a delay. She can ignore her Cabinet (which she has). She can ignore Parliament (which she has). She can ignore her party (which she has). She can ignore the party members (which she has). She can ignore voters (which she has). She currently has God-like powers, at least until December when she can face another internal party vote, which she could well win despite everything because everyone on her payroll gets a vote.
Even a Parliamentary vote of No Confidence in her government doesn’t necessarily bring her down, because she can still carry on as PM for 14 days, agreeing new delays, and if no new government is formed from the existing MPs in that 14 days, an early election is held. And guess who will be the leading the Tories into it? Theresa May again! Because even if she loses a Parliamentary vote of No Confidence, that doesn’t stop her being leader of the Conservatives. To someone in her situation determined to carry on, they can. There’s very little anyone can do to stop her, even if the whole country is against her. You’d have more chance of starting up a new party and trying to win that way than getting her out of the Conservatives.
I'd laugh if they removed the whip off her… https://t.co/GuMX2fxhhC
— Jon (@NorthernPleb) April 3, 2019
But even if they did, she could still carry on. She can be PM without a party.
Update 2: I should qualify my claim that she has dictator-like powers. In many ways she’s powerless. She can’t pass any legislation by herself, including her own WA. And she’s only kept in power by supportive MPs. But what she does have is the ability to keep preventing Brexit indefinitely, and it’s very, very difficult to remove her.
That is, in effect, what she has done (as I predicted she would a while ago). She has crossed the floor to become a de facto member of the Labour Party so that she can can get a Labourised version of her deal through.
And there’s nothing much the Conservatives can do about it (at least there’s no much that they will do about it, being a party of cucks, who are anyway led by people who are on her side). They can’t get rid of her via an internal party No Confidence vote, because they foolishly blew that yearly chance in December. Yes, their constitution allows no way to get rid of a leader who plots with their opposition. That was well thought through, wasn’t it?
And they can’t bring her down with resignations, and quiet words, or member revolts, because she’s just going to ignore anything like that. Until she is formally and legally forced out of power, she won’t go anywhere. A quiet word in her ear is no more likely to bring about her stepping down that it would with Henry VIII. And she’s surrounded by Remainer civil servants and advisors who won’t let her. They are fanatics committed to stopping Brexit, and nothing will deter them from pushing her out again and again to mouth the same thing over and over for infinity. It’s the infinity wars.
And in infinity, you have time to try everything until something works. This time she’s trying getting into bed with Labour. If that doesn’t work, she’ll delay again, and try something else. Or bring back the zombie WA. Or something else again. That’s the way British life is going to be now. All she has to do is keep trying until the Brexiteers finally slip up. They only have to slip up once, and she wins.
You know when someone pretends to apologise but really they don’t? Nick Boles is using the ‘pretend acceptance of failure’, where he appears to admit that he has failed, but then he says that really it was someone else’s fault.
Nick, you need to ring around some of your Conservative party mates and… convince them to piss off as well.
Let’s suppose May is forced out before too long. I think if she agrees a long delay on April 12 then she can’t continue. But we’ve said that before. On the other hand, if she manages to get some sort of deal through Parliament, then she should step down in accordance with her promise. But again,we can’t rely on that.
But let’s suppose it does happen, and the Tories need a new leader. At that point the Leavers will have the advantage, if they play their cards right. According to this article, “157 Tory MPs voted for no deal”. 157 Tories is easily enough to get a Leaver to the final two, and a Leaver up against a Remainer will easily win the vote from the members. He or she can then install a dynamic Leave cabinet, and sack all the Wormtongues like Barwell and Robbins. And then if more local associations start deselecting Remainers and MPs then the Conservative party will suddenly be revived.
All the Leavers have to do is get together first and decide who it’s going to be, Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, or whoever. But they must cooperate. If they fight over it – if two of them decide to fight it out in the official leadership voting – then the Leavers will have not just shot themselves in the foot, but they’ll have lit a match in a dynamite factory, and the whole party will be blown to bits. Maybe that will be a good thing in the long term, but as far as getting a real Brexit happening we need a Conservative Party on the side of Leave. So it is imperative that the Leavers agree a Leave candidate. This is no time for egos. (But first, of course, May will have to be dragged out of No. 10 kicking and screaming.)
From Sam Duncan in the comments:
I’ve thought for about three weeks that our only hope is for the EU to refuse an extension and, effectively, kick us out. Clearly the PM doesn’t want us to leave, or she’d have let us.
I thought it would happen with a veto at last Thursday’s Council, however the Commission is now making noises to that effect. Not that it’s up to the Commission, mind you, but still. It’s something.
“She keeps saying ‘There’s a risk Brexit may be cancelled’, but the only one who can cancel it is her.”
