Solomon, meet Alexander the Great

Solomon relied on wisdom and Alexander on soldierly directness to solve tough problems in ingenious ways involving cutting implements. It’s distressing to observe that, in solving the problem of leaving the EU, HMG is displaying neither quality.

Justice Secretary Liz ‘Elizabeth’ Truss has announced that, sorry about the manifesto pledge and all that, but the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will remain in place until after the 2020 general election and possibly beyond.

“The British Bill of Rights,” she explained, “is not something we can do at the same time as we are putting through the Great Repeal Bill… It’s important we only do one constitution reform at a time.”

This is arrant nonsense on more levels that one finds in a modern skyscraper. Where are Solomon and Alexander when we need them to sort out our government?

Solomon, having cast an eye over Britain’s political tradition, would explain to Miss Truss that there are no two constitutional reforms under way, nor even one. There’s simply a repair job.

Allow me to explain so that even our ministers can understand. The other day a careless driver damaged a side mirror on my car. My local mechanic Mark fixed it at a cost of £75. Can you say he reformed my car? Of course not. Mark simply returned it to its original state.

Extrapolating ever so slightly, leaving the EU is tantamount only to a quick repair job, not a constitutional reform. The job does involve more than one step, but we used to be blessed with politicians who could walk and… well, do that other thing at the same time.

Solomon would then deductively proceed from the general to the specific by explaining to Miss Truss that Britain needs the ECHR like he himself needed another wife. He already had 700 of them, plus 300 concubines, and Britain has for centuries had enough legal provisions to satisfy the most insatiable lust for human rights.

The rights of Englishmen is a notion predating the ECHR by some 800 years, and in the intervening period the concept has grown in both scope and depth. There have been glitches here and there, but on the whole Britain has done rather well in that respect, and manifestly better than any other country in Europe.

Our constitution is arguably the best and certainly the longest-lasting the world has ever seen. And as Lucius Cary said almost 400 years ago, “If it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”

The ECHR was thrust down our throats by the most revolting personage ever to disgrace 10 Downing Street. Tony Blair remembered what a great time he had had waiting on tables in Paris in his youth and decided once again to be subservient to the French and Germans.

Because France, where young Tony used to serve customers, is a revolutionary republic, its constitution lacks an organic claim to legitimacy. Hence nothing goes without saying, or rather writing.

Every little legal quirk has to be put down on paper, and no constitution can survive for long. Since 1789 France has had 17 different constitutions, each spawning a plethora of new laws. These come down from top to bottom, originating in the fecund minds of avocats who bang their clever heads together to lord it over the French.

By contrast, English Common Law, vectored from bottom to top, has throughout history built a solid capital of justice and legitimacy, accepted as such by all. Thus a switch to the continental system of positive law exemplified by the ECHR flies in the face of Lucius Cary’s (and Solomon’s) wisdom.

The ECHR is no more synonymous with human rights than the European Union is with Europe, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with democracy, republicanism or indeed people. The continentals are welcome to it, but their meat is our poison.

Over to you, Alexander. How do we solve Liz Truss’s problem? (And please don’t tell her to start by using her full name, rather than its emetically populist contraction. She’s a modern, not Macedonian, politician.)

There’s no time in her busy schedule to leave both the EU and the ECHR because the latter involves a lot of messing about with a custom-made British Bill of Rights. How can the poor girl solve this conundrum?

Simple, says the Hegemon. Leave the ECHR effective today and forget any new Bill of Rights. We already have one such, passed in 1689 after the Glorious Revolution, as the Dutch occupation is commonly known. Didn’t need that one either, as we didn’t need the Glorious Revolution – but that’s a different story.

Just take care of freeing our ancient constitution from the yoke of European legalism, and human rights will take care of themselves. As they have done for a lot more centuries than France has been a revolutionary republic, Germany a unified country or the ECHR a twinkle in anyone’s eye.

Having thus chopped through that knot, Alexander returned to history, followed by the wise King Solomon. We, on the other hand, are stuck in the present, where we’re ruled by nonentities like Liz ‘Elizabeth’ Truss.

 

Don’t hesitate to say the F-word

No, not the one you think. Another, longer word, deriving from the Etruscan symbol of a magistrate’s power. That symbol, a bundle of wooden rods, was called fasces.

Later the word passed on, via ancient Rome, to 20th century Italy, where its derivative described a socialist heresy. When this movement reached Germany, it acquired a more descriptive name: national socialism.

Terminological precision matters, if only to prevent a word from acquiring such a broad meaning that it stops meaning anything much. So Italian fascism and Nazism aren’t identical.

The most salient difference is racism, which was fundamental to the latter but not to the former. There are other differences as well, but for the moment let’s concentrate on the commonalities. What the two regimes had in common could be described as fascism in a supra-Italian sense.

Persons of the leftish persuasion often describe anyone to their right as fascist. This reinforces my conviction born out of lifelong observation that left-wingers aren’t just misguided, strident and ignorant but also stupid.

One defining characteristic of intellect is the ability to discriminate among various concepts, which heavily relies on taxonomic precision. Hence using the same term to describe Benito Mussolini and, say, Margaret Thatcher is a clinically valid symptom of idiocy. The two have nothing in common, other than the fact that lefties dislike them both.

Yet it’s possible, with all appropriate disclaimers and qualifications, to use the term ‘fascist’ in a broad sense. This presupposes some core characteristics, and indeed they exist.

Fascism combines nationalism (with or without a racist dimension) in philosophy with populist demagoguery in rhetoric, corporatist socialism in economics and statism in politics. Violence is extraneous to this definition for being derivative. Violence in se isn’t the goal; it’s only a means, which may or may not be required.

