Guess who isn’t coming to dinner

Donald Trump doesn’t fit the profile of my normal dinner guest. He isn’t a man of culture, taste, refinement or social graces, and he tops business suits with baseball caps, all of which make him, well, infra dig.

That works out just fine because I’m unlikely to find myself in a position where I could extend a dinner invitation to the president. And even if I did, he wouldn’t accept it: I definitely don’t fit the profile of his dinner host either.

Yet, much as I find Trump utterly unsympathetic personally, there are things about him as a politician that I like quite a lot.

First, he drives up the wall exactly the kind of people I like to see driven up the wall. Lefties of all hues, both American and European, turn a most satisfying puce colour at the very mention of his name, thereby giving one a most un-Christian hope that they’ll suffer debilitating strokes.

Even better, Trump makes neocons, both American and British, sputter venom and go into hysterical fits. Now I regard neoconservatism as the most objectionable of the mainstream political trends. This is how I describe it in my book Democracy as a Neocon Trick:

“Neoconservatism is an eerie mishmash of Trotskyist temperament, infantile bellicosity, American chauvinism (not exclusively on the part of Americans), expansionism masked by pseudo-messianic verbiage on exporting democracy to every tribal society on earth, Keynesian economics, Fabian socialism, welfarism and statism run riot – all mixed together with a spoonful of vaguely conservative phrases purloined from the rightful owners to trick the neocons’ way to broader electoral support.”

Hence anyone who makes neocons roll on the floor frothing at the mouth can’t be all bad, and Trump qualifies in spades. Neocons are apparatchiks to a man, and Trump doesn’t even bother to conceal his contempt for the apparat, which is a definite feather in his baseball cap.

Such general, mostly aesthetic, considerations apart, I like Trump’s policies, some unequivocally, some with minor reservations. I also can’t help noticing that there’s next to no divergence between his policies and his campaign promises, which makes Trump unique among modern politicians.

In just 11 months he has put forth several excellent policies, which is several more than, in round numbers, the zero that Obama managed in eight years.

The president is pulling America out of the Paris Agreement, which shows that, unlike the groups I’ve mentioned, he doesn’t accept on faith the hoax of anthropogenic global warming. He may be aware that this is the only discovery in the history of science made not by scientists but by the UN.

Speaking of the UN, Trump has a discernible distaste for all international organisations. Unlike him, I wouldn’t include Nato in the list of useless setups, but at least his heart is in the right place. The UN in particular has done no good I can recall, but much harm – and its fanatical shilling for the phantom of global warming is a good example.

In that spirit, the president has pulled the US out of UNESCO, which recognises the Palestinian territories as an independent member state. US laws explicitly prohibit American financing for any such organisations, and these are the laws that Obama ignored, but Trump upholds.

Trump is trying to limit Muslim immigration, setting a good example that our own spivs are unlikely to follow. He clearly doesn’t share Prince Charles’s belief that all religions are equal, which in practice means equally marginal. One wishes Trump didn’t retweet British fascisoid websites, but no one has ever accused him, nor indeed many other Americans, of excessive sensitivity to the subtleties of European politics.

He also tries to limit illegal immigration, mainly across the Mexican border. I’m not sure about building an American version of the Great Wall of China, but the underlying idea is sound.

A state that has no control of its borders, nor any power to decide who is and who isn’t welcome, relinquishes a great part of its sovereignty. This is another lesson one wishes our spivs could learn from Trump. Actually, even though the wall hasn’t been built yet, illegal Mexican immigration has already been cut by a third.

Trump’s conduct of the Middle East mess isn’t of sterling quality, but it’s much better than any of his predecessors’. He concentrates on a narrowly defined objective, that of defeating Isis, and spares us the emetic neocon effluvia about nation building.

Trump has for all intents and purposes undone Obama’s deal with Iran that was guaranteed to put nuclear weapons into the mullahs’ hands. During the campaign, he described this as the worst deal in American history, and it’s certainly right up there, or down, as the case may be.

The US economy has surged under Trump, following eight years of near stagnation. Thanks to his getting rid of many of Obama’s regulations, the economy is growing at a respectable 3.3 per cent, employment is way up, US share indices are beating all imaginable records.

His new tax package is guaranteed to act as another spur, even though I question some of its protectionist implications. Yet Trump, if anything, has mitigated his protectionist instincts, certainly compared to his election rhetoric.

The president has also tried to demolish Obamacare. Even though Congress hasn’t yet gone along, at least Trump understands the destructive potential of socialised medicine, something our lot don’t.

Alas, much of his good work is in my view undone by his cosy relationship with Putin, about whom Trump has so far not said a single disparaging word. He had to endorse the new sanctions that Congress pushed down his throat, but he wouldn’t have done that had he had an option.

Whether this relationship is just cosy or criminal is up to the Mueller investigation to uncover. If it turns out that Trump effectively acted as Putin’s agent in the run-up to the election (which in my view is a distinct possibility), he ought to be not just impeached but flailed alive.

But I hope Trump will be exonerated – he has the makings of a good president, one who can drain the swamp of apparat politics, or at least make it less putrid. He and I don’t share many friends, but at least – and it’s almost as good – we share quite a few enemies.

Two-state Manny strikes again

Hosting Israel’s PM Netanyahu, France’s President Macron took the opportunity to hector his guest on Middle Eastern politics.

By recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, he explained, Trump’s administration threatened peace. Even worse, that heinous act jeopardised the two-state solution.

The polymath Brigitte, Manny’s foster mother, clearly has her pedagogic work cut out. She has taught so many subjects (including Latin to my friend’s daughter) that one wonders if logic was among them. If so, she should give Manny six of the best, then run him through a simple Socratic process along these lines:

It’s possible to threaten only something that exists, n’est-ce pas? Oui, maman.

So suggesting that Trump’s action threatens peace presupposes that peace exists? Otherwise the statement is silly (une connerie), but yes? Oui, maman.

This raises another question: what’s peace? Er, maman… peace is… the absence of armed hostilities underlined by mutual good will.

Excellent, Manny. Now how does the current situation tally with your definition? Hamas keeps firing rockets into Israel from one end and Hezbollah from the other. Both, along with most Middle Eastern governments, are committed to destroying Israel and killing every Israeli. Not much evidence of peace, is there?

I don’t know what answer Mr Macron would offer at this point. But I can see how the notion of two states may be close to his heart.

For the policy of virtual apartheid practised by France towards her five million Muslims is well on the way to creating a state within a state. What’s a pipe dream in the Middle East may well become reality in France.

It’s reasonably clear that the French are reconciled to the demonstrable fact that Europe and Islam are incompatible. For a Muslim to become a good European, he has to become a bad Muslim.

Some are willing to do so, and more power to them. I for one don’t care about the racial or religious background of a loyal British subject or French citizen, provided he’s indeed loyal.

However, many Muslims don’t wish to adapt to their European homes. Instead, they wish to force their European homes to adapt to them – with the long doctrinal view of establishing an Islamic caliphate.

France’s solution to the problem has been to create self-contained Muslim enclaves all along city suburbs and leave their denizens more or less alone – on the understanding that such laissez-faire bonhomie will be reciprocated.

However, apartheid by any other name won’t work. Sooner or later a critical mass will be reached, and an explosion will occur. Civil war beckons, and France would be ill-advised to wait for it with insouciance.

Meanwhile, the Muslim banlieues around Paris and elsewhere do a decent reproduction of hell on earth, with the tongues of fire singeing the adjacent areas as well.

French Muslims, many of them native to the country, march through cities screaming “Nique la France!” (f*** France). Recently, leaflets have been spread all over the place, saying “if you meet a Jew, kill him”.

While indignant about such extremism, the French seem to be unaware that the entreaty comes straight from the Koran: “Take them [unbelievers] and kill them wherever ye find them” (4:91) and “Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends…” (5:51). So the leaflet is perfectly pious.

The Muslim banlieues are de facto ruled by sharia, which many French Muslims think should take precedence over the law of the land. And sharia isn’t the worst of it.

Drug trafficking, youth gangs, gun-toting zealots, 30,000 cars burnt around Paris every year, women sexually assaulted and forced into marriages or prostitution – these combine to turn the banlieues into no-go areas not just for regular citizens but even for police.

If they venture there at all, they do so in armoured cars bristling with rifle barrels. Alas, postmen have neither such vehicles nor firearms, which is why the Chronopost parcel service has refused to take deliveries to the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, home to 600,000 Muslims. One can understand their timidity: last year 51 delivery drivers were assaulted there.

The cauldron of civil war is bubbling, and recently Macron admitted this is the Republic’s fault. He’s at least partly correct, but here my imaginary conversion of Brigitte into Socrates with a touch of Hegel could come in handy again.

Thesis: Islam is incompatible with the West. Antithesis: the larger the Muslim population, the greater the problem.

So what’s the synthesis, Manny? Opening up Europe’s borders and importing Muslims at a rate of a million a year, as your beloved EU has done? Wrong, Manny. Bend over the desk and take it like a man. No, not that, for God’s sake. I was referring to caning.

The writer Christian de Moliner proposes a different solution – or rather a solution, for Manny isn’t proposing any. All he has to offer is bien pensant phrases.

Moliner’s solution is that same two-state arrangement Manny favours in the Middle East. Essentially Moliner suggests surrender based on a realistic assessment of the status quo.

France, he recommends, should accept the legitimacy of sharia in Muslim areas and let their denizens settle their disputes according to the Koran, not the Napoleonic code. Hence they should be allowed to have any numbers of wives in this life and any number of virgins in the next.

This is what a third of French Muslims (and almost half of their British co-religionists) want anyway. Since these more radical segments dominate the whole Muslim population, Moliner’s solution is to give in to them, hoping that would diffuse the situation.

However, Moliner’s solution would only exacerbate the de facto apartheid that already exists in France – and not only there. A country can’t have two parallel legal systems and hope to remain at peace. A clash will be not merely likely but guaranteed.

I don’t have a better solution – and neither does Manny, or for that matter May. Such problems are best prevented before they fester, not solved afterwards.

Stopping Muslim immigration is a must, but this is only a palliative because the problem of the millions of Muslims already here will remain unsolved. And anyway, no Western European government will have the guts for even such a half-measure.

One can think of any number of even more unrealistic measures, but suggesting them in public would run afoul of any number of newfangled laws, belying the notion of free speech.

One doubts Europe will wake up before a civil war breaks out, yet only a madman would wish for such a wake-up call.

