KGB Vlad honours Ivan the Terrible

ivanEvery country honours its iconic personages, those seen to have served the nation particularly well. And the choice of icons is telling.

The English erect statues to Nelson. The French, to Louis XIV. The Italians, to Garibaldi. Acting in the same spirit, Putin’s government has just unveiled a statue to Ivan the Terrible. That’s like HMG honouring Jack the Ripper (this Repin painting shows Putin’s idol killing his son).

Vlad obviously traces his geopolitical and spiritual lineage back to the bellicose “gatherer of Russian lands”, as did Putin’s role model Stalin. Yet even Stalin never went so far as to commission a statue to the crazed monster.

Though later known for rabid attacks on Russia’s neighbours, Ivan began his reign by declaring war on his own people: “From time immemorial, the Russian people [wanted] to wipe out our whole dynasty…” To preempt that calamity, the first Russian tsar launched a punitive campaign against Russians.

Before he struck, Ivan had presciently tried to secure a fall-back position. To that end he sent his shaggy-bearded emissaries to Queen Elizabeth of England to propose marriage or, barring that, a mutual guarantee of haven if their respective subjects rebelled.

Her putative virginity must have been a factor in Ivan’s proposal, for he prized chastity in his brides. In fact, when on their wedding night his fifth wife turned out to be not quite virginal, Ivan had her drowned in a pond, as one did.

Elizabeth wasn’t so much reluctant to accept the proposal as perplexed: she had only a vague idea of Ivan or indeed Tartary, as contemporaneous English maps identified Russia. Hence she didn’t let Ivan’s wooing succeed where Leicester’s had failed.

Undeterred by amorous rejection, Ivan pressed on with his campaign regardless. To begin with, he created the first institutional organ of oppression in Russia: oprichnina, the somewhat more liberal precursor of Putin’s own KGB.

The oprichniks ransacked the land, torturing and murdering anyone who offended against the tsar’s ‘word and deed.’ In fact, those became the magic words that opened the doors of oprichnina barracks to any grass willing to denounce anyone he wished.

Those denounced would be first tortured and then, with few exceptions, cut to pieces or broken on the wheel – this even if their crime was only to have uttered a sentence beginning with “If I were tsar…” The just punishment would ensue inexorably even if the sentence then said “…I’d be even tougher on treason.”

However, the oprichniks were more even-handed than the KGB: they tortured not only the accused but also the accuser, to make sure he hadn’t borne false witness – biblical commandments had to be enforced.

Ivan, incidentally, was a pious man who knew the Scripture by heart. Nevertheless he murdered priests wholesale and practised rituals that openly mocked Christianity.

For example, Ivan set up a sham monastery for his cronies, in which they impersonated monks and he the abbot. There they alternated religious rituals with massacres, tortures of prisoners and orgies (the tsar boasted of having raped a thousand girls, many of whom he then killed in a fit of post-coital aggression).

The new statue appropriately shows Ivan raising the Orthodox cross – by serving as an extension of Putin’s (and before him Soviet) oprichnina, the hierarchy of today’s Russian church lives off Ivan’s blasphemous legacy.

Ivan also had a heightened aesthetic sense. He especially enjoyed the spectacle of his victims being sautéed in oil, to which end giant frying pans were erected in Red Square. As people were being evenly browned on all sides, the tsar would laugh and applaud whenever the executioners displayed more than average creativity.

Having thus hardened himself, Ivan opened large-scale hostilities. First he struck out in a north-westerly direction, systematically sacking every Russian town in his path.

The oprichniks murdered all prominent citizens, robbed everyone else and, as a final touch later duplicated by Lenin and Stalin, either confiscated or destroyed all grain. This worked by delayed action: those spared the oprichniks’ axes would succumb to starvation during the winter.

After capturing Tver, the oprichniks first robbed and murdered all the clergy, including the bishop. Over the next two days they sacked every house, looting what appealed to them and burning everything else.

Finally, the oprichniks rampaged through the streets, murdering everyone they could seize, including women and children. This they replicated in their subsequent conquests: 1,500 people were massacred in Torzhok alone, and it was a small town.

In January 1570 Ivan captured Novgorod. That Hanseatic city with parliamentary traditions had always irritated Ivan, and finally he had had enough.

By way of a warm-up, all Novgorod monks were clubbed to death. Then Ivan summoned the city’s aristocracy and trading elite, accompanied by their wives and children. They were all tortured ‘unimaginably’, as a contemporary described it.

Many were burnt with a chemical compound personally developed by the talented tsar, who had an aptitude for science too. Those men who were still alive were then drowned in the Volkhov river, followed by their wives, tied to their babies and pushed under the ice.

Then Ivan had all food in the city destroyed, along with all grain silos, fowl and cattle. Consequently, on top of the 60,000 corpses already swelling the Volkhov, the denizens had to suffer horrendous famines. Cannibalism was rife. Corpses were dug out of their graves and devoured.

A true pioneer, Ivan can also be credited with one of the first Jewish pogroms in Russia. When in 1563 he captured Polotsk, he massacred all the Jews living there.

Countries are like people: whatever they learn in their youth stays with them for ever. Ivan’s lesson on government has since entered the nation’s viscera. Rather than trying to expunge it, Putin gleefully shows it’s there to stay.

Tusk is right: hard Brexit or none


For once I agree with the EU. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council put it in a nutshell: “The only real alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit.”

A ‘soft’ Brexit means losing our vote in the EU, while still having no control of our borders, obeying the unconstitutional European Court and paying untold billions into EU coffers.

