Coming up trumps

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks in front of a crowd on Jan 19 at the  Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. At the rally, not only did Trump talk about economic and healthcare reforms, but as was also endorsed by former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

The Donald gets up the noses of exactly the kind of people whose squirming gives me such joy. Specifically the neocons sputter spittle and rant incoherently at the very mention of Trump’s name. He must be doing something right.

The other day Niall Ferguson, the Briton who has discovered that buttering up US neocons butters his own bread on the right side, produced the article Trump Won’t Wreck America – the Rest of the World is Another Matter.

Reading it brought back fond memories of 1980, when I lived in Texas. I was having a beer at the tennis club with my doubles partner Ross, whose politics were rather to the left of mine. We chatted about the upcoming presidential election, which Ronald Reagan looked like winning. That, opined Ross, would be a global disaster. We’d have World War III a month after his inauguration.

Now the same scaremongering is in full swing about Trump, with Prof. Ferguson doing his bit in England, by long distance. One can see droplets of spittle all over his piece in The Sunday Times, with no thought worthy of the name to be seen anywhere.

Prof. Ferguson generously accepts that presidential power in the US is limited by other branches of government, such as Congress and the Supreme Court. Hence every planned attempt by the Donald to reduce the good old US of A to cinders would be frustrated by vigilant legislators, especially the neocons among them.

Having thus demonstrated his intimate knowledge of the US Constitution, Prof. Ferguson then undoes all his good work by implying that, though limited domestically, presidential power suffers from no such restrictions in foreign policy. Therefore President Trump would be able to perpetrate singlehandedly such calamities on the outside world that it will be, well, wrecked.

Congress, especially if the Democrats regain the Senate, would be able to block such diabolical Trump initiatives as slapping punitive tariffs on China, building a wall along the 2,000 miles of the Mexican border and banning Muslim immigration.

Actually, these particular initiatives don’t strike me as all bad. Punishing China is a good idea – not to protect US industry but to express moral outrage at the communists’ use of de facto slave labour.

A wall to keep illegal immigrants out may be ill-advised, but one doesn’t hear of any competing ideas with a sporting chance of success – all one hears is bien pensant waffle. Yet the problem of illegal Mexican immigration is real, and already was when I lived in Texas. At that time the entire length of the border was patrolled by 200 officers – one for every 10 miles (!). Surely any country has a right to protect its borders… oops, sorry, I’m not writing about the EU referendum.

Trump’s idea of keeping Muslims out strikes me as praiseworthy. I wish someone in government seriously proposed a similar measure here.

Anyway, Prof. Ferguson trusts Congress to paralyse Trump’s presidency domestically, while mysteriously relinquishing its influence on foreign policy, including its constitutional prerogative to declare war. Left unfettered, the Donald will then unleash hell on the world.

Prof. Ferguson’s sole justification for such a macabre prognosis is that Putin seems to like Trump, and Trump says he quite likes Putin: “The prospect of Donald and Vlad consummating their bromance in Moscow next year freezes the blood.” (A word of avuncular advice to Niall: avoid jarring portmanteau coinages. And the whole thing about a bromance is that it remains unconsummated.)

One assumes that by consummation Prof. Ferguson means a treaty akin to the Soviet-Nazi pact dividing the world. By waving his magic wand, Trump will then get around the need for congressional ratification, customary – nay mandatory – with international treaties.

Anyway, I wouldn’t take Trump’s protestations of love for Putin too seriously. A few days ago, for example, the Donald vowed to shoot down Russian jets approaching American planes should Putin fail to heed calls to stop. That could hardly have been regarded as a friendly overture, and Putin didn’t take it as such.

What Putin likes about Trump, opines Prof. Ferguson, is that his “foreign policy would… break the transatlantic alliance”. I’d suggest that this alliance is more under threat from Dave, who once suggested banning the presidential candidate from ever entering the UK. And world peace, presumably to be wrecked by Trump, is in far greater danger from the aggressive policies promoted by Ferguson’s neocon friends.

Now – are you ready for this? Trump expresses “his enthusiasm for Brexit”. Crikey. Is there no limit to the man’s evil? Why, he’s almost as wicked as Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith and about half of all Brits – and far less virtuous than the neocons who, true to their Trotskyist DNA, are all confirmed internationalists.

No one knows exactly what a Trump presidency would bring, which broad group includes both Prof. Ferguson and me. Unlike him, however, I refrain from mouthing manifest nonsense inspired by party loyalty, of which I have none and he has plenty.

In the same article Prof. Ferguson gives himself a piece of flirtatious advice: “stick to history”. I second the motion, with a small amendment: “…or ideally not even that”.

That war didn’t have just one aggressor

HitlerStalinToday is Russia’s Victory Day, which more appropriately ought to be called Russia’s Aggression Day. For, contrary to a common misapprehension, Russia wasn’t a victim in the Second World War. She was its instigator.