Nuclear power is deadly

In the wrong hands, that is. In the right hands, it’s by far the safest form of energy – of those that can actually meet all our needs.

(This is an important qualification because, to do the job of a few nuclear power stations, wind farms shilled by our Luddite lefties would have to cover every square foot of British territory.)

Witness the fact that 60-odd years of nuclear power in the West haven’t produced a single fatality. Desperate for scaremongering stories, Western hacks had to describe as ‘disasters’ accidents at Three Mile Island and Fukushima, leaving one to wonder what word they’d reserve for mishaps in which people actually died.

During the same period, hundreds of oil workers perished in capsized offshore platforms, and tens of thousands of coal miners died of black lung. Actually, since wind turbines are made of steel, it takes about 1,020 tonnes of coal to match 1 MW of coal-fired capacity with 1 MW of wind-produced energy. So how many black lung cases have been caused by ‘safe’ wind farms? Incidentally, even radiation levels around a coal mine are much higher than right next to a nuclear power station.

Yet it’s nuclear energy that’s still being portrayed as murderous. And so it is – when produced by the Russians. This melancholy conclusion is inescapable for anyone following the news – and putting it in historical context.

There’s currently a tremendous spike in radioactivity all over Europe, especially France. These seasonal glad tidings come from a leaking nuclear plant in the Urals, courtesy of which laymen like me have learned about yet another isotope, ruthenium-106.

I have to thank the Russians for expanding my education in this area. For example, had they not used polonium-210 to murder Alexander Litvinenko, I would have known nothing about that isotope other than its name.

And I hadn’t even heard of cesium until the French found traces of it in mushrooms imported from Russia. Those girolles have been subsequently withdrawn from supermarkets, while I ponder the inadequacy of the English gastronomic lexicon.

Though girolles and chanterelles are different, if related, and girolles are much more widespread, we describe both as chanterelles. To our credit, many French people don’t know the difference either – but they now know not to eat Russian girolles, or for that matter chanterelles.

Moscow authorities have denied that ruthenium-106, along with cesium, polonium, iodine-131 (also leaked over the high-rent part of Europe) and Roman Abramovich, is yet another toxic import of Russian provenance. But then they would, wouldn’t they?

Rosatom, the owner of the leaking Mayak plant, has issued a statement to the effect that there have been no accidents at any of its facilities and, even if there had been, no ruthenium-106 would have been released.

That’s all right then. Who could possibly doubt the Russians’ word when it comes to nuclear accidents? The answer is, anybody familiar with their track record.

Thus the Mayak nuclear-bomb factory near Chelyabinsk had 34 accidents between 1953 and 2008. The worst of them, in 1957, released 100 tonnes of hot radioactive waste, contaminating an area the size of Western Europe.

None of the disasters was officially reported. All were emphatically denied when ‘vicious and unfounded’ rumours began to circulate in the West.

Note, however, that the Mayak accidents – both at the reactor and nuclear bomb factory – began on Stalin’s watch and continued well into Putin’s, with the same veracity of reporting throughout. This proves the point I often make: post-perestroika Russia is but a continuation of the Soviet Union by other means.

Who’s in charge at any particular point makes no difference whatsoever. Thus Gorbachev, elevated to secular sainthood for replacing a communist state with a kleptofascist one, lied with customary Soviet ease about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Russian reporters flooded into Chernobyl, interviewing ruddy Russian lasses holding rosy-cheeked babies and laughing at Western hacks with their rumour-mongering reports. Had the westward winds not made Geiger counters go haywire in Scandinavia and Scotland, the catastrophe would have been hushed up like so many others.

Mayak and other accidents testify to the dangers presented by nuclear power in the hands of backward nations, such as Russia. However, it’s not backward in scientific thought and technological ingenuity, far from it.

But scientists and engineers, no matter how brilliant, are hamstrung in the absence of a first-rate infrastructure, both physical and metaphysical. The physical kind involves management structures, supply systems, quality controls, distribution networks. The metaphysical one involves a conscientious and ideally sober labour force blessed with a universal work ethic.

In those areas Russia isn’t so much third Rome as third world, which is why she is perfectly capable of turning the whole globe into a Chernobyl. But nuclear accidents and even disasters are in a way a win-win situation for Russia.

Ever since it became clear that only the West’s nuclear weapons were capable of checking Russian aggression, the Russians have been sponsoring rabid anti-nuke propaganda in the West. And various Soviet fronts, such as the CND, our own hatchery of Labour high command, have campaigned not only against nuclear weapons but also against nuclear power stations.

As a result, both France and Germany are phasing out their nuclear reactors, a criminal strategic folly that’ll leave Europe at the mercy of major hydrocarbon suppliers, such as Islamic countries and Russia.

Our gullible public avidly gobbles up lies about nuclear power, and every Russian accident makes them even more credulous. Then again, our progressive education has destroyed the people’s ability to think analytically about anything.

So why would they be able to think properly about nuclear energy? No reason at all.

“Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX…

…about anything else” was a slogan in the advertising campaign for Castlemaine XXXX beer. Like most successful campaigns, it capitalised on the underlying perception already in existence.

Since I’ve never been to Australia, I can’t say whether or not reality corresponds to the image. But, as Marshall McLuhan said, “perception is reality”. I’m not sure this maxim tallies with the moral and intellectual history of the West, but it certainly works in advertising.