A much better exit strategy was mapped out 2,000 years ago: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” Obvious, isn’t it?

But nothing eurocrats ever say is just text. There’s always a subtext and, as befits a contrivance built on lies, it’s always perfidious.

Tusk’s next words make that clear: “The brutal truth is Brexit will be a loss for all of us.” That means for the EU, for no one is so naïve as to believe that its apparatchiks care for anybody else.

The loss will be significant. The EU’s creaking finances will lose our billions. Its already catastrophic unemployment will become even worse without Britain acting as a dumping ground for labour (and social benefits). The euro will become untenable even more than it already is.

And then there’s the real loss, the only one that really matters to this evil setup. As I – and everyone familiar with the EU gospels according to Monnet-Schumann-Gasperi-Spinelli – can’t stop repeating, the EU pursues political, not economic, ends.

Their economic pronouncements are simply subterfuge to camouflage their true purpose: creation of a single European state similar to the Third Reich, but preferably without its murderous excesses. The ultimate end is to replace politics with administration, accountability with diktat and the nation state with an amorphous blob devoid of traditional culture, language and allegiances.

Anyone who fails to realise this about the EU will never understand the first thing about it. Conversely, many seemingly senseless things perpetrated by the EU become logical if regarded in this light.

Take the single currency. Nobody, not even the likes of Tusk, is so ignorant as not to realise that this concept is unworkable and downright ruinous. Even the Nazis couldn’t quite make a single currency work successfully, and they had the kind of total political control over Europe that the EU can only dream about.

If prosperity were indeed their concern, the euro wouldn’t even have been mooted in casual conversation. However, if total control by an unaccountable quasi-fascist body is the real aim, then the euro makes sense.

It’s a political loss that gives Tusk, Merkel and Juncker sleepless nights. They fear, with good reason, that proverbial dominoes will tumble if Britain leaves.

All those disgruntled EU members, meaning almost all of them, will be shown a way to settle their grievances. And if, God forbid, Britain becomes successful on the out, there will be no keeping them in.

That’s why the eurocrats use those sleepless nights to bang their heads together, trying to figure out how to prevent Brexit or, barring that, make sure Britain suffers for it.

Since they can’t yet keep us in by force, divide et impera emerges as the only possible strategy. They have to mobilise the Euro-quislings within Britain and give them the tools to do their subversive job: stalling Brexit indefinitely or, better still, overturning it altogether.

The whole LibDem party, practically all of Labour and significant chunks of the Tories led by all those Daves and Georges, still smarting from their loss of power, are the guerrilla force run by the EU.

They draw in volunteers, such as businessmen and lawyers threatening to mount a legal challenge to Brexit, and the SNP – all those fishy Sturgeons and Salmonds, who crave Scotland’s sovereignty so much that they’re dying to dissolve it in the EU, where they’ll have nowhere near the say they have in Britain.

Of course, public opinion still matters in Britain, what with the memory of a sovereign Parliament still extant. But the public has already been so thoroughly corrupted that it mainly thinks about such issues in economic terms.

Hence the EU has set out to throw economic spanners into the Brexit works – which is exactly what Tusk is threatening, with Merkel, Hollande and Juncker vigorously nodding in the background.

Hence also a leaked Treasury forecast (don’t forget that this department is led by a Remainer, as is HMG) that leaving the single market will cost the exchequer £66 billion a year in taxes. Crikey, that’s a lot of dosh. Nations have been sold into slavery for less.

One wonders how the US, China, Japan and other wealthy economies absorb such losses and still soldier on: after all, they all do brisk trade with the EU without belonging to the single market, with all that entails. Has anyone told Japan to open its borders if it wants to flog Toyotas in Europe?

Are there enough people left in Britain with sufficiently acute eyesight to see through such tricks? Sufficient backbone to resist cynical threats? Sufficient civic morality to realise that, if their grandfathers were prepared to die for freedom, surely it’s worth suffering some discomfort for it (even assuming that it ensues)?

One hopes so – which is a click or two down the scale from certainty.

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

bobdylanAnd here’s the question: Is there any limit to the subversive, demotic rubbish receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature?

Bob Dylan, the recipient of the 2016 prize, plucks the answer out of the blowin’ wind and lays it before us. It’s an emphatic no.

His award proves that Times writers, specifically Ben Macintyre, possess prophetic powers. For two years ago Ben wrote an article pressing Dylan’s case with deep conviction, approaching religious faith in its intensity.

Actually, conviction is too mild a word to describe Ben’s belief in Bob’s greatness. Fanaticism is more like it: “…Dylan is indisputably one of the greatest lyrical poets of the age, a supreme master of language who has reinvented his art with exemplary energy and imagination for more than half a century.”

The only way to establish whether or not Bob’s greatness deserves the Nobel Prize is to read some of his poetic masterpieces. Such as:

How many roads must a man walk down// Before you call him a man?// How many seas must a white dove sail// Before she sleeps in the sand?// Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly// Before they’re forever banned?// The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind// The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

This flatulent doggerel is deemed to merit the accolade that has bypassed such undeserving scribes as Henry James, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Henrik Ibsen, Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Jorge Luis Borges, W.H. Auden and Robert Frost.

To be fair to Ben, he anticipated dissent in some quarters and preempted it:

“Those who insist that words can only be literature if written for the page seem quaintly old-fashioned. At a time when traditional formal poetry is in decline, informal oral poetry is booming. This is poetry written for the ear before the eye, returning the voice to verse, and now being consumed and recited in vast quantities by a younger generation. It is called rap.”

