Germany in the forefront of fashion

KnickersEver since Hugo Boss designed those cute SS uniforms, the Germans have been known for making fashion statements consonant with social and political trends.

That glorious tradition continues with a breakthrough accessory answering a growing demand: rape-proof knickers.

As all good advertising does, the ad for the new product first establishes a need for it: “Scarcely a day passes without headlines of sexual assaults”. That’s truth in advertising at its best.

Indeed, Germany’s generous commitment to multi-culti probity is reaping a rich harvest of rape. In one of those inexplicable vagaries of life, the blossoming of rape coincided with the arrival of Muslim masses yearning to be free, something the ad doesn’t mention.

For one thing, it goes without saying. For another, that’s just not something one can commit to paper without risking a charge of… well, choose your favourite ism.

One way or the other, a need exists, and the law of supply-demand has never been repealed. Hence the new product, a modern-day answer to the chastity belt.

Those poor, persecuted migrant children dragging a kicking and screaming woman into the bushes and pinning her to the ground are in for a nasty surprise. Having ripped off the victim’s outer clothing, they’ll be stopped by an impenetrable barrier.

The rape-proof knickers come equipped with a combination lock and a 130-decibel alarm automatically set off by any tampering. And the fabric of the knickers is so sturdy that it’s almost impossible to cut or rip through.

Rather unsporting, if you ask me – those poor sex-starved people don’t stand much of a chance of claiming their fundamental human right. Or do they?

Though lacking any hands-on experience on either side of rape, I still have to doubt the efficacy of the new product on general principle. One such principle is that rape has nothing to do with sex.

Or perhaps ‘principle’ is the wrong word – ‘mantra’ is more appropriate. Feminists have always maintained that rape is a crime of violence, not sex.

Admittedly, an Austrian court recently punched a hole in that conviction by passing a lenient verdict on a migrant Muslim who had raped a 10-year-old boy. The asylum seeker claimed, and the court accepted, that he had had no sex for four months and was therefore deprived of his human rights. And the boy was a willing participant anyway.

But principles die hard, and, as a lifelong champion of progressive causes, I have to insist that sex without permission is simply an outlet for violent misogyny. That poses a serious problem for the new product.

If the assailants seek nothing but such an outlet, won’t they be frustrated if denied their first choice? Surely they’d then take their frustration out on the victim in some other ways?

Of course, and this is another popular mantra, rape is the worst thing that can possibly happen to a woman, worse than losing an eye, worse than any number of broken bones, worse than maiming – worse even than death.

Any of those things may well happen when the assailants can’t find a way through. I mean, people have been known to commit extreme violence in defence of their rights.

But even if they insist on the sex element, surely this barrier can be bypassed even if it can’t be penetrated. Holding a knife to the victim’s throat and asking her to provide the combination to the lock should do it, especially if in her heart of hearts she doesn’t really believe that rape is worse than death.

Then, and I don’t know how to put this without offending anyone’s sensibilities, there exist certain forms of rape that don’t necessarily violate the area so securely protected. These do require some cooperation on the victim’s part, but the same knife to the throat ought to do the trick.

For the time being the €100 fashion item is selling briskly, with on-line stores rapidly running out of stock. But I confidently predict that the new product won’t be able to satisfy the growing demand for long.

To begin with, as the aforementioned court case demonstrates, a line extension into the men’s market must be on the cards. But that’s only a start.

More inventive measures will be required, such as, for example, imbedding rashers of bacon into undergarments. I’ll leave the possibilities for the Germans to consider; they’re known for their creativity.

Personally, I’d be tempted to ponder the root causes of this upsurge in sexual violence – and do something about it. The Germans’ rich experience in deportation should come in handy, this time in a good cause.

The best speech since Maggie

TheresaMayThis distinction belongs to the speech Theresa May delivered on Brexit, which admittedly isn’t saying a lot.

The four prime ministers we’ve had since Margaret Thatcher’s tenure were easily among the worst half-dozen in British history, failing on every criterion of character, morality and intellect.

Their speeches and, more important, deeds reflected their deficiencies with remarkable consistency. I can’t recall offhand a single speech any of them made that could be remotely described as sound, clear and decisive. Vacuous, vacillating and vapid are the alliterative adjectives springing to mind much more readily.