Australians enjoy the reputation of beer-swilling, fun-loving, hard-swearing, Anzac-hat-wearing chaps one would like to be out on the town with but wouldn’t like to cross. A nation of Crocodile Dundees, as projected by popular media.

Actually, I’ve drunk a fair amount of beer with Australians, having played tennis matches against many, and, on this limited exposure, found them seldom veering too far from their reputation. Good tennis players too, and they never knowingly give a bad line call, which is more than I can say for some other people but won’t, out of respect for my French friends.

Then, over the past few days, I’ve read three things about Australians that didn’t exactly shatter my perception of them, but did dent it somewhat.

First, a man has just been sentenced in New South Wales under the state’s ‘one-punch’ law. Introduced in 2014 in response to alcohol-induced violence, the law says that those convicted of fatal one-punch assaults will face a minimum of eight years in prison.

I haven’t gone into the text in detail, but the wording sounds odd. It seems to exonerate those drunks who achieve the same lethal end with several punches, rather than just one. ‘Fatal beating’ would sound like a better rubric, but then I did say I haven’t studied the law deeply.

Also, a minimum sentence of eight years strikes me as too low for manslaughter, but perhaps the Aussies regard drunkenness as a mitigating circumstance. I’d treat it as an aggravating one, but then Australian legislative bodies never solicited my opinion.

Then I’ve discovered that beer consumption in Australia has halved since 1979, while the consumption of wine has increased pari passu. In other words, Aussies are abandoning beer for wine, which may explain the need for the one-punch law.

Back in the 1980s I witnessed a similar shift in Texas, which could rival Australia for beer consumption per capita. Texans didn’t quite appreciate that, though both wine and beer are weaker than Bourbon, wine is three times as strong as Lone Star.

Hence my colleagues, who would typically drink two or three beers at lunchtime, began to order a litre of wine – with detrimental consequences for their postprandial output. Also, accusations of Oedipal relations with their mothers were levelled at their fellow drinkers with no provocation whatsoever.

If that’s what’s happening Down Under, a note to Australians: a can of XXXX has as much volume as three glasses of wine, but the latter pack a bigger punch, and so conceivably could the drinker.

Having established a causal relationship between those two developments, I can’t for the life of me fit the third one into the same logical chain.

I’m referring to the new law that has legalised homosexual marriage and punched a hole in my stereotype of Australians. “It is a big Australian hug for all same-sex couples, saying we love and respect you, now go out there and get married,” declared Prime Minister Turnbull triumphantly.

I wouldn’t hug too many same-sex couples if I were him – they may get the wrong idea. Nor do love and respect automatically involve a licence to get married.

We may have similarly warm feelings about parents close to their children, siblings adoring one another or, for that matter, people mollycoddling their pets. But it doesn’t follow that Daddy should be allowed to marry his little girl, a brother to marry his sister or either of them to marry Fido.

I’m not saying that the love claimed by Mr Turnbull is objectionable, but it’s definitely of recent vintage. What happened in December, 2017, to give Australians the love and respect for homosexual couples that had been conspicuously understated for the preceding two centuries?

Could it be – and here I’m trying to squeeze the facts into a preconceived theory – that the recent shift from XXXX to Chardonnay has addled the Aussies’ brains too much? If so, there may be other undesirable consequences as well.

For example, a bunch of rowdy Aussies, celebrating yet another one of their Ashes victories over the Poms, drink too much wine, then espy a happy homosexual couple and give the one-punch law another chance to be invoked… A thought too harrowing to contemplate.

The truth is much less interesting I’m afraid, and there goes my logical chain. The contagion of our toxic modernity has reached Australia, infecting its population as it has already infected most of the West.

Before long, Australians too won’t give a XXXX for anything other than political correctness.

The French just don’t get the Russians

And vice versa, it has to be said.

Witness the petition signed by 13 Russian recipients of the Légion d’honneur in defence of Suleyman Kerimov, a Russian billionaire arrested in Nice.

If you want to be technical about it, Mr Kerimov is actually a Dagestani Lezgin. But, when a chap makes billions in Putin’s Russia, he has been blessed by the laying on of Russian hands, ascending thereby to the celestial spirituality only true Russianness can confer.

The Nice authorities took exception to Mr Kerimov’s practice of buying properties at falsified low prices, thereby evading tax. Some of those purchases involved fraudulent third parties, which isn’t very Nice either.

As a parallel and enabling activity, Mr Kerimov is alleged to have carried into France his dirty laundry, which is to say suitcases full of cash to be scrubbed clean through French financial institutions.

Now can we please skip this ‘alleged’ business? Yes, I know Kerimov hasn’t been found guilty yet, but anyone who understands Russians knows he’s as guilty as Cain. And if he isn’t, he’ll be acquitted in the subsequent trial.

What the French don’t understand is the cultural differences. In Russia, laws don’t extend to billionaires, which is to say Putin’s friends – an amity that’s a precondition for serious enrichment. Laws are for hoi polloi, not for the new aristocracy formed by the fusion of secret police and organised crime.

So how was Kerimov to know that, in France, proximity to Putin isn’t sufficient to place a chap into the ultra sphere above the law? If he chooses to rinse a few suitcases’ worth of cash and then use it to cheat Nice out of tax revenue, what’s wrong with that?