This is a time-honoured trick. The writer concocts an idiotic objection that no one in his right mind would ever make. Then he refutes it with some élan.

Someone insisting that true poetry can’t be sung wouldn’t be ‘quaintly old-fashioned’, Ben. He’d be ignorant.

Sublime poetry has been sung since the Psalms, the Song of Songs, Homer and the troubadours. Persian poets, such as Saadi, sang their poems. The Russian poet Mandelstam (who never received the Nobel either, instead dying in a Soviet concentration camp) recited his poems in singsong. So did Pasternak. So did Brodsky.

Poetry doesn’t have to be “written for the page”. But it does have to be poetry, which Bob’s excretions aren’t.

Bob is nothing but a trendy leftie who not only hasn’t written a single poetic line in his life but wouldn’t recognise one if it hit him in the eye, still aching from last night’s intake of coke. His acclaim is wholly owed to his indeed being a trendy leftie who during the ’60s appealed to the pimply youths ready to answer Timothy Leary’s call to “tune in, turn on and drop out”.

Bob’s art, such as it is, is an extension of the drug culture, which is the only kind of culture it’s an extension of. Only a tasteless ignoramus would regard his songs as poetry or literature in general (with apologies to the Nobel Committee and Ben).

But then Ben also thought that rap is real poetry, albeit “informal, oral”. He didn’t offer any aesthetic judgement to back up this assertion. His argument was entirely ad populum: “[rap is] now being consumed and recited in vast quantities by a younger generation.”

A younger generation does indeed display a voracious taste for aesthetic coprophilia. That’s why a middle-aged, bespectacled gentleman like Ben is duty-bound to educate their taste as best he can, bucking the savage paedocratic trend. Instead he serves up more of the same malodorous fare, not so much blowin’ in the wind as producing it.

A modern reader, battle-hardened in the trenches of egalitarianism, may object that I’m too harsh on Ben. He has one opinion on what constitutes great poetry, I have another. And all opinions are equally valid, aren’t they?

They may be. But not all judgements are, and the crucial difference between an opinion and a judgement is these days lost.

In my judgement, Bob’s verses, with their distorted meter, attempts to rhyme words that don’t rhyme and absence of any poetic sensibility whatsoever, are crude doggerel which isn’t so much poetry as its exact opposite.

In Ben’s judgement they, along with rap, are high poetry worthy of the highest accolade. You’ll have to judge which of us is right.

Meanwhile, now that Bob’s achievements have been recognised, it’s time to think of next year’s candidates. I’d like to nominate another great practitioner of “informal, oral” poetry, the rap group N**gaz With Attitude.

Their work too is “now being consumed and recited in vast quantities by a younger generation”, who join me in admiring these immortal lines:

“So I’ma let’em know how a nigga’s livin’// Checking the muthafuckas cause nobody ain’t givin’ a damn thing// To a nigga, a real nigga// So I’m livin’ by the muthafuckin’ trigger.”

Good luck, N**gaz With Attitude. And congratulations, Bob.

They don’t call these countries low for nothing

amsterdamNazi humanism is dead, but its spirit lives on in Holland, with Belgium also offering comfortable accommodation.

The spirit animates Dutch legislators and doctors, who enthusiastically join forces to kill not only terminally ill patients but now also perfectly healthy people. Naturally, just like the Nazis, they claim the best possible motives.

In October, 1939, Hitler signed his ‘euthanasia decree’, saying in part that: “Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, to be designated by name, so that patients who, after a most critical diagnosis, on the basis of human judgement [menschlichem Ermessen], are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death.”

Replace the German names with those of Holland’s health and justice ministers, and the same statement could have been written, verbatim, by Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister.

The Nazis rapidly expanded their ‘human judgement’ to include people who weren’t ‘considered incurable’ in any normal medical practice. Just about any disability was deemed sufficient, particularly for those groups the Nazis didn’t like very much.

That was to be expected: any evil ‘human’ law presupposes arbitrary expansion ad infinitum, for voluntarism is the essence of humanism. You understand that I’m using the word in its true meaning, rather than its modern perversion that somehow got to mean human goodness.

In fact, humanism is a deadly superstition whose adherents worship anthropocentrism, man’s centrality to a universe created by Darwin, exhaustively explained by Marx and ruled by Freud. The antonym of humanism isn’t brutality (which is more nearly its synonym), but theism or, specifically in the Western context, Judaeo-Christianity.

A man is the sole master of his life, teaches humanism. That means he’s within his right to end his life whenever he wishes, for whatever reason. And if he’s either hesitant or ill-qualified to make that decision for himself, his intellectual and institutional superiors can make it for him.

Once such superior beings get into full swing, there’s no stopping them. Hence the Nazis used the euthanasia decree to kill healthy people as well. It’s reassuring to see how faithfully the Dutch are treading the same path.

The law being drafted at present and guaranteed to pass will legalise assisted suicide for even perfectly healthy people, provided they feel they have ‘completed life’. This represents yet another pioneering effort in a country that was the first to legalise euthanasia in 2002.

The Dutch have been taking liberties with the definition of incurable disease right from the beginning. For example, a young girl who suffered sex abuse and as a result became depressed and anorexic, was recently passed by doctors as fit for euthanasia.

But at least until now doctors have had to agree that a patient suffers from an incurable medical condition with no hope of improvement. On that basis, they’d draft a euthanasia request for an ethics commission to make the final decision, typically within a week, an expeditiousness seldom shown in other bureaucratic procedures.