Mrs May’s speech undoubtedly merits the first set of modifiers rather than the second, and that’s a good start. Of course, one should judge politicians on their deeds rather than words, but such speeches go a long way towards blurring the line of demarcation between the two.

Dead are the feeble puns based on Mrs May’s name (such as “may or may not”). To use Donald Trump’s favourite metaphors, the cards have been dealt, the chips are down, and there’s no bluffing.

We’re definitely leaving the EU, shaking its toxic dust off our feet. Though not legally bound by the Brexit referendum, Mrs May (originally a lukewarm Remainer herself) feels bound by it morally and, no doubt more important for her, politically.

Leaving the EU also means leaving the Single Market, no may or may not about it. It also means countering any punitive economic measures the EU is likely, nay guaranteed, to impose. Since Britain’s post-exit success may start those European dominoes toppling one by one, the EU may well cut off its nose in the vain hope of keeping its body.

However, still being unable to ignore the Donald Trump course on the English language, I’d say that we have a strong hand in any unfolding game. Not quite a royal flush but perhaps a three of a kind, which beats the EU’s low pair (everything about the EU is low).

However, it says a lot about the modern world that Mrs May mentioned the possible lowering of corporate taxes only as an extreme counterattacking measure, rather than an essential economic policy.

One doesn’t have to be a professional economist (in fact, nowadays such credentials are actually a disqualifying circumstance) to realise that business would thrive if doing business became cheaper. It takes woolly economic thinking to believe that high tax rates translate into high tax revenues.

A 30 per cent tax on 100 produces 30, while a 10 per cent tax on 1,000 yields 100, and it’s astounding how many economists can’t get their heads around this simple arithmetic. Arthur Laffer once constructed a scientific-looking curve on what is basic common sense.

Emmanuel Macron (who terrifyingly is making headway in France’s polls) threatened a post-Brexit Britain with the dire status of a Jersey or Guernsey. I’ve always said we should take that as a promise, not a threat. Turning the UK into the world’s greatest tax haven would put Great back into Britain, and I’d suggest we should do that regardless of how pliable or intransigent the EU will be.

But Mrs May can’t be expected to be as radical as that no matter what. It already took more courage than one expects from a politician to mention such a business model as the sword of Damocles ready to decapitate the EU.

The speech has already produced one tangible and welcome result: the eurocrats are squirming and running scared. Such agitation is bound to make people babble gibberish, which psychological observation has been confirmed by Guy Verhofstadt, chief negotiator in the European parliament.

He said: “May’s clarity is welcome but the days of UK cherry-picking and Europe à la carte are over. Threatening to turn the UK into a deregulated tax haven will not only hurt British people, it is a counterproductive negotiating tactic.”

To paraphrase what Mary McCarthy once said about Lillian Hellman, every word in that statement is nonsense, including ‘and’ and ‘but’.

Offering an equitable trade treaty can under no circumstances be considered cherry-picking: it’s simply an invitation to fair play and an implied threat to retaliate against unfair play. Cherry-picking would be leaving the EU, while staying in the Single Market and the ECJ, which Mrs May specifically said we wouldn’t do.

It takes the fundamental economic illiteracy one expects from an EU apparatchik to believe that attracting business from all over the world would ‘hurt British people’. And Mrs May’s isn’t just a productive but the only possible negotiating tactic. One can only negotiate on one’s own two feet, rather than lying supine, Dave-style.

One wishes she could capitalise on this decisive speech and call a snap general election. Judging by the disarray in the Labour Party, Mrs May would increase her parliamentary majority and get rid of the stigma of not having won a popular vote.

More important, she would be justified in interpret the vote as a clear mandate for her negotiating stance against the EU, thereby defanging any possible dissent in either House. This, even if she wisely refrains from turning the election into a Brexit referendum Mark II.

There, I’ve done it: for once I’ve found something good to say about a politician. I can only hope Mrs May doesn’t make me eat my hat. Tweed is rather indigestible.

Trump, in his own jumbled words

Donald_Trump_profileThe other day Donald Trump was interviewed by Michael Gove and Kai Diekmann, former editor of the German newspaper Bild.