That’s the underlying message conveyed by the petition. One of its signatories, the billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, had his own brush with the bloody-minded French a few years ago.

He and his jolly friends were arrested in Courchevel for running a prostitution ring. However, the inquiry showed that, though the travelling circus did come staffed with a few ladies of easy virtue, they were used strictly for home consumption and not as a commercial proposition.

Mr Prokhorov was duly released with humble apologies and subsequently even awarded the Légion d’honneur. His friends, however, wouldn’t be so easily mollified.

By way of revenge, they bought Courchevel’s only disco and shut it down, thereby depriving the resort of its cultural, social and pharmacological hub. One would have thought that the French would learn their lesson, but they’re proving obtuse.

Rather than explaining the cultural differences, the petition signatories, who also include Putin’s court musicians Gergiev and Bashmet, stress the humanitarian aspect of the affair.

They beg the French authorities to treat Kerimov “with humanity and humanism, not to jeopardise his life, and to allow him to return to the medical help essential to sustaining his life.” The text is as awful in Russian as it is in my translation, but then Messrs Gergiev and Bashmet prefer to express their spirituality musically, while Mr Prokhorov expresses it arithmetically.

But the emotional effect of their missive is heart-rending. Hold on, let me wipe the tears and catch my breath. Now, what’s the nature of the danger to Mr Kerimov’s life, which is exacerbated by French beastliness?

A few years ago he crashed his Ferrari speeding through La Promenade des Anglais in that same Nice. As a result, he and his companion, the sexy TV presenter Tina Kandelaki, suffered bad burns.

I don’t know how Miss Kandelaki handles the damage, nor how Mrs Kerimov felt about that vehicular mishap, but Mr Kerimov has to wear flesh-coloured gloves to conceal his scars. There may be other damage as well, for all I know.

So clearly those French people are beasts, locking up this man manacled to the wall of a damp cell with no access to medical help… Hold on another second. It turns out nothing quite so bad has befallen Mr Kerimov.

The French authorities simply took his passport away and told him to stay in Nice for the duration of the investigation. Not quite the Gulag, is it?

I can see how staying in Nice, especially out of season, may constitute inhuman treatment for some people, though perhaps not for Mr Kerimov, whose affection for the place hasn’t been diminished by its draconian traffic laws designed to punish Ferrari drivers.

One thing I reject out of hand is the implied suggestion that only by leaving for Moscow would Mr Kerimov be able to get the life-saving medical help he so badly needs.

One reason Russian criminalised oligarchs spend so much time in the West is precisely that qualified medical help is available here and not available in Russia. Russian medicine is like Russian laws, there only for the plebs.

It’s not the only reason: oligarchs’ children are educated in the West, their money is laundered and kept in the West, their yachts are moored in the West. The West, in other words, may be bereft of the Russians’ celestial spirituality, but it makes up for it in the quality of its earthly amenities.

Now I too petition the French authorities to take immediate action in response to this entreaty. What I have in mind is revoking the Légion d’honneur of all 13 signatories and telling them to shut up, mind their own business and refrain from submitting mendacious drivel to civilised countries.

Social mobility and other vulgarities

“If the poor are to rise, the rich have to fall,” writes Phillip Collins in The Times.

This is yet another salvo fired in the skirmish raging on the ground of social mobility. La donna wants to be upwardly mobile, there are no two ways about it.

That the article is as inane as all of Mr Collins’s other output wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it didn’t represent the widespread morass sucking the issue in. But it does, so a few comments are in order.

First, equating social mobility with the economic kind means confusing two things related to each other only tangentially. Underneath this confusion lies (in both senses of the word) Marx’s definition of class as ‘relationship to the means of production’.

To divest this gibberish of its pseudoscientific fog of recondite vocabulary, the more money, the higher the class. Yet anyone who believes this must also believe that, say, Henry Ford occupied a higher rung on the social ladder than, say, Winston Churchill.

This is a glint thrown on social thought by the flashing strobe light of what I call ‘totalitarian economism’, viewing the whole complexity of life from the economic perspective. The resulting intellectual epilepsy endangers the moral and intellectual life of society.

Class is defined not by money but by culture, as anyone who has ever read Trump’s tweets will attest. And it’s culture, not just love, that money can’t buy.

So fine, let’s forgive Mr Collins this terminological imprecision – God knows he isn’t the only one. Let’s also forgive him such truisms as: “The children of parents who are not equipped to pass on too much knowledge or wisdom will have, by the age of three, heard perhaps a million fewer words than the children of professional parents.”

So a household full of books is more likely to produce cultured children than one full of crushed beer cans? Crikey. Who coulda thunk.

One could offer only one measure to bring that observation in line with the desideratum of the rich falling. Such bibliophile parents should be electronically tagged with a device monitoring the number and length of words they use in the presence of children. The device must have a feature sending an electric shock through Dad’s testicles every time he accuses junior of ‘contumely’, ‘indolence’ or ‘discourtesy’.

Mr Collins doesn’t go into such fine detail, but one assumes that’s the sort of thing he has in mind when suggesting that: “A society that really cared about being mobile would find a way to ensure its princes could slide down a snake too.”