Ask any Russian youngster (or intellectually challenged adult) when the Soviet Union entered the war, and you’ll get the same reply every time: 22 June, 1941, when the USSR fell victim to the Nazi offensive. This means that the hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers killed before that date didn’t die in the war. So what did they die of? Heart attacks?

Following its criminal Pact with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union entered the war as Hitler’s ally on 17 September, 1939, by stabbing Poland in the back.

By that time, again contrary to a misapprehension, the German offensive had slowed down, and their army was running out of ordnance, especially bombs. The Russians replenished those stocks, with enough left over for London (did you know it was Soviet-made bombs that rained on England?). And then they struck from the east, Poland collapsed, and the two predators held a joint victory parade in Brest-Litovsk on 22 September.

In the process the Russians violated four international agreements: the 1921 peace treaty signed after the Russo-Polish war, the Eastern Pact denouncing war, the 1932 Russo-Polish Non-Aggression Pact and the 1933 London Convention defining aggression.

That was just the beginning. On 30 November, 1939, the Russians attacked Finland, violating the 1933 Non-Aggression Treaty. As a result, Finland lost 10 per cent of her territory, while the Russians lost 500,000 lives. Some 10,000 of those belonged to the Soviet POWs returning home after the war. In the good tradition going back to Ivan the Terrible, they were all shot pour encourager les autres.

As a result, the Soviet Union was expelled from The League of Nations, but that had no effect. On 15-17 June, 1940, Soviet troops annexed Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. On 28 June they added a huge part of Romania to their tally.

All the new areas were purged, with 25-30 per cent of their populations killed or deported (which often amounted to the same thing). While the murders of 20,000 Polish officers at Katyn and elsewhere have been widely publicised in the West, the other victims of Soviet aggression haven’t received similar coverage.

Stalin’s plan was to wait for the Germans to land in England and then launch his own offensive across the common border formed by the joint aggression against Poland. That required such a massive concentration of troops that keeping those plans a secret was impossible. Hence Hitler had to plunge into what every German schoolchild knew would be catastrophic: a two-front war.

This is castigated in historiography as a stupid mistake, but in fact Hitler had no choice: he had to beat Stalin to the punch because, had Stalin’s haymaker landed, it would have been deadly for Germany and all of Europe.

What followed was a national tragedy: Soviet peasants, who made up the bulk of Stalin’s army, wouldn’t fight for Stalin. The memory of millions of them being robbed, murdered, starved to death by Stalin’s stormtroopers wasn’t just fresh but current.

Once the Germans struck, the Soviets began to desert and surrender en masse, often joyously marching into captivity to the sound of regimental bands. By the end of 1941 the Nazis held 4.5 million POWs.

Stalin made the army fight by unprecedented violence against wavering soldiers and their families. “There are no Soviet POWs,” declared Putin’s idol, “there are only Soviet deserters.” Retreat was also equated with desertion, with predictable results. All in all, 157,000 Soviet soldiers were shot during the war following tribunals’ verdicts – and at least twice as many without even such slapdash justice.

Once the Soviets advanced into Europe, their aggression resumed. Contrary to every international protocol, they installed puppet Communist governments in the countries of Eastern Europe, effectively turning them into their colonies. Along the way, Soviet soldiers were committing acts of diabolical brutality towards civilian populations – not only in Germany, but in Eastern Europe too.

Here’s one snippet, from the memoirs of Lieutenant L. Riabichev: “We entered the house. Three large rooms, two dead women and three dead girls, their skirts up, each with an empty wine bottle stuck between her legs. I walk along the wall, another door, corridor, another door leading to two adjoining rooms with three beds altogether. Dead women on each, with open legs and bottles.

“Fine, they were all raped and shot. The pillows were drenched in blood. But whence this sadistic desire to stick bottles in? Our infantry, our tankers, lads from our towns and villages, with families, mothers, sisters…”

Is that the meaning of We Can Do It Again posters proudly displayed by Russian ‘patriots’? Is this why Russia is filled with portraits of Stalin, the monster who combined the war against Germany with one against his own people?

One would think this would be an occasion for tearful sorrow, silent contemplation and kneeling prayer. In a decent country, it would be. But in Putin’s Russia the world is treated to a shrilly militaristic, jingoistic show in Red Square, an obscene pagan rite celebrating one aggression and threatening another.

2016 election songs: ‘London Burning’ and ‘Sing if You’re Glad to Be Gay’

LondonBurningNominal Tory Zac Goldsmith lost the London mayoral election to Sadiq Khan, and all hell broke loose. Not only his party but even his sister accused poor Zac of having run a negative campaign, which supposedly cost him the election.

His sister Jemima wondered what had happened to her “nice, eco-friendly” brother. How dare he be so intolerant to the very idea of London having a Muslim mayor? Jemima herself is commendably tolerant to Islam – so much so that she actually converted to it in order to marry a Pakistani cricketer whom she has since divorced.