I sat down to write a balanced account, fully intent on finding some good things to say about the president-elect. Then I read the whole transcript – and shook with fear.

Some of the things Trump said were sound enough, some weren’t. But what caused my involuntary reaction was that they all, right or wrong, were expressed in ignorant, illiterate gibberish.

One can hear more cogent and enlightened rhetoric at my local King’s Head on a Saturday night, when everyone is on his seventh pint.

On Nato:

“I took such heat, when I said Nato was obsolete. It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days.

“And the other thing is the countries aren’t paying their fair share so we’re supposed to protect countries but a lot of these countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States. With that being said, Nato is very important to me.

“There’s five countries that are paying what they’re supposed to. Five. It’s not much, from 22.”

First, a minor point. Last I looked Nato had 28 members, not 22. And, apart from the US, only one country, Britain, pays what members are supposed to be paying, two per cent of the budget.

Then it’s debatable whether it’s the job of this defence alliance to chase terrorists. One could argue that anti-terrorism is a police function, while Nato was created to keep Russia’s expansionism in check.

Trump’s statement is tantamount to saying that Russia is no longer expansionist or, if it is, its expansionism shouldn’t be resisted. The first view is ignorant; the second, immoral. And why is Nato so important to him if it’s obsolete?

As a comic aside, this was greeted with jubilation in the Russian press and parliament. They emphatically agree that Nato is obsolete. But, considering Nato’s purpose, they would, wouldn’t they?

On sanctions:

“They have sanctions on Russia – let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it. But you do have sanctions and Russia’s hurting very badly right now because of sanctions, but I think something can happen that a lot of people are gonna benefit.”

Deciphering this gibberish delivered in the idiom of a used car salesman, one gets the impression Trump will lift the sanctions in exchange for some sort of a ‘deal’ on nuclear weapons. Does he know that Russia has violated every such past treaty, starting from SALT 1? Or that the sanctions were imposed in response to Russia’s use of conventional weapons to attack the Ukraine, and electronic weapons to attack the US? No, perhaps not.

On the Iran treaty:

“Well, I don’t want to say what I’m gonna do with the Iran deal. I just don’t want to play the cards. I mean, look, I’m not a politician, I don’t go out and say, ‘I’m gonna do this – I’m gonna do – ’, I gotta do what I gotta do. But I don’t wanna play. Who plays cards where you show everybody the hand before you play it? But I’m not happy with the Iran deal, I think it’s one of the worst deals ever made, I think it’s one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen, one of the dumbest, in terms of a deal.”

I agree. But never mind the content, feel the form. That’s the leader of the free world speaking, ladies and gentlemen.

On the Paris conference:

“The problem I have is that it makes it a tougher deal for me to negotiate because the Palestinians are given so much – even though it’s not legally binding it’s psychologically binding and it makes it much tougher for me to negotiate. You understand that? Because people are giving away chips, they’re giving away all these chips.”

True. But don’t you just love all those references to trading and gambling? The man clearly sees foreign policy in the light of a deal to build yet another Mafioso casino.

On Brexit:

“You guys wrote it – put it on the front page: ‘Trump said that Brexit is gonna happen’. That was when it was gonna lose easily, you know, everybody thought I was crazy. Obama said to go to the back of the line.”

I can’t decide whether this locution reminds me of Demosthenes or Cicero. In either case, the last sentence is a non sequitur.

On the EU:

“I think it’s tough. I spoke to the head of the European Union, very fine gentleman called me up.”

Trump wisely refrained from naming the ‘very fine gentleman’. When he tried to do so earlier, he confused Donald Tusk with Jean-Claude Juncker. For once I can’t blame him: that’s an easy mistake to make.

On trade:

“It’s going to be different – I mean Germany is a great country, great manufacturing country – you go down Fifth Avenue everybody has a Mercedes-Benz in front of their building, right – the fact is that it’s been very unfair to the US, it’s not a two-way street. How many Chevrolets do you see in Germany? Maybe none – not too many – how many – you don’t see anything over there – it’s a one-way street – it’s gotta be a two-way street – I want it to be fair but it’s gotta be a two-way street and that’s why we’re losing almost $800, think of it, $800 billion a year in trade so that will stop.