Of course, that’s all part of the Plan: produce an unacceptable BRINO “deal”, plant the idea in the public mind that it is “Brexit”, then blame the Brexiteers for the ensuing mess.
We saw it all this week: “You could have had Brexit on Friday if you’d supported the ‘deal’”. But we couldn’t. The May-Junker treaty wasn’t Brexit. “Hardline Brexit extremists” “killed Brexit” by refusing to compromise. No they didn’t. Brexiteers killed a treaty that would have continued EU jurisdiction in this country for an indefinite period. At some point, compromise crosses the line into surrender, and that’s it right there. They did produce at least three compromise solutions that I’m aware of – some of which went further than I, personally, would be comfortable with, for what that’s worth – and every one was rejected either by Parliament, or the Speaker himself (for some reason).
The Prime Minister killed Brexit (pro-tem, at least) by asking for an extension to the negotiation period when a) there’s nothing to negotiate; the other side refuses to go back to the table, and b) she wasn’t obliged to. It’s all on her head.
Most of the commentariat don’t seem to get this point. And neither do most people, apart from Leavers who’ve been paying attention. No Parliamentary vote was needed for No Deal. All Theresa May had to do was not ask the EU for the delay. She was not required to ask for a delay by the recent Parliamentary vote concerning a delay, because that was not binding. And Parliament had already signalled its commitment to No Deal by a proper Act of Parliament (the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018. So nothing was required to achieve it, merely the absence of a request would have done.
I write this after reading a column on Brexit by Andrew Roberts. Roberts, as far as I can tell, is a fine man, a seriously distinguished scholar, and has pretty much the same views as me. The column is excellent and I would heartily recommend it, except for this puzzling bit:
When it finally became unavoidably clear that the Remain-supporting Parliament, led by its Speaker, was intent on subverting the clearly-expressed will of the people, Mrs May should have called another vote of confidence in her Government like the one she won on January 16. After facing down her Remainer rebels and winning, she could then, as is her constitutional right, have asked The Queen to prorogue Parliament until April 1. By the time Parliament reconvened, Brexit would have happened, most probably using a series of sensible bilateral deals to preserve a trading status quo that benefits everyone.
There was no need for Theresa May to call for a vote of confidence, or ask the Queen prorogue Parliament, if she had wanted No Deal. All she would have needed to do in that case was not ask for the delay. And not present the SI that modified the exist date to Parliament. That’s it. Keep the conveyor belt of preparatory No Deal legislation going, obviously, but nothing else was required. Parliament couldn’t force her to delay. And as the saying goes, you can’t take No Deal off the table, because No Deal is the table, so she just needed to take her wretched WA off the table, and wait.
The same applies now. A No Deal Brexit is the default on April 12 UNLESS May asks for another extension (assuming she doesn’t get some bullshit deal through before then). She has to actively stop No Deal for it not to happen, and that is what she is doing. Technically, she is still the one with the power, despite all her loss of authority. She still holds the future on the country in her hands. She is the one actively preventing No Deal. She keep saying ‘There’s a risk Brexit may be cancelled’, but the only one who can cancel it is her.
There are lots of traitors in Parliament at the moment, and in the civil service (the ones advising May in particular), but in the end she is the Queen of the Traitors. She is the one stopping Brexit, not the DUP or the ERG.
So Theresa May is talking about calling an early election. To get that she would need two-thirds of Parliament to vote for it. (This is assuming she doesn’t go the humiliating route of trying to pass a vote of no confidence in her own government).
Two-thirds of Parliament is 434 votes, which will probably require about 119 Conservative MPs to vote for it. Is that really going to happen? Can you really see 119 Tory MPs wanting to campaign for another election with Theresa May, the most hated PM ever, as leader? An election that will be held on the basis of promoting her zombie Withdrawal Agreement and trying to get it through yet again? With the WA in the manifesto? An election that will see many local Conservative constituencies and members refusing to campaign? In which many Conservative MPs will have been recently deselected (as has happened to the loathsome Dominic Grieve tonight)?
The TIGgers – or, as they are now known, the CUKs – are unlikely to vote for an early election either, as they’ll probably all lose their seats. Some of May’s cronies and suck-ups may come on board, but 119? In the midst of total chaos and disillusionment with the party? With Remainer MPs who know they’ll lose their seats, and who are consequently trying their hardest to stop Brexit before the scheduled 2022 election happens? May has become an insane leader who will destroy whatever she can to build her castles in the sky, with her strings pulled by a Remainer cabal of advisors who are all using her to ruin Brexit (not to mention the country and the Conservative Party, which they care not a fig for). The madness of King George had nothing on this.