About 7,000 people a year are being dispatched at present, with the number constantly growing. Yet even this already impressive achievement seems wanting to the Dutch. The process is much too slow and not sufficiently all-encompassing for their taste.

Hence Holland’s health and justice ministers have submitted to parliament their draft law. The ministers honestly admit they haven’t worked out the details, but the general thrust is to them indisputable: people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”

This represents yet another step on the road to perdition the Dutch tread with particular relish. Observing Amsterdam’s profusion of opium dens and beautiful seventeenth-century windows adorned with ugly semi-nude whores, I always feel approaches to the city should carry proud signs “Twinned with Sodom and Gomorrah”.

Before too long those imaginary signs will have to be augmented by “…and Auschwitz”. For make no mistake about it: the very next step on the same road will be that the final solution… sorry, I mean decision, shouldn’t be left to the people’s “well-considered opinion”. Other, infinitely better-qualified, individuals will be deciding on their behalf.

One can only guess how far the aforementioned road will lead. However, if I were a Dutch Jew or Gypsy, I’d begin to feel a mild discomfort, if not yet mortal fear.

Some will no doubt feel that I’m pushing the parallel between Nazi and Dutch euthanasia too far. I’m not going to argue the point because, as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t worth arguing about.

What’s absolutely critical to understand is that both spring from the same source: Enlightenment humanism with its wanton destruction of the moral and transcendent underpinnings of our civilisation.

The two exercises in euthanasia are thus the kind of parallel lines that may well defy Euclid and vindicate Lobachevsky by converging.

Our papers supply what we demand

sexypapersAll businesses function according to the law of supply-demand, postulated by Adam Smith and other obstetricians to modernity.

Hence, if the demand for potassium cyanide is greater than for potassium chloride, that’s what our chemical firms will sell. And if HMG tries to interfere, it’ll be hit with the uppercut of Edmund Burke’s warning that “the moment that government appears at market, the principles of the market will be subverted.”

If today’s music lovers like to have their music played by giftless semi-nude girls, they’ll be treated to a steady diet of Yuja Wang and Khati Buniatishvili, performing what a reader of mine calls Concerto in 34D Major.

If the market wants assisted-suicide clinics, that’s what the market will get. There’s no God but supply-demand, and money is its profit.

Newspaper publishing is like any other business. If the press barons of the past were at times driven by considerations other than supply-demand, today such things are seen as quaint oddities.

The reading public gets what it wants to read, and what it wants most is something that tickles its naughty bits. That means sex involving celebrities. coercive sex, drunken sex, group sex or just sex.

If you wish to take issue with this observation, here are eight of the first 24 stories appearing on the website of our most conservative newspaper, and I wonder what the other lot are printing. By the time you read this, both the stories and their ratio will probably change, but the general tendency won’t:

Wheelchair-bound woman is gang-raped by six migrants at Swedish asylum centre after asking if she could use the toilet

The migrants’ religious identity is left to the readers’ imagination, but you only get one guess. I must say an asylum centre of any description wouldn’t be my first choice of a pit stop, especially if my mobility were limited, but tastes differ. Anyway, I suspect next time the woman will opt for a lay-by or a bar.

Man, 59, rushed to a Vietnamese hospital in agony after ‘breaking’ his penis trying an exotic sexual position

A bit of a cock-up, that, but the nature of the exotic position is cruelly withheld. The people have a right to know, if only as ‘don’t try this at home’ precaution.

So DOES size matter? Women debate the importance of penis size in a very frank chat that will make every man blush

It DOES matter, but not as much as what you do with it or the attendant “emotional stuff”. You can see me wiping my brow even as we speak.

‘What’s the box for?’ ‘It’s for you’: British father, 66 is jailed for raping his son from the age of six and locking him in a wooden crate for hours at a time in Ireland

One wonders why the British father had to go to Ireland for that purpose. “The boy, now 13, was placed in foster care in 2011 where he was further sexually abused by a child,” informs the paper. The poor lad simply can’t win.

‘It wasn’t time for a conversation’: Ched Evans tells his rape retrial he didn’t speak to his victim before thy had sex

The strong silent type then. Women used to shun me for such men, and that still rankles.

Muslim father rapes his daughter as punishment because she had become ‘too Westernised’ living in Norway

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECARI) is going to hear about this. Hasn’t the EU expressly banned British papers from using the word ‘Muslim’ in such contexts? The first word in the headline should have been ‘Norwegian’.

Male nurse who plied a drug addict patient with beer and had sex with her after contacting her on LinkedIn is suspended for a year

“The woman, who was addicted to heroin, had worked as a prostitute to feed her habit,” says the paper, but apparently that’s no mitigating circumstance.

Judge who quit the government’s child sex abuse inquiry after just 18 months was handed a £90,000 payoff – including flights home to New Zealand

The inquiry, says the paper, is beleaguered, leaving it for the reader to work out any possible causal relationship with the judge’s remuneration.

Far be it from me to deny the variable newsworthiness of all these stories. By all means, if that’s what our comprehensively educated public wants to read about, it should be given the chance.

But eight out of the first 24 stories? A third? Verily I say unto you: they publish and we perish.

Not physically, you understand. We are perishing as a civilisation worthy of the name, but at least it’s all in a good cause. The law of supply-demand won’t be repealed for any reason, and that’s one noble cause worth dying for.|

US, as in USSR

yaltaIn their 1992 book The Fascist Sword Was Forged in the USSR, Russian historians Y. Diakov and T. Bushyeva proved, documents in hand, that Hitler wouldn’t have been able to rebuild his army without Stalin’s help.