“I would tell BMW if they think they’re gonna build a plant in Mexico and sell cars into the US without a 35 per cent tax, it’s not gonna happen, it’s not gonna happen – so if they want to build cars for the world I would say wish them luck – they can build cars for the US but they’ll be paying a 35 per cent tax on every car that comes into the country…”

One sees more Mercedes in Manhattan than Chevrolets in Germany because the former are great cars and the latter are rubbish. The rest of it betokens ignorance of what’s called Economics 101 in Trump’s country. Protectionist tariffs are more likely to make trade deficits worse, not better. And as to the 35 per cent levy on imports, that would never be approved by Congress.

The grand finale:

“I love the world, I want the world to be good but we can’t go – I mean look at what’s happening to our country – we are $20 trillion – we don’t know what we’re doing – our military is weak – we’re in wars that never end, we’re in Afghanistan now 17 years, they told me this, really – 17 years, it’s the longest war we’ve ever been in.”

So Trump is going to strengthen the US military while eliminating the $20 trillion sovereign debt (I assume that’s what he meant), ending all wars and in general making the world good. Good intentions, every one of them. Rest easy, the world’s future is in safe hands.

Like father, like son?

Donald_Trump,_Jr._(30309593310)The conflict between fathers and sons was highlighted by Ivan Turgenev in 1862. One hopes the now proverbial discord still perseveres in the Trump family in 2017.

Specifically, one hopes that no causal relationship exists between two statements, one made by Donald the father, the other by Donald the son.

Son: “… Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets… We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Dad: “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”

If the two statements are directly linked, then impeachment will be too light a punishment for Dad. If America’s new president does Putin’s bidding for personal fiscal gain, we’ll be talking not indiscretion but high treason.

Scraping together the few residual crumbs of respect I still feel for modern politics, I have to reject this possibility – certainly until the above-mentioned link has been proved.

So let’s accept Dad’s statement at face value: he’s prepared to lift the sanctions imposed by his predecessor (and, incidentally, all other Western governments) if Russia does “some really great things”, specifically helps the US fight Islamic terrorism.

That’s like saying that a murderer must be let off because he helps old ladies across the street. Regardless of any “great things” Russia may do in the future, the sanctions were imposed for two crimes it committed: the first batch, for its aggression against the Ukraine; the second, for using electronic means to undermine the US electoral process and therefore Constitution.

Trump has acknowledged that Russia, or specifically Putin, “might have been” (the political for ‘was’) behind the hacking scandal, although he denies that the outcome of the election was in any way affected. Here’s another everyday simile: that’s like saying that attempted but failed murder is no crime.

Sabotage of a country’s constitution is a capital offence when committed by an individual. When committed by one country against another, it’s an act of war.

Dismissing it as lightly as Trump is doing, if for the sake of some mythical “great things”, bespeaks crassness even assuming, as I do for the time being, that he’s acting in good faith.

In fact, regardless of whether Trump is a legitimate candidate or a Manchurian one, Putin’s electronic warfare and the subsequent kompromat dossier have already succeeded in hamstringing the new presidency before it has even begun.

For one thing, it poisoned Trump’s relationship with both the media and the intelligence services. The latter have often had problems with politicians, never more so than in the 1970s, when Sen. Frank Church’s committee emasculated US intelligence gathering. This disaster looks likely to be repeated under Trump.

He has ascribed political motives to the spooks for passing on the compromising dossier. He’s probably wrong. Intelligence agencies tend to regard information as valuable ipso facto, regardless of its political effect.

If they felt that the dossier was sufficiently credible, it was their duty to act before the information was made public. Since the released part of the dossier has many blackened-out bits, I have no way of judging its verisimilitude. What’s clear is that Trump took its release as a personal affront, and his likely retaliation may impair America’s eyes and ears.

It’s also evident that Trump’s relationship with the media is starting off on the wrong foot. That most mainstream media favoured Clinton in the election is a fact. However, it’s up to Trump to regard this as either casus belli or a challenge to overcome.

He gives every indication of opting for the former, which is a bad omen. US media will henceforth be dissecting Trump’s presidency with relentless vigour, especially in relation to Russia.