But we’ve already established that at issue here is economic, rather than social or God forbid cultural, mobility. And in this area Mr Collins does offer a practical solution: “If Britain were to start creating more high-quality professional jobs, that would do wonders for mobility.”

Or not, as the case may be, would suggest anyone who remembers the demise of Barings, Britain’s oldest merchant bank, killed dead by an upwardly mobile lout Nick Leeson. The mobility curve of its subsequently dismissed employees must have swerved downwards quite sharply as a result.

The trouble with the Collins Model (or shall we call it Paradigm, as in ‘Brother, can you paradigm?’) is that it doesn’t add up arithmetically. For one ‘high-quality professional’ programming a conveyor-belt computer can put hundreds of manual workers out of a job.

What are they supposed to do? Retrain as Times columnists? By the looks of it, the intellectual leap between the two points isn’t unduly long, but there would be too many formalities to overcome and technicalities to surmount.

There are only so many fund managers and systems analysts that an economy can support. But even assuming that this number is limitless, producing enough people qualified to fill such positions would involve a paradigm exactly opposite to the one for which Mr Collins’s Marxist loins ache.

For greater numbers of people to move up the social ladder, there should be a ladder in the first place. Without it, society will never climb out of the putrid swamp of coerced egalitarianism – as has been shown in every place where egalitarianism has been tried in earnest.

When Britain was still Britain, the proper hoists for social mobility were extant. Prime among them was the grammar school, a state institution offering the bootstraps by which the more capable poor children could pull themselves up.

It’s true that children from wealthier families didn’t always have to demonstrate ability to gain access to good schools. That, however, is the way of the world – life is unfair, to repeat a cliché.

At least grammar schools opened paths to social, economic and cultural rise to a quarter of the population. The rest were indeed more likely to die within the same class they were born to, a situation that upsets Mr Collins no end.

The assumption seems to be that there’s something inherently demeaning and undignified about staying within the working classes. This is condescending bilge.

By way of experiment, look at the newsreels of football matches from the 1950s, when most spectators were working class, in the Marxist sense of the word. Now compare those crowds with today’s well-heeled fans, which they have to be to afford £50 tickets regularly.

The old crowd were well-dressed, well-behaved, well-spoken, full of dignity and good cheer. Today’s lot are snarling, swearing, violent louts, sporting tattoos, proletarian clothes and mugs contorted by rage.

Our problem isn’t too little social mobility, but too much. Mobility of any kind is only commendable when it signifies movement towards a worthy destination – not just any old movement.

But Mr Collins needn’t bother: we’re halfway there. The rich have already fallen – from the high perch where money, culture and political power were in the same hands. It’s as a direct result of that tumble that the poor haven’t risen.

The blind alleys of hate politics

Small minds concentrate on small issues. Conversely, preoccupation with small issues, fragments rather than the whole picture, is guaranteed to make smaller even a mind that otherwise has a potential for growth.

The situation becomes much worse when such small minds are animated by great passions, especially those springing from hate.

This is hard to condone but, in the case of our fascisoid populists, easy to understand. They see the cancerous cells multiplying in our society and justifiably fear the disease may be fatal.

Unable to diagnose it properly, which few people ever can, they react emotionally – by lashing out against the symptoms of the disease, while ignoring the underlying condition and not even pondering its aetiology.

The two symptoms that rile them most are the most visible ones: the EU destroying Britain’s constitution, and the insanely huge Muslim presence destroying most of everything else.

They have every right to feel beleaguered: the disease is metastasising rapidly and the symptoms are indeed excruciating. However, by the same token, people afflicted with brain cancer suffer from horrendous headaches. But that disease is treated systemically with chemotherapy, not symptomatically with aspirin.

Let’s look at the first symptom of malignancy: Britain first joining, and now only halfheartedly (if at all) trying to leave, the manifestly wicked EU. A good starting point would be to think which British PM of yore would have been prepared to sign the subversive piece of paper John Major signed in 1992.

Pitt? Canning? Gladstone? Disraeli? Or, closer to our own time, Churchill? The thought that any of them could have destroyed Britain’s entire political history with a flourish of a pen is preposterous.

So what has changed? Obviously, the whole political balance of arguably history’s most successful constitution, lovingly cultivated for many centuries, has been destroyed.

Here it’s useful to remember that politics is but one atom in the polyvalent molecule of a nation. Just like atoms in a chemical compound, a nation’s atoms exist in harmony with one another, attracted as they are to the common centre.

In any nation, this centre is metaphysical: metaphysics is the source from which everything else flows. Thus a similar metaphysical core will produce startling similarities between nations that otherwise seem to have little in common.

(Compare, for example, the aesthetics of Bolshevik Russia and Nazi Germany: their architecture, painting, livery, music are twins, even though the nations are very different.)

One doesn’t have to be a practising Christian (though it does help to understand the history of Christendom) to know that Christianity was the metaphysical core of Britain – actively for 1,000 years or so and then residually for a century or two.

That doesn’t mean that Britain ever was anything like a theocracy, nor even that the religious ague at the grassroots was particularly febrile. If it ever was, it hasn’t been for a couple of centuries at least.

But it does mean that the laws governing the movement of atoms within the national molecule were informed by Christian morality and thought. Therefore, they were informed by love, which within that ethos is the essence of God and also the medium of his communication with man.