But where was the Soviet sword forged? After all, the 1917 revolution and subsequent civil war destroyed Russia’s nascent industry, and Russia was supposedly surrounded by implacable enemies.

The 1928 Five-Year Plan inaugurated a drive towards industrialisation, but the pack seemed to be stacked against the USSR. It clearly couldn’t industrialise without Western, specifically American, help, which seemingly wasn’t forthcoming. The US didn’t even recognise the USSR until 1933.

However, a miracle occurred: by the late 1930s Russia had created by far the best-equipped army in the world. For example, the Red Army had more tanks than the rest of the world combined, and the quality of those machines was such that no other country was able even to approach it until the war was almost over.

How did Russia work such a miracle in just 10 years? There’s a perfectly rational explanation: American businessmen systematically built up the Soviet war machine.

And the US administration did nothing to stop a flow of armaments and other strategic supplies even when Stalin’s Russia was allied with Nazi Germany between 23 August, 1939, and 22 June, 1941. Moreover, no political or economic conditions for aid were imposed. The US administration was so obliging that the Soviets didn’t even have to steal military technology.

For example, the best Soviet tanks BT-7M, T-34 and KV were based on the American M1931 tank designed by Walter Christie, whose work was underappreciated in his native land.

In 1930 the Soviets bought two M1931s complete with specifications, spare parts and production rights, put them in boxes marked as tractors and shipped them home. This at a time when the Soviet Union was not only barred from obtaining war materials in the United States but wasn’t even diplomatically recognised by America.

It’s clear that the US government, while playing hard to get in the diplomatic arena, acted on its inbred pecuniary imperative in areas that counted. An enemy to American people could well be a friend to American businessmen.

In 1929 the Americans built the Stalingrad ‘tractor’ factory, then Europe’s largest tank manufacturer. The entire facility was built as modules in the United States, transported across the Atlantic on 100 ships and re-assembled in Stalingrad by American technicians.

Later, Americans cloned the Stalingrad plant in Cheliabinsk and Kharkov. It was in those plants that Christie’s designs were adopted and turned into the greatest tank force the world had ever known.

It wasn’t just tanks either. Between 1930 and 1940, the Americans created Soviet chemical, aircraft, electrical, oil, mining, coal, steel and other industries.

During that decade Americans built 1,500 Soviet factories. The labour force was mostly made up of GULAG slaves, organised and managed by US engineers, 200,000 of whom were working in the USSR. Many of them ended up in the GULAG themselves, with the US government doing nothing to secure their return.

It wasn’t just US engineers but also teachers who helped the Soviets out of their self-inflicted misery. American academics trained 300,000 qualified technical personnel, practically the entire management class of Soviet industry.

Hence there was nothing miraculous about that industrial miracle. It was made possible by US expertise and Soviet slave labour, a combination that surely must raise some moral questions.

Why did the US government allow that outrage? The argument that in a free country the government can’t tell businessmen where to invest doesn’t cut much ice. Any government can stop the flow of strategic materials to a potential enemy, and US laws, like those of any Western country, contained sufficient provisions for such action.

Such questions have more than just historical significance. Russia is again in the midst of a massive militarisation programme, and again she heavily depends on Western technologies and finance.

To mention one significant detail, among thousands, the Russians don’t make their own computers. They’re using American products to wage electronic war on America, and prepare to paralyse her communications if the new cold war gets warmer.

And yet, some derisory post-Crimean sanctions apart, today’s US administration talks tough but, just like FDR back in the 1930s, does nothing to defang the Russian military beast growing to maturity. Why?

Any modern government finds it congenitally hard to look beyond short-term economic gain. Today’s politicians simply can’t see farther than the next election, which they know will be mostly decided by the proverbial bottom line.

It doesn’t matter to them that every million earned from building up the Russian war machine will then take a billion to counteract. The billions will have to be paid later, but today’s millions may well pave their way to power.

This is what I call totalitarian economics, approaching politics strictly ab oeconomia. The same arguments are applied to every major political development, including Brexit.

Politicians don’t realise that such cynical amorality fails even on those puny terms. Nurturing a monster necessitates making sure he doesn’t devour you first, and there’s a cost attached, in lives, liberties – and money.

Morality pays, amorality destroys. Alas, this simple law of nature is beyond our politicians’ understanding.

Lavrentiy Putin, meet Vladimir Beria

PutinTVMy friend Vlad kindly sent me the transcript of his recent speech, graciously granting me the permission to publish it. So here are a few excerpts:

“Today’s US rulers… those who have their hands on the control levers of the American state and military machine… want to establish an unchallenged domination in every part of the world, to guarantee their superprofits by robbing and subjugating the people of other countries. That’s why they need war… While pushing their country on the warpath, they also hope that the arms race and military tensions will enable them to prevent an economic crisis. But that crisis is ineluctably moving in on the US economy, and neither tricks nor brinkmanship on the part of the financial wheeler-dealers will preempt it….

“Having spread a network of military bases all over the world, and hastily putting together all sorts of aggressive military blocs, they are feverishly preparing for war with Russia…

“The US brass are staging demonstratively brazen and aggressive provocations against Russia… which are clearly designed to ruin the Russians’ tranquillity and to whip up war psychosis at home and among American stooges.