If required, fascist governments won’t hesitate to use it to the most gruesome extreme, as they did in Germany. If not, they’ll use it with relative moderation, as they did in Italy, pre-Anschluss Austria or pre-war Poland.

This longish definition means that calling, say, Margaret Thatcher or Donald Trump fascists says nothing at all about them, while saying a lot about the caller. He’s a stupid leftie, and I’m sorry about sounding so tautological.

Neither Thatcher nor Trump is a nationalist though both are patriots (a valid distinction). Both can be described as populist (Trump more, Thatcher less) in that they appeal to the masses directly, over the head of the political establishment. Trump uses demagoguery more than Thatcher did, but not nearly as much as Hitler or Mussolini. Neither statism nor corporatist socialism has much to do with either Thatcher or Trump.

In short, if you accept my definition of fascism, neither Thatcher nor Trump qualifies. But Marine Le Pen does.

Nationalist – yes. Populist – yes. Demagogue – yes. Statist – yes. Socialist – yes. Marine ticks all the boxes.

Now there’s one feature of fascism that puts it side by side with communism and, in modern politics, nothing else. It’s evil.

Under duress I could accept that a socialist, especially a young one, may be misguided. After all, not many people are capable of delving into politics as deeply as the subject requires, and most are guided by their feelings rather than thoughts.

It’s even possible to imagine that a socialist, while unwittingly working to an evil end, may be driven by good motives. Impressionable simpletons often are, and God save us from them.

But no such assumption can be made about either communism or fascism. Both are unequivocally evil. Both presuppose tyranny as the starting point, not, as conceivably could be the case with socialism, an unintended if assured consequence.

This, regardless of whether or not we like some policies fascists advocate. For example, I share Le Pen’s opposition to the EU. But the destruction of that wicked contrivance should be brought about by a revolt proceeding from noble motives. If it’s defeated by fascism, we may discover that the cure is worse than the disease.

Fascism only ever succeeds in a climate of collective psychosis. That condition, albeit so far in a relatively mild form, exists in France.

Political conservatism can’t exist there even in theory, what with modern France at its founding being a revolutionary republic. What can French conservatives possibly wish to conserve? The heinous, mutually exclusive fallacies of liberté, egalité, fraternité?

Add to this the unhealed trauma of having been conquered by Germany 77 years ago, and you’ll understand why the French are collectively ready for the analyst’s couch.

They sense that the established order is letting them down badly, and the brighter ones among them realise that their affection for a German-dominated EU is a form of the Stockholm syndrome. But what’s the alternative?

Real conservatism is impossible (monarchists are regarded as harmless oddballs in France, sort of like flat-earthers). Communism is out of fashion. The Word of God could stop fascism in its tracks, but it’s muted by laïcité.

In today’s globalised world no land is an island, not even Britain. So, if in the next election Le Pen proves to be mightier than the Word, we’ll all feel the shock waves.

Two dads aren’t better than one

A newspaper story caught my eye and evoked all sort of thoughts, associations and historical facts.

Back in 1998, two homosexual men, who today would be married and, if they could wait a year or two, possibly in church, adopted two toddlers from a Russian orphanage in Ulyanovsk.

With the factual precision so typical of today’s press, the paper refers to the place as “a frozen wasteland 550 miles east of Moscow”. In fact, it’s a major industrial centre on the Volga inhabited by over 600,000 souls.

Some of them are no doubt proud of living in the birthplace of Alexander Kerensky, the last head of the Provisional Government ousted by the 1917 Bolshevik coup. Conceivably more of them take pride in sharing their birthplace with the chap who led the coup, Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin), after whom the city is named.

But this historical detour is by the bye. What matters is the present, along with the more recent past.

The two adopters were ecstatic: for obvious reasons they never thought they’d be able to experience the joy of fatherhood, or motherhood if you’d rather. Yet the joy turned out not to be so joyous.

Another detour, if I may, this one from personal experience. Many years ago, two of my friends, both university professors, had despaired of producing a child. So they adopted a lovely baby boy and raised him the way cultured parents raise their children.

Sure enough, the boy grew up a nice, kind-hearted, well-read young man. The trouble was he wasn’t very bright. Hard as he tried, he couldn’t do well at school, which saddened my friends. They loved him, he loved them, tried his best to please them, but nurture didn’t unequivocally triumph over nature.

One hates to generalise on the basis of limited information, but it stands to reason that most parents putting up their children for adoption don’t pass on perfect genes. In some cases, the genes may be so imperfect that no amount of loving care will work.

As it didn’t in this story. Both boys were abandoned by their mothers at birth and, at the time they were adopted and brought to London, they were dying of malnutrition and neglect, which is par for the course in Russian orphanages.

By adopting them, the two Londoners probably saved their lives, but at a significant cost to their own. The smaller boy had learning difficulties, which, to their credit, his two father/mothers managed to overcome. He’s now studying biology at university and, judging by his photograph, is a pleasant youngster.

However, the bigger boy made his father/mothers’ lives a misery. In fact, he put their lives in jeopardy.

The lad started out by breaking the family dog’s tail. Then he moved on to bigger things. He tried to strangle both father/mothers with a dog lead, beat them up, threatened them and his brother with knives and screwdrivers, smashed their furniture and electronic appliances, and even punched holes in the wall (I told you he was big).

Now penniless and despondent, the men took out a restraining order that their foster son ignores. Moreover, by his own admission, the lad “went through a homophobic stage”. That was largely brought on by his classmates who mercilessly teased him about having two fathers.