Love of something dear can, and usually does, dialectically coexist with hatred of anything that threatens it. A consistent Christian won’t hate his enemy, but he will hate the menace the enemy represents – and resist it with all he can. But love is primary and hate is secondary, which is the same relationship as between good and evil.

The twentieth century removed Christianity, and therefore love, as the centre around which everything revolves. This happened not only in Britain, but throughout the world – which is why more people were killed in that century than in all the centuries of recorded history combined.

The atoms spun out of control, with each acquiring a life all its own – valences no longer existed, the links no longer held. Rather than proceeding under the protection of a philosophical and moral umbrella, people began to respond to life’s challenges in an arbitrary ad hoc manner, leaving themselves open to slings and arrows.

The resulting method of thought and deed could be rational or irrational – that didn’t matter because the results became unpredictable, or rather predictably bad.

The rational, or rather pseudo-rational, method consists in actuarial calculations of immediate fiscal benefits, with metaphysics not so much brushed aside as ignored. The likeliest result is a disaster even on the puny terms of such ratiocination.

Hence the EU isn’t to blame for the rape of Britain’s constitution – any more than a fox is to blame for slaughtering chickens. In the latter case, the blame lies with the farmer who didn’t secure the coop properly; in the former, with (as goes the title of the book to which I contributed) the nation that forgot God.

Hating the EU is an understandable and even commendable emotion – provided it springs from love for Britain’s political history and especially its metaphysical basis, not from jingoistic distaste for Johnny Foreigner.

The same goes for anti-Islamic animus, as represented by Trump’s favourite British political party and other fascisoid groups. That Islam – not just ‘Islamism’, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ or ‘Muslim terrorism’ – is Christendom’s historical enemy is a matter of fact, not opinion.

That, contrary to what Mrs May likes to say, Islam is incompatible with the British ethos isn’t an opinion either, but simply a matter of empirical observation.

But Islam is what it is, what it has been for 1,400 years. The tragedy is that Britain is no longer what she used to be.

The same question as before: which British PM of yore would have allowed a massive influx of Muslim immigration to queer Britain’s demographic, social and cultural pitch so much as to render it unplayable? Yet all post-war governments have done so, culminating in Blair’s criminally cynical attempt to boost the Labour vote with a million potential (and thousands of actual) jihadists.

The only effective counterweight to Islamic expansion isn’t hatred of Islam, but love of Christendom, with everything it represents. Such love no longer exists to an extent that would make a difference – and hate has taken centre stage.

That unenviable animus exists across British society, intensifying in close proximity to large Muslim enclaves and immediately following yet another Muslim atrocity. Parties like Britain First are its political expression.

The rank and file there – and I’ve observed many at close quarters – are hazy on what it is they love but in no doubt whatsoever about what they hate. This is a hallmark of fascism, although I usually describe them as not fascist but fascisoid: en route but not there quite yet.

In purely practical terms, they damage the very causes they profess to hold dear. The congenitally moderate British character may feel sympathy for the very things that don’t deserve any – simply because of their opponents’ fanatical animadversions.

But what interests me here isn’t just the practical aspect of it all, but the intellectual blind alleys into which politics of hate steers its adherents.

I’ve addressed several conferences in which the danger of Muslim expansion was the main theme. It was difficult not to notice that anti-Islamism happily coexisted with anti-Semitism among many attendees. For example, during the latest gathering cursed by my presence, this comment came during the Q&A period: “Before we solve the Muslim problem, we must solve the Jewish problem.”

The gentleman didn’t specify what kind of solution he had in mind, but one suspects the final one would do nicely. This may be extreme, but anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiments are practically universal in those circles.

One detects a dichotomy there. It’s reasonably clear what these chaps hate, but what is it they love?

Israel has much to criticise it for, as does any other state. But it’s indisputable, or should be, that Israel is the West’s salient in its 1,400-year confrontation with Islam.

Similarly obvious is that the same Middle Eastern forces that wish to destroy Israel are equally passionate about their desire to turn Britain into a caliphate. There’s no justification for taking the Palestinian side in that conflict, but there is an explanation: a stultifying worldview driven by hatred, not love. In this case, there are two conflicting hatreds, and the conflict seems unsolvable.

At least the Left, as represented by Corbyn et al, is consistent on this issue. They dislike Jews (and the West) and like Muslims (and the Third World) – ergo, they hate Israel and love the Hamas. There’s some inner logic there, disgusting though it is. There’s none among our fascisoid populists.

But hatred doesn’t think; it emotes. It also tropistically reaches out for others possessed by the same energumen.

If these chaps proceeded from love of things British, they’d love Britain’s political tradition of justice, individual liberties, equity, and power carefully balanced among pluralistic and hereditary institutions. And they’d reject – possibly despise – any foreign tyranny that’s an antithesis to all those lovely things.

Yet this lot are united in their practically universal admiration of Putin’s junta that rules by rigged elections and totalitarian propaganda, murders or imprisons political opponents and dissenting journalists, suppresses free press, ignores the law, indulges in criminal economic activities across the globe, commits aggression against its neighbours, confronts the West in every conflict, arms (and not just with Kalashnikovs either) the West’s deadly enemies, co-opts the church hierarchy into the secret police.