“Yet only hopeless idiots can expect to scare the Russian people with such provocations…”

Fooled you, didn’t I? For a second there you must have thought that Vlad is really my friend and the speech was really his. He isn’t and it wasn’t.

However, anybody who follows Putin’s rhetoric and that of his mouthpieces could have been fooled just as easily. Not just the general thrust of the speech but also its verbatim statements gush from Russian TV screens 24 hours a day.

In fact, the speech is real even if Vlad’s authorship of it isn’t. All I had to do to mislead you was replace ‘Soviet’ with ‘Russian’.

Otherwise the speech is exactly as it was delivered on 7 October, 1952, by Lavrentiy Beria, Stalin’s hangman-in-chief and Putin’s typological predecessor as head of State Security and aspiring dictator.

The latter ambition was nipped in the bud a few months later, when Beria’s comrades whacked him in gangland style and later staged a bogus retrospective trial featuring an unconvincing double as the defendant.

However, having killed Beria, they kept his policies, and followed them in the traditionally meandering Soviet manner of two steps forward, one step back. When Beria’s long-term policy eventually came to fruition, it became known worldwide as glasnost and perestroika, two of the few contributions Russian has made to European languages.

Beria saw foreign policy as a giant op designed to disarm the West and make it ripe for a Soviet takeover. His desired ends were no different from Stalin’s, but his methods were more subtle. Rather than raping the West into submission, Beria felt seduction would work better.

He proposed, among other seemingly liberal measures, disbanding the collective farms, building up the consumer economy, allowing the reunification of Germany, loosening the reins within the Soviet bloc and so forth. Beria correctly felt that a demob-happy West had no taste for a costly arms race nor certainly a direct military confrontation.

The Stalinist Politburo led by Khrushchev wouldn’t wear it: Beria’s thinking was too radical for their tastes. Stalinist policies without Stalin were more to their liking.

They killed Beria, but the relay baton he carried was passed on to his disciples within the KGB: mainly Shelepin, Semichastny and Andropov. In due course Andropov became the first KGB chief to rise to the very top, and it was he who sponsored Gorbachev’s ascendance.

The party’s resistance to Beria’s long-term strategy was thus broken, and English became two words richer. It’s hard to say whether the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union was part of the strategy or its unintended consequence. It’ll be another generation or two before we know for sure.

But what we know already is that, for all its stops and starts, Beria’s strategy is working. The West is disarming, some of its leading figures adore Putin, and Russia’s military muscle is building up at almost Stalin’s rate. Guns before butter is again the implicit slogan, while explicitly the Russians are appealing to the West’s good nature.

Look, they seem to be saying, we’re trying to be as free, democratic and prosperous as you are. But that takes time, and we’re experiencing some growth pains.

Play along with us, help us with investments and aid, and you’ll have a friend for life. And please don’t punish some of our precipitous actions too harshly: think of us as good but impetuous youngsters feeling their way into the grown-up world.

All that wooing abroad is accompanied, as it was in Beria’s time, by thunderous bellicose propaganda at home, designed to rally the populace and make it accept the growing deprivations.

The odd bit of murder, though not yet on the Beria scale, helps to keep the masses in check too, but for the time being it’s the Beria-like soundbytes that do most of the domestic work.

Thus we shouldn’t be surprised that Putin’s speeches can so easily be confused with Beria’s. For all lifelong KGB officers, which Putin self-admittedly and proudly is, Beria is the god they worship. His words are their gospel.

Those of us who pray to different gods should be worried and vigilant. What Putin is doing in the Ukraine and Syria just may be the dress rehearsal.

Who Save Whom?!?

ElizabethIII’m telling you, beware of Danes bearing grudges…

The Dane Mahamed Abdullahi, Student Union Welfare Officer at King’s College London, has called for God Save The Queen to be removed from the graduation ceremony.

His reason is ‘far-right nationalism’ which our national anthem promotes – this even though nobody sings the second verse, the one about confounding our enemies’ politics and frustrating their knavish tricks.

After all, Denmark hasn’t been our enemy for over a millennium, its politics are similar to ours, and it hasn’t tried too many knavish tricks in recent memory, certainly none to be summarily frustrated.

Hence Mahamed Abdullahi doesn’t object to the anthem because of any affront to his Danish nationality, even though his genetic memory of Ivar the Boneless and other Danish conquerors of England must still be strong.

Is it the frequent references to God then? It’s true that Anglicanism is different in some details from the Lutheranism widely practised, and even more widely ignored, in Denmark.

Yet, broadly speaking, both confessions worship the same God. Hence the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi shouldn’t object to the anthem on those grounds even if he is a devout Lutheran.

It’s true that God Save the Queen may be construed as being a bit too British, and we should collectively apologise to the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi for that. Our sole excuse is that this whole genre presupposes a certain amount of patriotism. I mean God Save Ivar the Boneless would be incongruous in this context, wouldn’t you say?

I appreciate that the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi may be an ardent patriot of his country, to an extent that glorifying a foreign monarch is offensive to him. Yet, when all is said and done, the King’s College he attends is in London, not Copenhagen. He could make some allowances for that, couldn’t he?

One would also suggest that, though lamentably patriotic, the anthem doesn’t promote right-wing nationalism specifically. If some right-wing nationalists adopt it as their own, that’s not the song’s fault – it can be just as inspiring to other kinds of nationalism as well.

It’s true that persons of the left-wing internationalist persuasion, otherwise known as the Labour Party, sing different songs at their conferences. Their taste runs more towards The Internationale and Bandiera Rossa.