Now that I’ve let my narrative meander, here’s another historical detour. At the end of the 12th century a young Mongolian chieftain Temüjin’s 16-year-old wife Börte was kidnapped by a hostile tribe. When Temüjin, soon to become Genghis Khan, recovered Börte a year or so later, she was pregnant.

Yet, contrary to biological evidence, Genghis declared her son Jochi his own and promised to impale anyone who contested that declaration. Nonetheless, Mongolian mauvaises langues slyly called Jochi “a son of two fathers” behind his, and wisely his father’s, back.

The classmates of the boy in question didn’t have to be quite so furtive, and the boy grew up fighting every day of his life. He grew up hating not only his mean classmates, but also his father/mothers.

Returning to the nature-vs.-nurture argument, it’s possible that the boy was born such an irredeemably rotten apple to begin with that he’d grow up bad even in a normal family, like the one of my friends from way back.

But it’s not counterintuitive to suppose that the perversely unnatural environment in which he grew up encouraged his bad heredity and suppressed the better part of his character.

Allowing homosexual couples to adopt children goes against, well, just about everything: history, physiology, reason, common sense, theology, philosophy, sociology – even common decency.

I’m sure there’s much anecdotal evidence showing that sometimes such adoptions work out well. But any possible benefits are nothing compared to the fundamental debauchment of the very concept of marriage, family and parenthood inherent in the legalisation of such practices.

The trouble is we can’t even say that any longer: the pagan demiurge of egalitarian political correctness is a wrathful deity, ready to smite any infidel. I just hope that the two homosexual parents won’t lay their lives at this totem pole.

 

Epidemic at Russia’s Foreign Ministry

You won’t find anyone who despises conspiracy theories as thoroughly, and mocks their holders as readily, as I do. There’s a caveat though, as there usually is.

Dismissing conspiracy theories shouldn’t mean denying that perfectly non-theoretical conspiracies do exist, and always have. And when it comes to Russia, they don’t just exist but abound.

For example, in the musical chairs of the Romanov succession, more tsars than not ascended to the throne by violent coup d’état, and in fact the dynasty was ended by a red, as opposed to purple, conspiracy.

This fine tradition was continued and greatly enhanced by the Bolshevik dynasty that has been reigning, mutatis mutandis, for 100 years. As an illegal contrivance to begin with, it has never had provisions for legal succession. New leaders move into the Kremlin as a denouement to only three possible scenarios: assassination, bloodless coup, bogus elections.

Of course secret police is inherently conspiratorial, and in Russia infinitely more so than in any civilised country. The organisation itself has often found itself on the receiving end of conspiracies. It’s only in the last 50 years that its heads have been allowed to retire. All the previous ones fell to conspiracies, historically verified or as near as damn.

Dzerjinsky probably and Menjinsky almost definitely were poisoned. Yagoda, executed. Beria, ditto. Merkulov, ditto. Abakumov, ditto. The murders they themselves had perpetrated were mostly by category, irrespective of any individual wrong-doing.

But they themselves were whacked, to use Col. Putin’s preferred term, for rational reasons, all traceable to some tectonic shifts in the Kremlin. A pattern was always visible to a naked eye, usually with no telescopic magnification necessary.

These days, however, optical instruments come in handy, along with some analytical ability. Murderous patterns bucking statistical odds are still discernible, but analysis isn’t easy.

For example, in the last two months of 1984 no fewer than five defence ministers of Warsaw Pact countries, including the USSR, suffered fatal cardiac arrests. The logician in me refuses to accept that sudden onset of heart trouble as purely coincidental.

The deaths were visible results of invisible struggle, probably of the armies against the increasingly dictatorial power of the secret services. In Russia the process got under way under the aegis of Yuri Andropov, KGB chief turned dictator, who had died earlier that year – but not before passing the relay baton on to his able successors, of whom Putin is the latest and the ablest.

The army continued to suffer attrition both before and during Putin’s tenure. Between 1991 and 2015, 42 Russian generals died, with only three of the deaths possibly attributable to natural causes.

The graph of those deaths shows two noticeable peaks. The first one happened in 2002, when as many generals died as in the previous 11 years combined. The second peak occurred in 2014, with three more generals dying in 2015.

One can only guess at the nature of those peaks, but the guess is reasonably educated. For 2002 was the culmination of Putin’s war in Chechnya; 2014, the beginning of his war in the Ukraine. In both wars, the army had to play a humiliating second fiddle to FSB and Interior Ministry troops, and also to paramilitary formations.

It doesn’t stretch imagination too far to surmise that there was a rumble of discontent among the army’s high command, which could only be quelled in the traditional ‘whacking’ manner that comes so naturally to the ruling KGB junta.

And now another epidemic pattern emerges, that in the Russian foreign service. Since late 2016, several Russian diplomats have died, again defying statistical likelihood. Here are six of the best:

In November, 2016, Sergei Krivoy, head of security at the New York consulate, had his head bashed in fatally.

In December, 2016, Andrey Karlov, ambassador to Turkey, was gunned down in Istanbul.

Just hours later, senior diplomat Petr Polshikov was shot dead in Moscow.

A month ago, Andrey Malanin, Russian consul in Greece was found dead in his bathroom, with the official cause of death rather vague.

Roughly at the same time, Alexander Kadakin, ambassador to India, died of a heart attack, even though he had never suffered from health problems before.

Later, Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative to the UN, died of a heart attack in New York.

Coincidences? Possibly. However, as Russian spies are taught, if coincidences number more than two, they aren’t coincidences.