That degree of tolerance is hard to expect from anyone without a personal stake in the matter, and in any case Zac had said nothing about being opposed to the very idea of a Muslim mayor. He merely pointed out that this particular Muslim had shared the podium with known ISIS supporters, such as Sulaiman Ghani.

Mr Khan also supported groups promoting Islamic terrorism and in 2009 gave a speech with the black flags of jihad flying all over the place. And, by way of adding international flavour, he had links with the American-Muslim extremist Louis Farrakhan.

There’s also the small matter that, when Mr Khan became a privy councillor, he swore an oath of allegiance to the Queen on the Koran, which should have invalidated the ceremony there and then, but of course didn’t.

Surely Londoners have the need to know such things about their future mayor? Zac would have been grossly irresponsible had he not brought such facts to public attention.

Now let your imagination run wild. Picture a Labour candidate revealing that his UKIP opponent once was a member of the BNP. Can you see the outcry? Do you think many people would accuse the Labour chap of running a negative campaign? And BNP members haven’t so far blown up any public transport in London, while the Muslims… Well, you know about them.

And speaking of negative campaigns: London tends to incline towards the Labour end of the political spectrum, and Muslims in particular tend to vote Labour as a bloc. But blocs come in different sizes and in this election the Muslim bloc was as huge as it was monolithic.

Methinks such enthusiastic uniformity had something to do with the party’s anti-Semitic credentials, now firmly established and widely publicised. Mr Khan’s links, however tangential, with jihadists enhanced his credibility even further, and not many people would think of jihad as something positive.

So much for London Burning. Now, if you still don’t think our political scene is surreal enough, for that other song.

Having lost that critical election in London, the Tories came back strongly in Scotland, doubling their number of seats, pushing Labour into third place and becoming the official party of opposition in Holyrood.

So far so good, except that the Tartan Tories are led by Ruth Davidson, who’s now seen as the rising star of the true-blue firmament and a serious contender for 10 Downing Street in the near future.

That’s all good and well, except that Miss Davidson is ever so slightly eccentric. She’s an open lesbian living with a series of girlfriends, which fact she doesn’t mind emphasising by wearing masculine suits and cutting her hair shorter than mine (admittedly hers is denser).

I know we live in enlightened times, we none of us are bigots or, God forbid, homophobes, it was Dave who pushed homomarriage through, and there’s no reason to suggest that a hard-core lesbian can’t be an effective politician. She can be, no doubt about that.

But an effective Conservative politician? Of course the ‘C’ word is now desemanticised and has little to do with either uppercase or especially lowercase conservatism. Led by our ‘heir to Blair’, the Tories occupy the ground formerly owned by New Labour, with Old Labour pursuing a communist agenda sans concentration camps, for the time being.

But still, for old times’ sake, shouldn’t aspiring Tory PMs conceal their homosexuality, if only not to alienate the hopelessly retrograde grassroots more than they are already alienated? Could it be that the Labour landslide in London is at least partly due to the low turnout of real Tories who feel disfranchised and therefore disillusioned?

I’m talking about decorum here, not anything more substantial. I mean, everyone knew that Edward Heath was, in the coy phrase of the time, a confirmed bachelor, but he didn’t wear his sexuality on his sleeve. Hence he became Tory Leader in 1965, when homosexuality was still a crime in the UK, and PM five years later.

Miss Davidson, regardless of her proven vote-winning ability, is the stuff of which broad off-colour jokes are made, and God knows the Tories are already risible enough. Yet they don’t seem to mind.

Oh well, actual reality is being ousted by the virtual kind in double time. And the process seems to have an accelerator built in. I’m sure that, rather than being tolerated, homosexuality will soon become an ironclad selection criterion for politicians. Provided they aren’t Muslims.







Russian religion: Putin outdoes Stalin

ParadeYou may think Russia’s religion is Orthodoxy. So it is, technically speaking. In the same sense in which Anglicanism is England’s creed.

Even less so, actually, if judged by church attendance, which in England is roughly twice that in Russia. But before we get smug about it, ours is still less than two per cent of the population, which hardly testifies to fervent piety.

Yet most Englishmen routinely write ‘C of E’ in the ‘religion’ rubric of various questionnaires. And most Russians write ‘Orthodox’ even if they’ve never seen the inside of a church.

That, however, doesn’t mean they have no religion – only that their cult has nothing to do with Christianity. The greatest cause for annual celebration is neither Easter nor Christmas. It’s 9 May, Victory Day.

The Russians celebrate victory over Nazi Germany a day later than the rest of the world because the Reims Protocol establishing Germany’s capitulation to the Allies, which went into effect on 8 May, wasn’t graced by Soviet signatories.

The real capitulation, Stalin declared, had occurred on 9 May in Berlin, when Field-Marshal Keitel had officially surrendered to Marshal Zhukov. Those dastardly Anglo-Americans, who for all intents and purposes hadn’t even fought the war, were scheming to preempt the triumph Russia had won single-handedly.