What’s the attraction? Our fascisoid types clearly see birds of a feather there: those who like them are driven by xenophobic hatred. The flock is flying high.

The growing presence of millions of Muslims in Britain represents a deadly existential threat, and not only or mainly because of their propensity to blow up public transport and drive vehicles through crowds of pedestrians.

The cause of resistance is therefore vital. However, while sympathising as I do with the cause, I resent this lot’s championship of it. As strident of emotion as they’re feeble of mind, they just may succeed in making PC subversion look respectable by comparison.

Russian rocketry: win some, lose some

Both commiserations and congratulations are in order for the latest developments in Russia’s rocket technology.

The former offering is appropriate because the launch of the Soyuz 2.1b weather satellite, a mother ship carrying 19 smaller satellites, failed three days ago. The mother ship managed to reach its intermediate orbit, but then the smaller satellites went awry.

The commiserations are liberally laced with sighs of relief: accepting as a given the Russians’ keen interest in climatic vagaries, one may still suspect that this was a test of a diabolical machine capable of carrying MIRVed nuclear missiles.

Had the Soyuz (incidentally, all spacecraft so designated are descendants of von Braun’s V-2 rocket still remembered fondly by older Londoners) been carrying its ultimate payload, a similar failure might have had catastrophic consequences. Even without nuclear warheads on board, had the 19 satellites fallen on inhabited areas, the consequences would have been less catastrophic but still unpleasant.

Let’s comment parenthetically that the entire Russian space programme, for all its incidental innocent uses,* is an offshoot of a military build-up. This has been the case ever since the 1950s, when Khrushchev ordered Sergei Korolev, then anonymously known in the Soviet press as the Chief Designer, to come up with a missile capable of delivering a nuclear bomb to America.

Using his own resources, and also the work of a whole team of kidnapped Nazi rocket scientists, Korolev delivered. Having spent several years in a Soviet labour camp, he was acutely aware that failure wasn’t an option.

Interestingly, his wasn’t the only team working on the project. While castigating capitalist competition publicly, Khrushchev recognised its advantages in areas that mattered.

That’s why he created two parallel setups working on the problem: one led by Korolev, the other by Vladimir Chelomey, whose staff included Khrushchev’s son Sergei.

Anyway, Korolev won the race and, when reporting his achievement to Khrushchev, he mentioned in passing that the same child of the V-2 could deliver a satellite into orbit. Being quick on the political uptake, Khrushchev instantly recognised the propaganda potential of such a feat.

On 4 October, 1957, the satellite was launched, contributing to world languages the word ‘Sputnik’ and scaring the living bejeesus out of the Americans. Indirectly, the Sputnik was responsible for delivering the presidency to Kennedy who throughout his campaign cleverly exploited the nonexistent ‘missile gap’.

The subsequent space race between the Russians and the Americans has been about one side trying to get ahead of the other in the military stakes. The peaceful aspect of space exploration has been secondary, though more important to the Americans than to the Russians.

Where Russian space launches haven’t had an immediate military objective, they’ve had a propaganda value. The Soyuz 2.1b pursued both, designed as it was to show the world that Putin’s Russia is still in the forefront of sci-fi technology. I for one am glad that she isn’t.

However, and this is where the congratulations come in, that failure was offset by the remarkable success of another missile project underwritten by Russia. Two days ago, the N. Korean ICBM Hwasong-15 was successfully launched from a mobile system.

I’ve already written about the staggering success of Kim’s missile programme, especially over the last couple of years, ever since the West began to cotton on to the true nature of Putin’s regime.

As the programme accelerated, the share of Russian components on N. Korean missiles was growing. If the Russian share in the Hwasong-12 was at least 60 per cent, it was 80 per cent for the Hwasong-14 and a minimum of 90 per cent for the Hwasong-15 – along with 100 per cent of the knowhow.

The missile’s range is listed at 15,000 km, which puts us all into the target area. Western experts doubt that the Hwasong-15 will be able to cover such a distance carrying a full nuclear payload – a missile capable of that will take another year to develop, they say. That’s all right then. I feel better already.

The Hwasong-15 represents a success of the Russian missile industry and a factor in Putin’s foreign policy, heavily reliant as it is on blackmail. Kim is Putin’s proxy, his joker in the pack. By arming the N. Korean monster to the teeth, Putin sends a message to the West: do as I say – or else this madman will do the talking.

That much should be clear to anyone who’s less enamoured of Putin than our useful idiots are (most of them, it pains me to report, on the Right).

I don’t know if James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defence, belongs in that category. I wouldn’t be surprised – why should he be any different from most other Trump appointees? One way or the other, in commenting on the Hwasong-15 launch, he never referred to Russia at all.

That oversight was corrected by Mattis’s Polish counterpart Antoni Macierewicz, who, speaking with Slavic forthrightness, flatly stated that “This whole N. Korean missile-nuclear business is Putin’s project.”

Of course Mr Macierewicz’s credibility may in some eyes be undermined by his explicit belief in the authenticity of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but one suspects he’s more qualified in his immediate area of expertise, and less affected by the traditional Slavic malaise.

I’m not trying to indulge in panic-mongering, but I’m worried – rather a lot. You’ll have to decide for yourself how worried you are, if at all.

* I was involved in one such innocent project, having worked at NASA on the Apollo-Soyuz project in 1974-1975.