Trying to explain this blight sweeping through the Russian Foreign Ministry would get us into the area of conjecture, where the charge of spreading conspiracy theories looms. However, if we justifiably refuse to accept all these deaths as coincidental, some explanation is needed.

Back in the 60s and 70s, western analysts tried to figure out the identities of the ‘doves’ and ‘hawks’ in the Soviet Politburo. Actually, they were all hawks, whose disagreements had more to do with tactics than strategy.

Today the situation may well be different. Putin’s kleptofascist junta is made up of offshore billionaires, whose wealth encourages at least some dovelike tendencies. These leaven the bellicose instincts of what the opposition sources call the War Party. Putin himself observes the tussle with avuncular divide et impera equanimity.

It’s conceivable that the diplomats had to die for falling foul of the hawks. It’s also possible they themselves were hawks who had upset the doves. Other possibilities exist too.

One way or another, we should follow the unfolding epidemic with more than just academic interest. The contagion may well affect us.

Migrants make HRH see red

How does one get rid of those blasted un-English creatures? Can’t kill them all, what-what? Not without being accused of various inhumane thingies faster than one can say Camilla.

Banishing them is possible in theory, but how’s one to round them up, millions of those blasted un-English nasties? All the bearskins in London won’t be able to do it, and anyway they’re too busy posing for tourists. A bloody royal pain, that.

They come here, just a few at first. And then, faster than one can say Diana, there are millions of the those bloody un-English creatures, eating the natives out of house and palace.

HRH Prince Charles is especially worked up about migrants from America, who are so bloody pernicious. Yet HRH has come up with an ingenious solution.

If we can neither prevent migrants from coming nor cull them en masse, then at least we can make sure they don’t breed in that oversexed, most un-English way.

To that end HRH is proposing an effective yet humane measure. We could slip powerful oral contraceptives into the migrants’ food, thereby sterilising them for a few years, breaking their reproduction cycle and eventually reducing their numbers. A good thingy too: can’t have too many Yank undesirables here, can we now?

Before you scream Dr Mengele, let me assure you that Prince Charles is blissfully unaware of the broad possibilities inherent in his proposal. And, should he be made aware of them, he’d doubtless be appalled. For all I know, he has no particular animosity toward American immigrants, at least not the human kind.

In fact, judging by his deafening silence on this issue, HRH isn’t concerned about any human immigration whatsoever. And when it comes to Islamic immigration, he positively welcomes it because we have a lot to learn from Muslims, especially that spirituality thingy.

As he explained last Christmas, “I feel that we in the West could be helped to rediscover the roots of our own understanding by an appreciation of the Islamic tradition’s deep respect for the timeless traditions of the natural order.”

Indeed we could. And while at it, we could learn a few other thingies from Muslims as well, such as how to treat women, forgive our enemies and fly large planes into tall buildings.

The didactic possibilities are endless, but migrants preoccupying HRH at the moment aren’t Muslim. It’s not Homo sapiens he’s worried about, but Sciurus carolinensis.

Grey squirrels. It’s those American migrants that HRH wants to sterilise to kingdom come, even before his own kingdom comes.

How did those undesirables originally cross the Atlantic to arrive at our shores? As far as I know, they can neither fly nor walk on water. Anyway, arrive they did and immediately set about oppressing the native English reds (red squirrels, that is, not Jeremy Corbyn types).

Being American, greys are bigger, stronger and brasher than diffident English reds. Hence they beat reds to available food, leaving them to starve to death. Moreover, greys also carry a virus fatal to reds. As a result, the current grey population of Britain stands at a huge 3.5 million, while the native reds have been reduced to a derisory 140,000.

If you’re seeking human parallels, don’t expect any from me. And certainly don’t expect them from Prince Charles. He’s just concentrating on the task at hand, that sterilisation thingy.

Now grey squirrels are classed as vermin in Britain, making it possible to kill them without the kind of repercussions one would suffer if harming a human intruder. So, rather than spending millions on HRH’s flavour of the month, why not just cull them?

That wouldn’t cost a penny and could in fact make quite a few. The government could for example organise fee-paying squirrel-shooting parties on public and National Trust lands. Enough people in Britain are happy to pay for the privilege of shooting pheasants, and those poor birds do nobody any harm. So why not squirrels?

Truth be told, HRH and other RHs have been known to bring down a bird or two (or two hundred) on a sporting weekend, so he can’t possibly have compunctions about solving the grey problem that way.

Actually, he does. He favours sterilisation because it’s a humane alternative to culling. To be consistent, HRH must immediately donate his collection of Purdey shotguns to a Muslim charity. No, perhaps that’s a bad idea. But you get my point.

To be perfectly honest, as an inveterate urbanist I don’t care a certain portion of squirrel anatomy what colour most of those tree-climbing rats are. Reds are prettier, but I can satisfy my aesthetic cravings in other ways.

Apparently, greys also strip the bark off broadleaved trees, leaving them exposed to disease. That I do care about, but not as much as I do about other thingies.

Such as our royals systematically being reduced to figureheads allowed to speak only on trivial issues or ideally none at all. Squirrels interest me too, though in a different way.

Genetically, reds and greys are some 20 times further apart than humans and chimps, who share 99 per cent of their active genetic material. And yet, their colour and size apart, the two squirrels look the same to an untrained observer, while humans and chimps don’t.

Therefore squirrels can act as a starting point of inquiry into the nature of humanity, at the end of which perhaps lies the realisation that there’s more than genetic makeup to being human.

I’d love to hear such thoughts from HRH, when he has a spare moment from extolling Muslim spirituality. But I won’t. He’s preoccupied with that sterilisation thingy.