Then the strangest thing happened: Stalin refused to officiate the victory parade on 24 June. The honour of acting as parade inspector was bestowed on Zhukov, with Marshal Rokossovsky commanding the marching troops.

Since Stalin was Commander-in-Chief, such reticence was odd. Surely it wasn’t only his right but indeed his duty to inspect the 40,000 troops crowding Red Square. Instead he simply watched as soldiers were tossing Nazi flags on the wet cobbles at the foot of the Lenin Mausoleum.

Then another odd thing happened. Though declared a holiday, 9 May remained a regular workday until 1965, 12 years after Stalin’s death. If the Russians felt like celebrating in their own inimitable fashion, they had to do so in the afterhours.

The reason was simple: to Stalin, 9 May was only a half-victory. And half-victory spelled half-defeat – as in that half of Europe that didn’t fall into Stalin’s hands.

His whole life was devoted to a single goal: spreading his nightmarish empire over all of Europe, to begin with. It’s to that end that in the 1920s and especially 1930s he had sacrificed millions of lives to create an armament industry churning out more murderous kit than the rest of the world combined.

It’s to that end that he had helped Hitler to rearm Germany. It’s to that end that he had signed a criminal pact with the Nazis to redirect their juggernaut westwards. It’s to that end that he had attacked Poland from the East when the Nazi offensive from the west began to slow down. It’s to that end that he had amassed 15,000 tanks on his western border (with another 8,000 held in reserve), waiting for the Nazis to get bogged down in England before unleashing his own juggernaut.

By launching their suicidal preemptive strike on 22 June, 1941, the Nazis spoiled all the best-laid plans. They lost the war in the end, but, to Stalin’s mind, Russia didn’t quite win it either. Hence, as far as he was concerned, those 30 million Soviets had died half in vain. The best they rated was half a celebration.

To be sure, both he and his heirs used the half-victory as a self-legitimising factor. That’s why post-war Soviet children were so inundated with wartime propaganda that many thought the war was still going on. They were weaned on a steady diet of cinematic ‘Halt!’ and ‘Hende Hoch!’ lore, with angelic Soviet soldiers slaughtering satanic Germans or, failing that, dying with the heroic words ‘For Motherland! For Stalin!’ on their lips.

When Stalin’s immediate entourage either died out or, like Khrushchev in 1964, got the elbow, the flipside of the great victory was forgotten, and the propaganda became downright cultish, with 9 May finally gaining its non-labour status a year later. But those Russians who thought the hysteria had reached its peak were sorely mistaken.

After a roughly 10-year hiatus during the 1990s, the KGB junta fronted by Col. Putin began to steer a steady course back to Stalin, except that they had to go the monster one better. With militarisation à la 1970s back on the agenda, the so-called Great Patriotic War became an all-year-round pagan festival, with 9 May its Walpurgisnacht.

People born decades after the war wear guards’ ribbons in their lapels, cabbies fly them out of their cars, every newspaper screams militaristic propaganda, slogans ‘We can do it again!’ are everywhere. And Novosibirsk, a city of 1.5 million souls, is adorned with hoardings proudly displaying Stalin, the cannibal who killed twice as many Russians as Hitler managed.

The war has been fully sacralised because Stalin’s plans are back on the agenda. Thus the Russians have found a religion, one accompanied not by church bells but by bugles and drums.

Putin’s Church of Holy Chauvinism boasts the kind of attendance Christianity can only dream of. In due course all those parishioners wearing guards’ ribbons may go to their deaths in apocalyptic numbers – while high priest Putin enjoys his purloined billions.






London scores another victory for democracy

VotingYesterday I suggested that the evil of two lessers is the only choice available to voters in modern democracies run riot. T.S. Eliot referred to this as “licensing the opinions of the most foolish”, while Churchill suggested that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

I was reminded of those wise epigrams when voting in the London mayoral election yesterday morning. The choice was hardly inspiring: Zac Goldsmith, nominally a Tory MP but in fact a fanatical environmentalist, or Sadiq Khan, nominally a Labour MP but in fact a rabid Muslim.

As I write this, Sadiq Khan is leading the tree-hugger by a margin big enough to suggest he’ll be our next mayor. He’s usually described as a ‘democratic socialist’ (as opposed to a Nazi or a Bolshevik?) and a ‘moderate Labourite’. That he may be, but he’s certainly not a moderate Muslim, if there is any such animal.

Mr Khan is on record referring to his insufficiently fire-eating co-religionist as ‘Uncle Tom’, a locution gratefully borrowed from the 1960s US Black Panthers. When I heard this, I was truly appalled.

How could he? I thought. How could he commit such a treasonous act? Why use a black American term when we have an impeccably British equivalent: Bounty. That sweet is basically coconut paste covered in chocolate, making it dark outside and white inside… well, you get the picture.

I know I’ll brand myself as a racist (racialist, in proper British usage), fascist, bigot and, even though Mr Khan is neither a homosexual nor a child, quite possibly also a homophobe and paedophile: but here comes. A man who feels so strongly about Islamic rectitude is unfit to be Mayor of the world’s greatest Western, meaning vestigially Christian, city.

Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be such a critical issue, but our circumstances are far from normal. Islam is clearly impassioned at the moment, and its adherents tend to express their religious fervour by blowing up public transportation, with people and assorted bits thereof landing on the roofs of nearby buildings.

There’s every indication that any time now London will be hit by another 2007, but ten (100?) times worse. Since it’s a dead certainty that the perpetrators will be neither Mormons nor even Calvinists, much hostility between the Muslims and non-Muslims is likely to ensue, requiring a resolute and, if need be, brutal response from the city government.

Are we sure that a Muslim mayor, especially one who liberally uses Americanisms like ‘Uncle Tom’, is going to respond the right way? Are we sure he’s capable of doing what it takes to forget political correctness, ignore the shrieks of ‘discrimination’ and try his best to prevent such an outrage – even if that means following the age-long police practice of concentrating resources on the highest-risk groups? Well, I’m not.

Now, apart from his mild but nonetheless laudable Euroscepticism and equally mild but deplorable support for government by plebiscite, Mr Goldsmith doesn’t seem to stand for any serious political beliefs other than global warming. The issue is indeed political rather than scientific, for the science supporting this great hoax is puny to the point of being nonexistent.

If, on the strength of a similar corpus of evidence, a scientist came up with a theory saying that smokestack industry and high-emission engines are good for the environment, he’d be laughed out of town or, most likely, committed to an institution. No such fate awaits those who concocted the idea that cars are destroying our planet – partly because it came not from scientists but from the UN.

Now London has the best part of 3,000,000 licensed cars, not counting other vehicles. I’d suggest that replacing each one of them with a horse would create a much worse pollution problem, but this simple thought never occurs to Zac.

Actually, there’s nothing wrong with responsible environmentalism. For example, the fabled London fogs were actually smog produced by thousands of smokestacks. Once those were pushed out, the ‘fogs’ disappeared, while the incidence of pulmonary diseases went down drastically.

But ‘responsible’ is the operative word. Like any other heresy, compulsive tree-hugging is a matter of emphasis. There’s nothing wrong with a chap who likes trees well enough to express his affection in a tactile fashion – provided this mild eccentricity is lodged at the periphery of his philosophy of life. When it moves to the centre, he’s no longer eccentric. He’s, at best, an intellectual lightweight (I won’t tell you what he is at worst).

Such was the choice I faced yesterday morning when contemplating the ballot box the way Aristotle contemplated the bust of Homer in a Rembrandt painting. This being a secret ballot, there’s absolutely no way I’m going to divulge that I actually wept, wailed, gnashed my teeth and voted for Goldsmith.

It’s that evil of two lessers again. Isn’t one-man-one-vote democracy wonderful?













I Fancy a Donald!

TrumpIf Americans were up on their Cockney rhyming slang, this would be a perfect campaign slogan for Trump: positive, energetic and appropriately populist. Can’t you just see thousands of activists, sporting huge I Fancy a Donald buttons, holding up I Fancy a Donald posters and waving I Fancy a Donald flags?

Alas, Americans are way outside the reach of Bow Bells. Hence, though they may have borrowed our common law and mimicked our parliamentary system, the finer aspects of the English language, as spoken in the lower reaches of its native habitat, are still beyond them.

That’s a shame, for Trump’s candidature appeals to exactly the US equivalents of the kind of Englishmen who’d have no trouble grasping the allusion in the title above: the slightly rough salt of the earth.

This is the largest, and quite possibly dominant, swathe of the American electorate, precisely the demos in democracy. That’s why I wouldn’t discount Trump’s chances come November: he may be unpopular with the NYT-reading luvvies of the Upper East Side, but there are more Daily News readers across the East River who may respond to his rough and slightly vulgar appeal.

Actually, his indisputable vulgarity is one charge levelled against Trump, but since when is that a disqualifying trait in American politics? Bill Clinton, who was adored by the NYT crowd, masturbated while a barely post-pubescent intern talked dirty to him on the phone. Then, face to face with said intern, he proved to Freud that sometimes a cigar is more than just a cigar. If that’s not vulgar, I don’t know what is.

Mrs Clinton is hardly a paragon of refinement either, Wellesley or no Wellesley, and Trump will be running against her, not William F. Buckley, John Kenneth Galbraith or some other American patrician of yesteryear.

Unlike Hillary, Trump is hugely unpopular with various ethnic minorities, but it’s still half a year to go before the elections, enough time to do something about that. Trump’s economic views aren’t exactly dog-eat-dog capitalism, and he’ll probably present this minus as a plus in the upcoming months, which is the kind of message many minorities respond to. Also, he may well balance his ticket with someone like Rubio, an impeccably ethnic chap who speaks Spanish like a native.

One way or the other, Trump won’t win many votes at the periphery of the electorate, but his unashamed populism may well claim the centre. He may also appeal to the bulk of voters by being vociferously anti-establishment in politics.