De gustibus… and all that, but several lyrics in The Internationale may be regarded as treasonous in some quarters. For example: “No more deluded by reaction// On tyrants only we’ll make war// The soldiers too will take strike action// They’ll break ranks and fight no more// And if those cannibals keep trying// To sacrifice us to their pride// They soon shall hear the bullets flying// We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.”

It’s true that a call to “shoot the generals on our own side” is unlikely to inspire right-wing nationalism, nor any other kind for that matter. It may, however, inspire certain other sentiments, those one would suggest ill-behove Her Majesty’s Opposition to express.

But this is neither here nor there, since there’s no evidence that the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi would opt for The Internationale as the King’s College graduation song. In fact, I’d be at a loss trying to discern the motive behind Mr Abdullahi’s objection – but for his own eloquent explanation:

“In the context of increasing far right nationalism across Europe and the legacy of the British empire, it’s just a bit s*** and it doesn’t even bang. Basically, f*** the nation state.”

It’s good to see that the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi, a geography post-graduate, has mastered a foreign language to a point where he can express himself with such colloquial fluency. His statement may strike some as too robust, but the argument behind it is serious.

So serious in fact that it’s shared by 48 per cent of Britain’s own population, including such illustrious figures as Ken Clark, Tony Blair and Dave Cameron. Why, until very recently it was shared even by our PM Theresa May, and no one can accuse her of being a Dane, or for that matter a Mahamed Abdullani.

The Dane Mahamed Abdullahi’s alma mater certainly took his objections with the seriousness they deserve. Its spokesman said:

“We are always open to feedback from students, staff and alumni and are currently in discussion with KCLSU student officers about various elements of the ceremonies, including the use of the National Anthem. Feedback from all members of the King’s community will be used in planning the next set of ceremonies.”

We none of us want to promote the kind of right-wing nationalism that offends the Dane Mahamed Abdullahi’s delicate sensibilities. The only possible excuse for King’s College London to persevere with these jingoistic, anti-global, anti-Mahamed Abdullahi couplets is the College’s unfortunate heritage.

It was founded in 1829 under the patronage of King George IV, hence the tradition of singing the monarch’s praises. No doubt a different anthem would be sung had the institution been founded by Ivar the Boneless, or some other leader for whom Mahamed Abdullahi’s Danish loins ache.

They’re really something, those Danes. And judging by the response of King’s College London, this one may just get his way.

Free speech, EU-style

gagFree press is the scourge of any totalitarian regime. Either one or the other can survive, never both.

Though not yet fully fledged, the EU is like any other totalitarian regime. That’s why it squirms whenever it sees in print anything contrary to its political ends.

Back in 2001 the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU can lawfully suppress political criticism. The Commission, said the court, was within its rights to punish those who “damaged the institution’s image and reputation”.

Fair enough, that institution is perfectly capable of damaging its image and reputation on its own, with no outside help necessary, thank you very much.

This it has proved yet again by demanding that HMG issue a gagging order on journalists reporting Muslim terrorist acts. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) doesn’t object to reports on terrorism as such, provided its Islamic provenance isn’t specified.

God forbid people may make a connection between mass murder and mass Muslim immigration, fostered by the EU’s open-door policy.

Yes, some unidentified persons may strap explosives to their bodies and detonate them on public transport, or else spray crowds with AK bullets. As long as the murderers remain unidentified, ECRI will graciously allow journalists to report the incidents.

It’ll even let them mention the murderer’s name, provided it’s Abe Baker, rather than Abu Bakr, and the accompanying battle cry was ‘Allo rather than Allah.

Come on, chaps, we’re trying to forget that the idea for an EU came out of the wartime meeting of minds between Vichy and Nazi bureaucrats. Do you have to remind us of the fundamentally fascist nature of this wicked contrivance?

In a free country, there’s only one reason to gag a reporter: divulging classified information. But surely there’s nothing secret about the amply documented fact that the number of terrorist acts is directly proportionate to the number of Muslims?

So why should we knock out the cornerstone of British polity? Funny you should ask, says ECRI Chairman Christian Ahlund: “It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.”

Allow me to translate from EU into human: a report stating that the suicide bomber screamed ‘Allahu akbar!’ qualifies as hate speech. Using the term in its traditional meaning, I’d say that British papers and politicians are remarkably tolerant, even of intolerable acts.

It’s not in Britain but in the countries that were home to Vichy and Nazi bureaucrats that racial hatred is on the rise. It’s not the British but French National Front that’s threatening to form the next government. It’s not in Britain but in Germany that the neo-Nazis are gaining legislature seats all over the country.

Today’s heirs to those founding bureaucrats fear not anti-Muslim but anti-EU sentiments, especially those caused by the criminal policies of the EU itself. If Europeans were too stupid to connect deliberately uncontrolled immigration with terrorism, the EU wouldn’t mind if Muslims were attacked in every European street.

But brainwashing can’t make people brain-dead, especially if they have eyes to see and ears to hear. Hard as the federasts try, they are blamed for the mass murder and rape perpetrated by new arrivals and Muslims already ensconced in Europe. Add to this the economic catastrophe descending on the continent, and EU bureaucrats begin to feel the cold wind of unemployment on their backs.

We must realise that, like any other aspiring totalitarian regime, the EU cares only about its own survival and power. Like any other totalitarian regime, it’s not about its subjects’ safety and prosperity. Its sole purpose is achieving its political objectives.