 

Waiter, it’s we who’ll have to wait

If EU migrants leave, it’ll take “years and years” for British workers to fill the vacated low-skilled jobs, warned Brexit Secretary David Davis.

He specifically highlighted the gaping holes to be left in hospitality, agriculture and social care. “We’re a successful economy… talented people come to Britain,” Mr Davis explained.

Far be it from me to suggest that it takes little talent to serve pizzas, dig up potatoes and take out bedpans. It is, however, hard to accept that our native pool of talent has run so dry that, but for migrants, our restaurants will have to become self-serve and our spuds will rot in the ground.

It’s true that about 40 per cent of such jobs are currently done by migrants. But it’s not true that the British are constitutionally incapable of citing today’s specials or picking apples.

The problem isn’t that they can’t do such jobs. It’s that they won’t. And the root of that problem isn’t constitutional but institutional.

Responsibility lies with the very same HMG that Mr Davis serves. And the same institution could solve the problem in… well, perhaps not one fell swoop, but certainly faster than “years and years”.

First, why aren’t Britons filling those jobs? Is our education so superior that it churns out nothing but prodigies ready to become computer programmers, fund managers and Brexit Secretaries?

In fact, our education is the laughingstock of the world. The literacy rate in Britain is lower now than it was in the 1890s, and our commendably comprehensive schools are churning out not prodigies but illiterate, deracinated youngsters with feral faces, tattoos and a sense of entitlement.

Nevertheless one doesn’t have to be a scholar to ask ‘still or sparkling?’. So why do we need migrants, many of whom can’t even ask ‘still or sparkling?’ so we’ll understand? Why can’t our home-grown Tom, Dick and Harry do that?

Simple. Tom, Dick and Harry don’t have to demean themselves by performing such menial tasks because they have an alternative source of income. It’s variously called ‘social’, ‘benefits’ or ‘welfare’.

Now sociologists will tell you that what drives people into work are two impulses: quest for survival and desire to get ahead in life. They’ll also tell you that the former is much more powerful and widespread than the latter.

Just about anyone will do any job if his breakfast depended on it. Only a minority, albeit perhaps a large one, will work hard to be able to move from a free council flat into an expensive semi.

Readily available benefits won’t satisfy such potential high achievers. But benefits will reduce the survival instinct in the other group to practically nothing. Welfare recipients won’t live well, but they know they’ll live.

Potential high achievers won’t be seeking lowly jobs. They’ll all want to be computer programmers, fund managers or, at a pinch, Brexit Secretaries. It’s those currently on benefits who’d compete with Romanians and Bulgarians if their benefits dried up.

We’re talking significant numbers here: about 8.9 million 16-64 year-olds are out of work. Some, let’s be generous and say half, of them can’t work for health and other legitimate reasons. HMG must look after them, even though our disability-benefit rolls suggest we have more cripples now than in the aftermath of either World War.

That still leaves millions of those who could feed themselves but won’t – and haven’t, often for three generations in the same family. This isn’t so much fair as foul play: in the absence of socialist brainwashing, surely most hard-working people would sense the injustice of having to pay for sponging layabouts.

Spending over 35 per cent of the budget on hand-outs creates a massive economic problem, which is self-explanatory. But the attendant social and cultural problems are much deadlier. For creating a vast lumpen underclass subsisting on benefits produces an accelerating knock-on effect in just about every area of life.

It’s mostly this underclass that swells all sorts of undesirable statistics: crime, teenage pregnancies, STDs, drug addiction, single-parent families and so forth. The last one is particularly devastating.

Provider state has squeezed itself into the slot occupied in the past by provider father. Thus made redundant, the father flees. In fact, our council estates operate a zero-sum game: every time a child is born, a man disappears.

This has dire effects on society at large, for the family is its building block. Knock that block out, and the whole social structure becomes a rubble heap.

But enough theorising. In the spirit of much-touted British pragmatism, here’s a practical solution, reducing Mr Davis’s “years and years” to six months.

Once the migrants have vacated their unskilled jobs and left the country, HMG announces that, following a six-month grace period, all benefits for able-bodied Britons will be stopped.

Businesses requiring low-skilled employees will at the same time receive one-off subsidies to beef up their advertising in the Appointments sections and to train the newcomers.

You’d be amazed how quickly the untapped reserves of British talent will erupt into life. And I’d be amazed if any such difficult solution can even be mentioned in Westminster. Filling Britain to the gunwales with migrants is so much easier.

Can you understand this sentence?

“The associates are known to each other solely as seekers of substantive satisfactions obtainable only in their responses to one another’s conditional offers of satisfactions or threatened results to provide, or to assist in providing, a sought-for satisfaction; and they are related in terms of their power to seek or to make such offers or to threaten or resist such refusals, and perhaps also in the recognition and use of such instruments (e.g. money), practices (e.g. promises) or maxims (caveat emptor) as they may have devised to promote the effective use of their power.”

If you can, you’re a better man than I am, even if you’re a woman. And I must admit to shameful pride: I hate it when others can understand things I can’t.

I have an exaggerated (some will say misplaced) trust in my mental acuity. As part of it, I believe I can get my mind around anything conceived by another mind, provided it’s in an area I know something about, even if it’s not that much.

Such areas include history, political science, theology, linguistics, various branches of philosophy, law – that sort of thing. Humanities, in a word.

Mention something like quantum mechanics and watch my eyes glass over. It takes a secondary school textbook to take me out of my depth, and I only refrain from saying ‘primary school’ out of the same foolish pride.

But my ability to understand things I mentioned is decent, though it isn’t innate. Over a lamentably long lifetime I’ve trained myself to read, comprehend and occasionally even to write books on such subjects.