Since I haven’t lived in America for the best part of 30 years, I can’t judge the depth of the people’s disillusionment with those who govern them. Yet one suspects that the eight years of Barack Hussein might have turned people’s original scepticism about politicians into downright disgust. The Donald is an outsider, and most will probably see this is an asset.

The Donald certainly understands economics better than Hillary does – his endless zigzagging from plenitude to bankruptcy has given him plenty of opportunity to find out what works and what doesn’t. Unlike Hillary, he has no experience in foreign policy, but it seems easy enough to reassure the electorate that no experience at all is better than the consistent experience of failure amassed by Hillary.

Perhaps a good move for Trump would be to select extremely competent advisers and divulge their names in advance, thereby reassuring voters that he won’t be flying by the seat of his pants. On balance, I’d trust his ability, certainly more than I’d trust Hillary’s, to put a good team together – running a business empire is good preparation for that.

But Trump’s highest trump, as it were, is Hillary herself. This utterly objectionable woman has been on the verge of federal indictment for quite some time now, but even in the absence of legal proceedings there are more skeletons in her closet than one finds in most cemeteries.

One hears all sort of rumours, from sexual impropriety to fraud to corruption to even murder, and most – possibly all – of them may well be false. But the words ‘smoke’ and ‘fire’ may spring to voters’ minds at the critical moment – and down goes Hillary.

It’s also not beyond the realm of the possible that Republicans are sitting on some highly compromising scoop, ready to go public if it looks as if Hillary may carry the election. I’d be surprised if that weren’t the case, especially if even an infinitesimal part of things one hears about Hillary are true, going back all the way to her Arkansas days.

Let’s put it this way – if I still voted in US elections, then, given Hillary as the alternative, I’d opt for Trump. This shouldn’t be confused with a ringing endorsement. It’s just that I’d see him as the lesser of two evils.

But in fact, elections in the US, and nowadays just about everywhere else, can be more accurately described as the evil of two lessers. That, I’m afraid, is the nature of universal-franchise democracy, something prophesied by Tocqueville and experienced by us all.


Political terms don’t begin to describe politics (or Bernie Sanders)


Sanders-021507-18335- 0004

This morning an American reader asked me an intelligent question about Bernie Sanders, whom many in America call a communist. But is he? asked the reader, adding that communists force everyone to work, whereas Bernie doesn’t mind it if no one works: the state will provide.

My reply, though not in my view incorrect, barely scratched the surface of the issue:

“The common denominator there is socialism. If it were to be defined by a single feature, that’s expanding state control over the individual.

“There exist different types of socialism, depending on the chosen method of control, and therein lies the difference between communists (totalitarian socialists) and the likes of Bernie (‘democratic’ socialists).

“The former force people to work, thereby making them dependent on the state for their sustenance; the latter encourage people not to work, thereby making them dependent on the state for their sustenance. In both cases the underlying aim of socialism is achieved. There’s a difference, but it’s one of method, not principle.”

The abbreviated format left no room for asking, and attempting to answer, the next question: “Why has socialism, whatever its variant (national, international, democratic etc.) become the dominant politics of modernity? What’s the attraction?”

It can’t possibly be economic performance. One could show, figures in hand, that a country’s prosperity is always inversely proportionate to the amount of socialism there.

It can’t possibly be economic and social equality either. Quite the opposite – contrary to its declared aim, socialism widens the gap between the rich and the poor.

To cite one example, in the second half of the nineteenth century, when capitalism was at its peak and socialism was seen as a madcap European idea, the average ratio of income earned by US corporate directors and their employees was 28:1. Yet in 2005, when the country’s economy was largely socialist/corporatist, this ratio stood at 158:1.

So why do people submit to various types of socialism? Don’t they see that socialism varies only in the strength of the servitude bonds it imposes? Do most people in the West wish to cut off their political noses to spite their faces? Don’t they want to be more prosperous, free and secure?

Yes, they do. But political views are seldom, and never merely, rational. As often as not they reflect a deep-seated cultural and psychological predisposition, of which the people may or may not even be aware.

And, if that’s the case, political terminology is bound to be grossly inadequate to designate what at base has little to do with politics. A Shakespeare sonnet could perhaps be described in terms of the chemical composition of his ink or the shape of his writing desk, but that wouldn’t give us a clue to his inspiration.

Witness the fact that the Nazis, whose pre-war economic programme was indistinguishable from Stalin’s Five-Year Plans and FDR’s New Deal, are popularly known as right-wing, a term never used to describe either Stalin or Roosevelt. Margaret Thatcher was branded conservative by her fans and fascist by her detractors, whereas in fact she was neither. Putin is known as a conservative because he wishes to conserve elements of the worst socialist tyranny in history. And liberals in Australia pursue ends antithetical to those pursued by liberals in the US.