This is the altar at which eurocrats worship, and they’ll sacrifice anything at it, including safety and prosperity. It’s in this context that the obscene threats issued to Britain by Merkel and Hollande must be understood.

By voting for Brexit Britain acted like a naughty schoolboy badly in need of caning. This is threatened in the shape of various economic sanctions, such as barring Britain from free trade with the EU.

Philosophically speaking, anything that’s modified by the word ‘free’, be it ‘speech’ or ‘trade’, is anathema to the EU. The only exception is ‘free movement of people’, meaning more Muslim immigration above anything else.

Practically speaking, any punitive measures will punish the EU more than Britain, but the heirs to Vichy don’t mind cutting off their economic noses – as long as they can spite Britain’s face.

Pour encourager les autres, Britain must be punished for remembering it used to be a free country. “If not,” says François Hollande, who desperately wants to do to Britain what he has already done to France, “we would jeopardise the fundamental principles of the EU”, meaning that other EU countries might be tempted to leave too.

They are already tempted, François, and gagging the press will only make the temptation stronger. The EU is on its way out, and one only hopes there’s enough spunk left in the Europeans to prevent it from banging the door too hard.

It’s immigration that’s the sincerest form of flattery

TheresaMayBritain must be doing something right, judging by the swarms of Europeans dying to settle here.

The widespread belief is that migrants are attracted by our generous social benefits. Some no doubt are, considering that the average salaries even in some EU member countries fall short of our welfare generosity.

That, however, doesn’t explain all those French fund managers inundating my part of London or hundreds of Italian restaurateurs whipping up pasta sauces or thousands of Polish plumbers fixing leaky taps all over the country.

Those people come to Britain looking for opportunities, not hand-outs. They must feel they stand a better chance of succeeding here than, say, in France. They have a point.

Our economy is fundamentally as unsound as everywhere else in the West: aggregate global debt of £120 trillion is a millstone bound to sink the world economy sooner rather than later. But meanwhile day-to-day life continues.

And for someone seeking economic success British life is better than anywhere else in Europe. We’re being throttled by red tape, but the noose isn’t as tight as in most EU countries. Our labour laws may be restrictive and counterproductive, but less so. Our unions are powerful but not omnipotent, as they are on the continent. Our taxes are extortionate, but not as much.

What’s sauce for the goose of individual migrants is also sauce for the gander of capital immigration. Foreign investors know it’s easier and more profitable to do business in (or from) Britain than in any other European country.

Immigrants, individual or institutional, know something about Britain we ourselves often fail to appreciate. For all those things that attract them to Britain have the same root: our state is marginally less meddlesome than anywhere else in Europe.

That’s why our economy is doing better than in most EU countries, even though our workforce is less educated than in France and less conscientious than in Germany. Now, having read Mrs May’s rousing speech, I wonder if she realises this.

I don’t share the enthusiasm about her speech gushing off the pages of Tory newspapers. I tend not to be impressed by rousing orations with populist overtones, those rich in demagogic generalities and poor in detail.

Mrs May reaffirmed her commitment to the nation state, which is commendable and would be even more so if this sentiment weren’t of such recent provenance. During the referendum campaign, Mrs May supported the idea of dissolving sovereign British nationhood in a wicked European entity. Better late than never, but forgive me for thinking that it’s not her convictions but political expediency that has changed.

The rest of the soliloquy was a throwback to Disraeli’s one-nation Conservatism, but with the modern, socialist touch of squeezing the fat cats and transferring their ill-gotten gains to the working stiffs.

Most worryingly, Mrs May obviously forgets what attracts foreign labour and capital to Britain. She seems to think there isn’t enough state interference in the economy, rather than too much. The state, she thundered, “must be prepared to tackle the unfairness and injustice that divides us…”

Some details would have helped to assuage the fear that what we’re observing is the socialist wolf in Tory clothing. The only way for the state to enforce levelling (which is what ‘tackling unfairness and injustice’ traditionally means) is to nationalise, or at least subjugate, the economy, mandating higher wages and imposing punitive taxation on the more talented and enterprising.

Yet no details were forthcoming – just general waffle with what to me sounds like sinister overtones. This was exacerbated by a promise to sort out any “boss who earns a fortune but doesn’t look after [his] staff”, which is a stock threat of any socialist government. Its only known result is to destroy economic growth while massively empowering the state.

Mrs May’s sole policy enunciated so far is putting workers on corporate boards, a practice that has proved disastrous in France, among other places. This isn’t sound economics; it’s populism on wheels.

The only detail that stood out in Mrs May’s speech was her promise to make sure that people living in rural areas would get “a decent broadband connection”. That was rather too much detail: one would expect Her Majesty’s First Minister to outline strategic initiatives, rather than promising to install broadband, fix the plumbing and make sure the wiring for electric ovens is in place.

That old saw of putting paid to tax avoidance also got an airing. Mrs May didn’t suggest that she was aware of the legal difference between avoidance and evasion, which is unfortunate.

Tax evasion is against the law. Running one’s business and personal affairs in a tax-efficient way isn’t. Going after people and companies that save money legally is a proven way of forcing talented businessmen out and turning foreign investors away. But Mrs May doesn’t seem to mind. She’d rather make populist noises appealing to the baser instincts of man, such as envy.

Then Mrs May wants to get rid of low interest rates that penalise savers. They also boost business activity, and one would like to know what relative weight Mrs May attaches to the two desiderata. That information wasn’t proffered.

All in all, your normal political speech long on image, short on substance. There’s no reason to panic yet – but then neither is there any reason for effusive enthusiasm.