Thankfully, most of such books I’ve read, and all I’ve written, are in English. There’s indeed much to be grateful for, because English is marvellously suited to communicating complex thoughts in simple sentences.

Anyone who has tried to read, say, Hegel, Fichte or Kant will confirm that not all languages are like that. The Germans don’t seem to mind convoluted thought and involuted style. Their minds must work that way, God bless them.

The English mind doesn’t (and neither, by adoption and co-option, does mine). That’s why that mind has produced over millennia the best possible language, this side of Latin, for putting complex thoughts simply – or at least as simply as possible.

English has by far the largest vocabulary of all European languages, three times as large as in Russian, for example. That often enables a writer to find one precise word to communicate something that in other languages may take a dozen. Try saying ‘privacy’ in a single Russian or French word and you’ll know what I mean.

Also, English revolves around the verb, which gives it the dynamism other languages lack. The Germans tuck their verbs to the end of sentences, the French surround them with swarms of parasites, and the Russians often dispense with them altogether.

Partly because of its reliance on verbs, English is less welcoming than other languages to strings of subordinate clauses. These prefer nominal antecedents, fleeing from verbs the way demons flee from the cross. English will at times be kind enough to accept one or two, but it’ll turn most away (one wishes our immigration services practised the same approach).

English also encourages, nay demands, concision. It’ll grudgingly accept a longish sentence, provided it’s easy to read. But it’ll indignantly reject tangled-up jumbles like the quoted 94-word monster.

For all these reasons English is a precious gift to a writer on the subjects I mentioned earlier. But the gift is reciprocal. English doesn’t just give; it also demands.

It creates not only battalions of lucid and precise writers but also armies of readers who expect lucid and precise writing. I’m one such, and I abhor complicated prose as much as I welcome the complex kind.

I try – how successfully isn’t for me to judge – to compliment the reader by believing he can grasp any of my thoughts, and to reward him by making it as easy as the thought allows. This is a simple courtesy and, as with all simple courtesies, also a duty.

This brings me back to the quoted sentence. It comes from the book On History, which has adorned my bookshelves ever since Michael Oakeshott published it in 1983. Once a year or so I embark on the obstacle race of reading it, only to stumble each time over yet another hurdle.

Occasionally I can backtrack once or twice, inhale deeply, take a longer run-up and clear the verbal obstacle. Often I can’t.

It has taken me 33 years to wade through two-thirds of On History, which is the point where the quoted sentence stopped me dead this time.

Yes, I know that the late LSE professor is beautiful, a conservative philosopher and generally one of the PLUs (People Like Us). But, nil nisi bonum and all that, he was rude.

He refused to pay me the courtesy of making his prose understandable. So I don’t see why I should pay him the courtesy of reading what sounds like an inept translation from bad German.

Oh, I suppose one must keep trying. I must overcome my natural suspicion that involuted writing is there to camouflage convoluted thought. We are, after all, talking about one of the LSE’s finest, a conservative oasis in a desert of Fabian tosh.

But please help me over this hurdle so I can get on with it. What does the damn sentence mean?

Is Blair actually human?

Denying the humanity of those we dislike is wrong on many levels.

Theologically, we thereby deny that we’re all siblings in that we all have the same Father.

Philosophically, we thereby deny several millennia’s worth of historical evidence (not to mention the doctrine of original sin) by implying that evil is so alien to human nature that evil people can’t possibly be human.

Scientifically, we thereby deny that all people are put together roughly the same way. No, Blair is definitely a Homo sapiens and, if those Miranda reports are true, in his younger days he was also a Homo erectus.

On these bases, I shan’t insist that Blair isn’t human. But surely one is allowed to pose the eponymous question rhetorically?

For Blair lacks most characteristics associated with humanity. One such is morality, against which most of us transgress.

Blair doesn’t. Unlike most of us, he simply has no concept of right and wrong. Whatever suits him at the moment is right, whatever doesn’t is wrong, it’s as simple as that.

Corollary to that is his inability to feel shame, as demonstrated by his brazen attempt to regain power. Yet the Chilcot report, regrettably not followed by a criminal charge, proves that Blair lied to get us into the Iraq War.

And that’s not all. Having criminally caused the on-going Middle Eastern disaster, Blair vandalised our constitution by creating unnecessary bodies, such as the Supreme Court, and emasculating the necessary ones, such as the House of Lords and the office of Lord Chancellor.

In 2004 he also went along with the EU’s suicidal decision to admit unlimited numbers of immigrants from places where hatred of the West is an article of faith. All that would be enough to make most people withdraw into solitude and try to come to terms with their shame. Not Blair.

Nor is he burdened with such a basic human virtue as gratitude. Just look at his relationship with Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch created Blair politically. Without Murdoch’s News Corporation, Blair would have remained an obscure Labour MP shunned by his parliamentary colleagues for his insane ambition unsupported by any discernible qualifications.

Gratitude would have been in order, but what did Blair do? He had an affair with the old man’s young wife, doubtless causing him no end of grief.

When entertaining Mrs Murdoch, Blair was no longer PM. He was busy making millions, every one of them in ways consistent with his amorality. Blair has never met a bloodthirsty tyrant he couldn’t love, provided the cheques didn’t bounce.

For example, no self-respecting man would want to sully his hands with the dirty lucre paid out by Nursultan Nazarbayev, who turned Kazakhstan into one of the world’s biggest Mafia families. Yet Blair is proud to have that despot among his clients, one of many such personages on his list.

The scary news is that Blair has launched a political comeback. Having spotted “a massive hole in British politics”, he clearly expects the currently unelectable Labour party to bring him back, putting all its rotten eggs into one bastard.