However, when terms like Right and Left were first introduced courtesy of the French Enlightenment, there was no confusion. Everybody on either side of the watershed knew where the dividing line ran, as they realised that politics was but a small part of the division.

Politics in fact was rightly seen as a derivative of culture, philosophy and religion. What the watershed separated was those who hated the traditional Western civilisation, otherwise known as Christendom, and those who loved it.

Those in the second group were seldom unaware of Christendom’s failings, and they were never averse to reform. As Burke put it epigrammatically, “a state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.” The same could have been said about the civilisation.

But those people never equated reform with destruction, nor criticism with hatred. A child doesn’t begin to hate his mother just because he realises she isn’t perfect.

Those in the other group were different, driven as they were not by love but by hate, hidden or manifest. They didn’t want to see Christendom reformed. They wanted to see it dead. Politics to them was but a means, not the end.

That division, mutatis mutandis, survives to this day. Socialists of any type, whether their faces are distorted by murderous scowls or adorned by beatific smiles, are descendants of the first group. Conservatives, the intelligent ones who know what it is they wish to conserve, trace their lineage back to the second.

So one may call Bernie Sanders a leftie, a socialist or a communist without getting to the core of his view of the world: hating and craving to destroy what’s left of our civilisation. The rest is window dressing, whether he realises this or not.




30,000 more reasons to vote Leave

London beggarsThat’s how many EU citizens get arrested in London every year, give or take a couple of thousand (always give, actually). That’s on top of 10,000 in our prisons already, taking the room that could otherwise be occupied by our home-grown thugs.

And there I was, thinking that EU membership puts us in a fluffy cocoon of security.

I haven’t seen the total number broken down by nationality but, taking a wild stab in the dark, I’d venture a guess that most crimes have been committed by migrants from the low-rent part of Europe. We’ve already been graced by the best part of a million Eastern Europeans and, on general principle, they’re more likely than, say, the Swedes or even the French to treat the law as merely a statement of intent.

Far be it from me to suggest that Romanians or Croatians are innately prone to criminal activity. It’s not nature that’s to blame, but nurture.

Our Eastern European brothers in the EU spent more than half a century celebrating May Day rather than Easter (which this year happened to coincide – not only with each other but also with Walpurgisnacht).

Two full generations of diabolical (I’m not using this adjective loosely) brainwashing, police tyranny, concentration camps, denunciations of neighbours, abject poverty, lawlessness, crime being the only non-Party way to earn more than sustenance wages – don’t underestimate the corrupting effects of communism.

The Russians had three generations of that sort of thing and much worse, which goes a long way towards explaining their own economy, criminalised as it is from top to bottom. But at least they keep street crime mostly for home consumption.

Russians living in the UK tend to specialise in white-collar crime, rather than mugging and pickpocketing, with the odd bit of prostitution (mostly female, I hasten to reassure you) thrown in for good measure. Yet, being an optimist, I can confidently predict that in the next 200 years or so my former countrymen will learn to bank their money without laundering it first.

Eastern Europeans also contribute aesthetic refinement to central London by reposing in filthy sleeping bags and swigging vodka right out of the bottle outside our ritziest hotels – actually the Ritz itself. Swarms of their well-drilled and organised professional beggars also add nice touches. All part of the rich panoply of life, I’m sure, but let’s just say that some parts are less savoury than others.

This could hardly have been expected to be otherwise. Looking at the experience of the US, large huddled masses of economic migrants have historically contributed more than their fair share to crime, organised or otherwise.

To be sure, some, probably most, roll up their sleeves and get ahead by hard work and enterprise. But there are always large groups of impatient chaps who’d rather take a criminal shortcut to riches. Hence the US East Coast had its Italian and Irish mafias, while the West Coast hospitably welcomed various Chinese equivalents.

Yet nineteenth-century migrants from Italy or Ireland – or even China – hadn’t suffered the corrupting effects plaguing today’s Eastern Europeans. Add a few decades of communism on top of economic deprivation, and you get crime not only widespread but downright pandemic. Laws for them aren’t ‘more honoured in the breach than in the observance’. They simply don’t exist.

And, as Americans like to say, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait till the Muslim part of Europe joins the EU and adds an inimitable Islamic touch to crime. Compared to Bosnia, Albania and Kosovo, Poland or Croatia are paragons of legality, and let’s not forget that 75 million Turks can already travel throughout Europe without visas – that’s before they’ve joined the EU, which they soon will.

Somehow I don’t see millions of Anatolians swelling our ranks of computer programmers and concert violinists (we already have a surfeit of those anyway). It’s much easier to imagine that such arrivals will turn London from the anteroom of hell it is already to the main premises.

In spite of all that, pro-EU spivs assure us that we’ll be so much safer by remaining than by leaving. That too is predictable: ideologies are impervious to facts and reason, which makes them different from Judaeo-Christianity.

Credo quia absurdum,” wrote Tertullian about his faith, which can be loosely translated as “I believe because you couldn’t make it up”. Federasts could paraphrase this to say “Credo quia malum” – they champion the EU not despite its being wicked, but specifically because of it. They quite like wickedness, provided it serves the principal desideratum of modernity: wiping out the last vestiges of our civilisation.