Any attempt at a rapprochement will be presented as indirect proof of the Manchurian charges; any display of toughness, as an overreaction to them. And any US president at war with the media is on a losing wicket.

For example, the predominantly leftwing US press began to scrutinise every half-step made by Richard Nixon after he led the congressional committee investigating Alger Hiss and other Soviet agents. Following Hiss’s 1950 conviction for perjury, the press started digging up dirt on Nixon, finally succeeding with Watergate.

In no way excusing Nixon’s crimes, one could still suggest that the press would have been less diligent in investigating similar acts by, say, one of the Kennedy brothers. With Trump, they’ll be using not so much a magnifying glass as an electron microscope to find any speck of dirt.

It’s tragic folly for a great country to leave a hostile act against it unpunished. This is a shortcut to losing its greatness in a hurry. Obviously, when dealing with a country capable, in the language of Putin’s propagandist-in-chief, of “reducing America to radioactive dust”, punishment must be exacted with caution. But exacted it must be, and severe trade sanctions are the most realistic option.

Trump’s presidency elicits knee-jerk reactions pro or con on both sides of the political spectrum. One such knee jerked in my direction, when an American reader responded to my previous criticism of Trump by calling me ‘a liberal’, a charge not often levelled at me.

We’ve been conditioned to think about politics in terms of the largely meaningless and definitely relativistic left-right divide. As far as we’re concerned, truth doesn’t matter – we agree with Pontius Pilate’s rhetorical question “What is truth?”, implying that it’s either nonexistent or unknowable or irrelevant.

Being a hopeless retrograde, I tend to judge politics from the perspective of absolute truth and morality, not transient expediency. It remains to be seen whether Trump will stand up to such judgement – though we’ll all benefit if, as I hope, he does.

Ban illegal settlements!

HoustonDelegates from 70 nations meet in Paris to condemn continued US occupation of traditional Mexican territories, such as Texas (or Tejas, as it must properly be called).

Moreover, American occupiers continue to defy international law by building and expanding illegal settlements, including the one named after the arch-coloniser and war criminal Sam Houston.

It was Houston who provoked the great Mexican leader Antonio López de Santa Ana to advance into the traditional Mexican territory of Tejas. Having lured Santa Ana into East Tejas in 1836, Houston treacherously attacked the Mexican heroes while they were having their customary siesta.

In the ensuing battle of San Jacinto, Houston won his perfidious victory and established the illegal all-you-can-eat restaurant San Jacinto Inn. San Jacinto Inn thus became one of the first, though lamentably not one of the last, illegal American settlements in the occupied territories.

The delegates, echoing the righteous indignation of the entire progressive humanity, are expected to demand a two-state solution to the 180-year-old conflict. Displaced persons of Mexican descent have an irrefutable claim to at least 80,000 square miles of Tejas territory, reflecting the proportion of eternal Tex-Mex refugees in the state’s population.

The international community is united in its outrage at the plight of the displaced Tex-Mex people, making up 39 per cent of the state’s population. The Tex-Mex have to take degrading jobs at Tex-Mex restaurants and on building sites.

There, exercising their constitutional right to free wolf-whistling at passing females exposes Tex-Mex persons to ethnic slurs, including, though not limited to: wetback, spic, spicola, greaser, greaseball, beaner, brownie, tacohead and tamali destroyer. This, the delegates agreed, violated the Tex-Mex persons’ basic human rights.

Trying to defend their indefensible position, US delegates argued that the Tex-Mex residents of Tejas enjoy full democratic rights and a standard of living incomparably superior to that of their ethnic relations in Mexico itself.

That was a moot point, according to the Tex-Mex leader Jose ‘Abbas’ Rodriguez. “When my great-great-great grandfather was born in Galveston, his father, my great-great-great-great grandfather told him never to forget that American occupiers live on stolen land. Mexicans have lived in Tejas for at least 10,000 years, as the archaeological findings in Nacogdoches confirm. Down with occupation! Ban illegal settlements! Kill all Yanquis!”

Presiding over the session, the delegate from Andorra asked the Tex-Mex delegate to moderate his pronouncements, after which the latter withdrew his last statement.