To that end he has launched a comeback campaign, marshalling the support of cross-party malcontents, especially those like Nick Clegg who are desperate to undermine Brexit. Keeping Britain in the EU at all costs is the Trojan horse Blair has saddled to ride back to power. The ensign flapping off his lance has ‘second referendum’ written on it.

His “mission” is to persuade Britons to “rise up” against Brexit, even though they’ve unreservedly risen up for it. Yes, but they did so “without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit”.

That may be true, but the implication is that the Remainers had weighed every one of those ‘true terms’ in the balance before casting their vote. In fact, they’re just as ignorant – or even more so, for they don’t realise that there’s only one ‘true term’ that matters: Britain’s sovereignty, to be either regained or lost for ever.

According to Blair there’s “a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge” spearheaded by 52 per cent of the voters: “If a significant part of that 52 per cent show real change of mind, … we should have the opportunity to reconsider this decision.”

I’m not an unequivocal champion of democracy, but Blair pretends he is. Doesn’t he realise that, using the same logic, every democratic vote can be reversed – certainly including all those elections that got this amoral nonentity into 10 Downing Street?

The Brexit majority was solid by any modern standards, and the subsequent Commons motion to invoke Article 50 was passed by one of the greatest majorities in parliamentary history. So shall we ignore Parliament as well as the popular vote?

“This issue is the single most important decision this country has taken since the Second World War,” Blair says, “and debate can’t now be shut down about it.” What, ever? Suppose he gets his illegal second referendum and loses it. Should we then have another one and then another, ad infinitum? Can anything shut this debate down?

Also, I dare say ‘the most important decision’ has been to debauch our constitution at Maastricht by turning Her Majesty into an EU citizen – not the decision to restore the status quo that goes back two millennia.

Technically speaking, Blair is human. But he acts like an animal brought into this life to do just one thing, with no inner freedom to do anything else.

Blair’s real ‘mission’ is Blair, just like a predator’s mission is to kill and devour weaker creatures. A tiger pounces when it smells a prey; Blair pounces when he smells an opportunity for self-aggrandisement.

In pursuit of this mission he displays superhuman determination – and subhuman ghastliness.

A kind word for Trump

Even his mother wouldn’t insist that Trump’s presidency is off to a flying start. However, we shouldn’t let our milk of human kindness turn sour. Even if we can’t sympathise with the president, let’s try to empathise with him.

Yes, he lacks the subtlety without which it’s hard to get anything done in US politics. Yes, his links with Putin are suspect, and those of his advisors are even worse. Yes, he doesn’t realise that some ideas good in theory aren’t achievable in practice. Yes, there might be skeletons buried in his cupboard.

All that is true. However, none of it was a secret on 8 November, 2016, when his country voted to put Trump into the White House.

As my regular readers know, I have reservations about modern democracy run riot. However, Americans are confident that arithmetic, rather than, say, philosophy, history or political science, is the best discipline to apply to the task of choosing their government.

Operating within this system of political thought, once chosen, the government must be allowed to get on with its job. The US, after all, is a republic, not a direct democracy. People don’t make political decisions – they choose those who make decisions for them.

Now, looking at the anaphoric paragraph above, where every sentence starts with “Yes’, and realising that none of that prevented Trump from being elected, we should expect the country to unite behind him and let him do his best.

This should include those who didn’t vote for Trump or may even abhor him. They must realise that the country has much to gain from his success and much to lose from his failure.

Now, I’ve often deplored Trump’s links with Putin. If it can be proved that Trump isn’t acting as a free agent in that relationship, this would constitute grounds not just for impeachment but for criminal prosecution.

Yet since no such proof has so far been presented, we’re duty-bound to discard this possibility and ascribe Trump’s obvious affection for Putin to ignorance, a failing he shares with too many people to mention.

Other than that, he obviously lacks the experience required for his job. But then, unless a president is elected for a second term, the same can be said about any candidate – none of them has been president before.

I’m not sure to what extent experience in other political jobs prepares a person for US presidency. Hillary Clinton, for example, has plenty of political experience. So, to balance things politically, does Sarah Palin. Would either of them make a better president than Trump?

The president is ludicrously accused of trying to suppress freedom of the press – just because he referred to the Fourth Estate as “enemies of the American people”.

The phrase ‘enemy of the people’ was coined during the French Revolution and popularised by the Soviets via Ibsen. Hence Trumps’ use of the phrase is unfortunate, but then he probably neither knows much about the French and Russian revolutions nor has seen the Ibsen play.

In his press relations, Trump does act like a cornered animal. But could it be because he’s indeed cornered? As Golda Meir once said, even paranoids have real enemies.

Look, for example, at how the media pounced when Trump’s statement about Muslim immigration to Sweden could be construed as a reference to a specific terrorist act. He should have phrased more precisely, but violence is being committed by new arrivals to Sweden every day. Stockholm bystanders are killed by hand grenades tossed by Somali gangsters. Malmö, which is 40 per cent Muslim, has more murders than the rest of Scandinavia combined.

Freedom of the press, or of anything else, comes packaged with responsibility. The latter is the price of the former.

Whatever one thinks of Trump, it’s impossible to say that the press has treated him responsibly. Ill-founded, savage, almost universal attacks are the order of the day, with Trump being routinely compared to Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and other unsavoury personages.

I don’t recall anything remotely like that since Watergate – and Nixon had committed a crime. Exactly what crime has Trump committed?

We could go over his proposed policies and find some of them good (such as lowering business taxes) and some questionable, such as his protectionism – especially since it’s expressed in the language of a barroom in a bad part of town.