Hence the watershed between Leave and Remain doesn’t just divide the political Right and Left. It separates those who cherish our civilisation from those who, wittingly or unwittingly, work towards destroying it.

The walls of our civilisation are crumbling anyway, and an expertly wielded battering ram can bring them down altogether. Opening the floodgates to a deluge of aliens will do nicely. Danke schön, Angela. Merci beaucoup, François. Thanks a lot, Dave.



Brexit will spell the end of the world, says Ed

FT Editor Lionel Barber and Ed Miliband

Being a credulous sort, I’ve always believed every word of warning issued by EU enthusiasts. Everything they say makes sense.

Within days after Brexit, the pound will plunge. We’ll ask for a grand crème at a Paris café and have a fit when charged £150.

That is, if we’re allowed to be in Paris at all. Loyal EU members, including France, will be so cross that they’ll deny us travel visas. As we know, no Brit had ever travelled on the continent before the EU, which is why the most spectacular walk in Nice has been called Promenade des Anglais since 1820.

Trade with Europe will come to a screeching halt. After all, Britain only began to trade with the continent after joining the EU. Even in the days of the British Empire, mendaciously self-promoted as a ‘trading empire’, we never sold anything to Europe, nor bought anything from it.

The City of London will move lock, stock and barrel to Frankfurt, and all those Chinese and Russians will have to learn how to launder money in German.

Every Ford and Nissan factory will pack up and decamp to Bulgaria, leaving us unemployed. And the only thing we’ll have to drive is ourselves crazy.

If you think today’s influx of iffy migrants is bad, Brexit will turn the influx into The Flood. This one took me a bit longer to get my head around, for I had mistakenly thought that, should we regain control of our borders, we could restrict the currently unrestricted movement of people.

Then it dawned on me: the EU will punish us by doing a Dunkirk. Everything that can sail it’ll load to the gunwales with Syrians and do what the Germans never managed in their previous attempt to unite Europe: land millions of aliens on English beaches.

No longer able to buy food abroad, we’ll revert to the Blitz diet of potato-peel cutlets and vegetables growing in the middle of our sitting rooms (provided they won’t have been devoured by the pigs befouling our bedrooms).

We’ll find ourselves not just at the end of every possible queue but indeed out of them all. No Arab oil, no American gas, no Chinese underwear – we’ll freeze naked and hungry in the dark.

I’ve taken on faith every warning of our impending demise issued so far. Yet I’ve just found out that sinking into the worst decrepitude England has ever seen will be the least of our worries.

No, it’s not just Britain that’ll come to an end as a meaningful entity. The Earth, otherwise known as Our Planet, will exist no more, at least as “our global habitat” able to sustain biological life created by Darwin.

I must admit that this obvious thought hadn’t occurred to me until Ed Miliband made it irrefutably clear. Ed, whose return to politics must be welcomed by anyone who, like me, admires the sterling job he did on the economy, explained that it’s not only people who’ll suffer the post-Brexit misery.

Some of us will probably survive Brexit, if in a pathetically wretched state. But neither the elephants nor the whales nor the trees will. For Britain, bereft of the “added clout” of EU membership, won’t be able to stop ivory poaching, commercial whaling and illegal logging.

Only his epic self-restraint has stopped my political and intellectual hero Ed demanding that voting rights in the EU referendum be extended to elephants, whales and trees. After all, we’re all part of the rich, Labour-lit panoply of life. It’s unfair that elephants, whales and trees may go to their deaths without having a say in their destiny.

“Those campaigning for Britain to leave Europe cannot be trusted on the environment,” wrote Ed. “They have opposed vital green measures and denounced climate change as ‘mumbo-jumbo’. They demonstrate a cavalier ignorance about climate matters which embodies the extreme and out-dated outlook of those who want to leave.”

In other words, “those who want to leave” desire not just the end of our EU membership but the end of the world, with its diverse biosphere created by Darwin. How dare they ignore scientific facts?!?

No scientific discovery in history has ever matched the indisputable truth of anthropogenic global warming. All those laws of thermodynamics and theories of relativity suffer from a perennial lack of credibility because they were vouchsafed to the world by individual scientists.

Yet science is much too important to be left to scientists. By contrast, global warming was discovered, nay revealed, by the ultimate authority on such matters: the UN. Doubting it is therefore tantamount to wishing to destroy Our Planet, a fiendish plot to be thwarted by Ed.

If you harbour the thought of voting Leave, be ashamed of yourself. Not only will you abet in turning Britain into an economic desert, but you’ll also be responsible for smiting Our Planet with disasters that’ll outdo the Ten Plagues of Egypt.

I’m sure I’ll be speaking for all of us when I express my heartfelt thanks to Ed for giving us yet another compelling reason to vote Leave… sorry, I mean Remain.