“When we talk about driving Texans into the Gulf, what we really mean is deep-sea fishing expeditions,” said Mr Rodriguez. “When we get our independent Tex-Mex state, we’ll encourage Texans to fish for red snapper, plentiful in the Gulf.”

The US delegate accepted that the Tex-Mex population has a legitimate claim to its own sovereign state. The US, he declared, welcomes the two-state solution, provided Mr Rodriguez and other Tex-Mex leaders acknowledge the right of Texas to exist as an American state.

In response, Mr Rodriguez, speaking not only for the displaced Tex-Mex community but also for the entire oppressed Third World, delivered a rousing oration: “The oppressed Tex-Mex people will never have a moment’s rest until the last American occupier is driven onto those deep-sea fishing boats in the Gulf. ¡Patria o Muerte!” he concluded, “¡Viva pargo [red snapper]!¡Venceremos!”

Reports say a draft statement for the meeting calls on the US and the Tex-Mex community “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution” and avoid taking “unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations”.

The US delegate’s suggestion that the report be rephrased in English was met with the derision it deserved. Moreover, the delegates unanimously demanded a summary demolition of illegal American settlements in the traditional Tex-Mex territory of Tejas.

The submitted list of said colonial outposts, included, though wasn’t limited to, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and San Jacinto Inn. The delegates delivered a rousing ovation after the Tex-Mex leader Mr Rodriguez read out the complete list. At the end, Mr Rodriguez became so agitated that he had to be removed from the premises by security guards.

The delegates then restated their commitment to the peace process, the two-state solution and putting all Texans on deep-sea fishing boats. The conference continues.

Just a bit of blazing criticism

BurningSynagogeCall me an alarmist, but the sight of a synagogue aflame in Germany evokes some unpleasant historical associations – whoever strikes the match.

Back in 1938 the Germans were self-sufficient enough to do the job themselves without relying on gastarbeiter, a group nowadays indispensable to the country’s labour-short economy.

As with most migrant labourers moving up from the Third to the First World, German gastarbeiter are encouraged by the indigenous population to do the jobs most Germans are unwilling to take. Such, for example, as painting anti-Semitic graffiti on synagogues or torching them.

The latest encouragement was offered by a German regional court in the city of Wuppertal, Rhine-Westphalia. Last Friday that body ruled that, by tossing Molotov cocktails into the local synagogue, three Palestinians were expressing legitimate criticism of Israel.

Far be it from the justifiably angry young men to be motivated by anti-Semitism or, for that matter, Islam, explained the judge. They simply wanted “to draw attention to the Gaza conflict”.

What adds a delicious touch to the court’s decision is that the original Wuppertal synagogue was burnt down during Kristallnacht, presumably also as justifiable criticism of something or other.

The court handed down suspended sentences, explaining, by way of mitigating circumstances, that the defendants had consumed alcohol before blazing their trail – and anyway, nobody died.

Had the whole congregation been burnt to cinders, as presumably was the intent, a short custodial sentence could have been called for, although the court declined to indulge in such hypothetical speculation.

Nor did the court comment on the truly outrageous fact that these young Muslims were drunk on the job. If they obey Mohammed’s commandment that Jews be killed, they should also heed their prophet’s injunction against boozing. Their local imam is going to hear about this.

Now one has to believe that Germany, currently having an interlude of being a relatively free country, provides enough outlets for less incendiary criticism of foreign states. And in relatively free countries, tossing Molotov cocktails into buildings is seen as a vicious crime rather than an expression of disagreement.

Perish the thought, but were those Westphalian judges perchance venting their own anti-Semitism by encouraging that of the three critics? Verily I say unto you, if Israel didn’t exist, the Muslims and their apologists would have to invent it.

Another such perfect outlet for their pent-up critical spirit would be hard to find. This way Israel can be blamed for Islamic violence all over the world, most of which would take a rather convoluted dialectical process to ascribe to the Jews.