It was quite funny when the president extolled Made-in-America rectitude when standing in front of a Boeing aircraft featuring a Rolls-Royce engine, along with hundreds of other imported components. But funny doesn’t mean criminal.

The ‘progressive’ media are baiting Trump not for anything he does but for everything he is: someone who refuses to accept the PC Zeitgeist encoded into the DNA of progressivism. They sense he’s hostile to everything they stand for – and act accordingly. Unlike the country at large, they have a vested interest in Trump’s failure.

Now I detest that Zeitgeist as much as Trump does, probably more. I also like to think that I can express my opposition in a more reasoned and informed way. But then I can only talk about my opposition – he can actually do something about it. Inasmuch as the media are trying to sabotage his whole presidency, they’re indeed enemies and deserve to be treated as such.

One only wishes that Trump learned that charging the windmills of the media, judiciary and intelligence agencies with quixotic abandon isn’t the best way of going about it. More subtle tactics than a frontal assault are required.

Is Trump capable of them? Somehow I doubt that a 70-year-old man used to having his way can change dramatically. If Trump can’t, he’s unlikely to make life better. But he’s guaranteed to make it interesting.

Muslim terrorism doesn’t exist, but global warming does

Such is Pope Francis’s view, mercifully communicated only to a gathering of California clergy.

Had he spoken ex cathedra, rather than to a conference on inequality (whatever that means), every thinking Catholic might experience grave doubts.

When all is said and done, Christian doctrine is infinitely more complex than quotidian affairs. Hence when the pontiff talks bumptious nonsense on the latter, one may be tempted to question his competence on the former.

Here’s what His Holiness said in his wisdom: “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist… [It’s just that there are] violent individuals in all peoples and religions.”

The tail end of the statement is God’s own truth – so much so that a less reverential person than me might describe it as a truism. Ever since Eve bit a piece out of that fruit, man has been sinful. And it can’t be gainsaid that some people are prone to express their sinfulness violently.

Can’t fault His Holiness there. Where he leaves himself open to derisory criticism is in the little bit of moral equivalence preceding the truism. What the Pope is actually suggesting is that people’s actions aren’t affected by their beliefs, which is an odd thing for a priest to say.

No religion is more likely to inspire terroristic violence than any other. None of them matters; people act of their own accord and, say, a Buddhist is as likely as a Muslim to spray a crowd of children with AK rounds. After all, there are violent individuals in all religions. A creed that commands to kill enemies is, in any practical sense, no different from one that enjoins to love them.

If that’s what the Pope thinks, isn’t he admitting, among other things, that Christianity in general and his life’s mission in particular have failed? That people only pay lip service to religion without letting it interfere with their behaviour?

His Holiness should bring Aristotelian logic to the problem at hand. After all, this intellectual tool has been highly productive in Catholicism ever since the 13th century, when Aquinas baptised the Greek philosopher and co-opted him into Christianity. The essence of Aristotelian logic is a posteriori induction, reaching general conclusions on the basis of empirically observable facts.

Essentially the Pope is implying that Christians and Jews are as likely as Muslims to blow up innocent bystanders. If so, then the relative number and frequency of such acts have to fall within the same statistical band.

But they don’t, not even close. In 2015 there were 452 suicide attacks in the world, 450 of them by Muslims. Between 1979 and 2017, 19,840 people were killed by Islamic terrorism worldwide. (Typically, the ratio of the wounded to the dead is 3:1. Do your own maths.) The number of those killed by even nominal practitioners of other religions is lower by two orders of magnitude.

Moreover, just before pulling the cord of the explosive vest or the AK trigger, the suicide killers invariably scream “Allahu akbar!, not “Next year in Jerusalem”, nor “I love Jesus”, nor even a secular slogan, such as “Freedom to so and so” or “Hands off such and such”.

Then, extrapolating from sensory observation, one looks at those 300 Koran verses that specifically call for the killing of infidels, compares them to the scripture of other religions, and realises that the Pope isn’t so much thinking as feeling.

His ideology trumps his faith and his emotions supersede his thought, which is most unfortunate for a Catholic prelate – especially since his ideology is wrong and his feelings are in no way informed by anything other than his ideology, not even by his faith.

Then on to the second part of the papal exhortation: indisputable global warming and its “denial”, which the pontiff anathematised, in a manner of speaking. “Time is running out,” thundered His Holiness. “Let us act”.

He didn’t specify what ecclesiastical actions he had in mind. Fiery homilies against aerosol sprays? The excommunication or perhaps autoda of global warming deniers? Banning the clergy from using any polluting transport?

No, just more meaningless generalities:I ask all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders – to defend Creation.”

One wonders how intimately His Holiness is familiar with the scientific disciplines tangentially touching upon anthropogenic global warming, such as physics, chemistry, astronomy, astrophysics, palaeontology, geology and so forth. I suspect not very.

Those scientists who do specialise in such disciplines aren’t in agreement on this issue, which isn’t surprising. After all, the initial discovery of mankind endangering Creation with aerosol sprays came not from scientists but from the UN, which explains its heavy slant into politics.

I’m no expert in those branches of science myself, but, casting my layman’s eye over the two sides, I think that ‘deniers’ make more sense, their arguments are more solidly scientific and less garrulously ideological. The Pope may feel differently, but surely even he must see that there’s much room for doubt – enough to refrain from apocalyptic pronouncements.

One craves confident, inspiring papal statements on doctrine. Instead one gets ill-advised and ill-founded entreaties on secular matters that His Holiness doesn’t really understand in sufficient depth. Pity, that.