Specifically, looking at the last 20 years or so, one could mention the conflicts between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims throughout the Islamic world, Bosnian Muslims and Christians, Côte d’Ivoire Muslims and Christians, Cyprus Muslims and Christians, East Timor Muslims and Christians, Indonesian Muslims and Christians in Ambon Island, Kashmir Muslims and Hindus, Kosovo Muslims and Christians, Macedonian Muslims and Christians, Nigerian Muslims and both Christians and Animists, Muslims and Christians in the Philippines, Chechen Muslims and Russians, Azeri Muslims and Armenian Christians, Sri Lanka Tamils and Buddhists, Thailand’s Muslims and Buddhists in the Pattani province, Muslim Bengalis and Buddhists in Bangladesh, Muslims and Protestant, Chaldean Catholic and Assyrian Orthodox Christians in Kurdistan.

The impression is hard to avoid that Islam manages to overcome its natural instinct to be a religion of peace with remarkable perseverance and consistency. Obviously one can’t allow the thought to cross one’s mind that Islam is really not so much a religion of peace as a primitive, innately and insanely violent cult. I’m slapping my own wrist even as we speak.

Merkel’s Germany has already admitted more than a million such youngsters inclined to indulge their critical faculty with Molotov cocktails, guns and knives. This is quite worrying, especially in view of Germany’s recent history and its current rise of simon-pure native neofascism.

Other European countries are following suit, if not yet quite on the same scale, both in flinging their doors wide open to Muslims and turning a blind eye on their own burgeoning extremism.

A message to the European powers that be: chaps, are you out of your minds? Don’t you realise what kind of powder keg you’re sitting on? Can’t you see that outrageous court rulings, such as the one in Westphalia, are lighting the wick sticking out of the powder keg?

Don’t you remember that in the seven years following Kristallnacht almost three megatons of explosive were dropped on Germany – this in a pre-nuclear age? By refusing to stand-up to attempted homicide, you’re committing suicide. It’s like playing Russian roulette with an automatic.

Such entreaties are likely to fall on deaf ears. So perhaps German courts will be more receptive to this idea on criminal proceedings:

When Muslims rape a German girl, this should be treated not as a violent crime but justifiable criticism of Western decadence. This moral decline is evident in the fact that German women are allowed to walk the streets – sometimes after dark! – unaccompanied by a male relation.

Moreover, they provocatively display their naked faces and often other parts of their anatomy. In fact, it’s not the rapists but their victims who should be charged: with corrupting the morals of peaceful youngsters who can’t help being critical.

Britain won’t talk to France…

LePen…if Marine Le Pen is elected President. Not if Lord Llewellyn, our man in Paris, has anything to do with that. He made this astonishing promise when talking to Parliament about the upcoming French election.

“With respect to the Front National, we have a policy of not engaging. There’s a long-standing policy,” he said. Asked whether this intransigent stance would change should Marine move into the Élysée Palace, he repeated: “That is the policy that has been the policy for many years and that is the policy.”

Since Ed Llewellyn became Lord Llewellyn in recognition of his loyal service as Dave Cameron’s Chief of Staff, one shouldn’t be surprised at the inept phrasing. But I’m still amazed that Her Majesty’s ambassador would make such a politically inane statement about the potential head of a (more or less) friendly state.

Since Lord Llewellyn has only been a diplomat for a few months, he hasn’t yet mastered the basics of his new profession. One such is trying to stay on speaking terms with heads of Western democracies, no matter how objectionable.

I suppose the urge to score cheap political points becomes irresistible after a few years rubbing shoulders with the likes of Dave. Lord Llewellyn clearly thinks that this particular point isn’t just cheap but free, for Marine stands no chance of putting him in an awkward position.

I wouldn’t be so sure. Le Pen is currently leading the Gaullist candidate François Fillon (not to be confused with François Villon, who isn’t standing in this election) by a slender margin, with the independent leftie Emmanuel Macron in the bronze medal position and the Socialist candidate having as much chance as the aforementioned François Villon.

However, if, as predicted, Fillon and Le Pen contest the two-horse second round, all other parties are expected to gang up on poor Marine to give Fillon a two-to-one landslide.

Yet Lord Llewellyn’s experience as an anti-Brexit shill ought to have taught him the dangers of complacency. If political polls were reliable, Britain’s membership in the EU would last as long as the EU itself (not too long, one hopes), and Hillary would be inaugurated on 20 January.

Odds-on favourites can lose, especially when they’re default candidates rather than charismatic leaders (which none of the French candidates is).

Fillon is a traditional Gaullist apparatchik, regarded for some unfathomable reason as an Anglophile libertarian. This first claim is puzzling, considering that he leads a party as institutionally committed to detesting the English as its founder was so committed personally.

De Gaulle sensed during the war that the English didn’t take him as seriously as he took himself, a slight that no Frenchman ever forgets. To make matters even worse, the British played a key role in liberating France, a good deed that de Gaulle set out to punish.

Fillon’s claim to Anglophilia mostly rests on his British wife Penelope. However, unlike my English wife Penelope, Mme Fillon is Welsh, an ethnicity that doesn’t automatically presuppose an all-abiding affection for the English.

Fillon is seen as something of a Thatcherite and, comparatively speaking, he is. After all, the other candidates are closer to Marx than to Hayek in their economic views. Since Fillon is merely committed to a huge, rather than gargantuan, state and favours a paltry 50 per cent marginal tax rate, rather than near total expropriation, he may come across as an economic libertarian.

But, as the French say, ‘comparison n’est pas raison’, contradicting their own philosopher Descartes who claimed that all knowledge is comparative. In any Anglophone country Fillon would be regarded as a rank socialist, which all French politicians really are. What’s undoubted is that Fillon is a great admirer of Putin, a sentiment hard to reconcile with libertarian Anglophilia.

At least his affection for Putin is disinterested, which is more than can be said for Le Pen, who has helped herself to Putin’s rouble and is hoping to do so again. What’s astounding about Marine is that she’s routinely described as right-wing.

She’s no such thing: her economic ideas place her to the left of Hollande. Le Pen’s politics is a cocktail of socialism, nationalism and demagogic populism. These are the hallmarks of fascism, the real ideology of the Front National.

Marine is more tactically aware than her father, which is why she underplays such endearing traits of her grassroots party as rabid anti-Semitism. But she’s a fruit fallen off the same tree.

The third candidate, Manny Macron, was Hollande’s finance minister. A few months ago, realising that the Socialist ship was sinking, Manny emulated the proverbial rodent and went independent.

By way of a parting shot he warned that Brexit would have the catastrophic consequence of turning Britain into a Jersey or Guernsey, Manny was undecided which. He didn’t specify whether that was a promise or a threat, a lamentable omission considering that both islands have a 20 per cent tax rate and no crime.

Standing against such opposition, and given the French propensity for supporting outrageous candidates like Hollande, Marine may well win, defying the polls and common sense.

The voters may experience the same rush of populist blood to the head as les Yankees did when voting for Trump. They may feel that neither Fillon nor Macron is sufficiently dissociated from the same establishment that’s ruining France.

That would make Lord Llewellyn eat either crow or his hat, whichever is his culinary preference. One thing is for sure: he wouldn’t be having that repast at the British embassy in Paris.

The Donald and LGBT rights

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.

Another day, another ‘witch hunt’, with Donald Trump manfully playing the part of the witch.

On the day my friend Barack Hussein delivered his farewell speech, listing ‘marriage equality’ and LGTB rights among his principal achievements, the Donald stole his thunder.

He was alleged to have starred in a KGB home video, co-starring two romping lesbian hookers. The video, if it indeed exists, is supposed to have been produced discreetly in a Moscow hotel suite.

This comes soon after the panting public was treated to the future Mrs Trump photographed naked in bed with another woman. For someone who started following US politics when Mamie Eisenhower was First Lady, that sort of exposure in flagrante delicto is perhaps a romp too far, but hey – tempora indeed mutantur.

In any case, my propensity for judging things from an aesthetic standpoint first is idiosyncratic. Most people don’t mind a US president who has a tendency to marry women of easy virtue, wears his ties too long, erects Manhattan monuments to vulgarity and builds Atlantic City casinos for you know whom.

However, I do wonder at times what kind of experience and character traits would have conditioned Mr Trump to strike those gurning facial expressions. The nearest historical analogue (and I’m talking strictly about the grimaces) is Mussolini, but even he was pokerfaced by comparison.

The Donald immediately tweeted a rousing denial: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” This cri de coeur is more believable than a parallel announcement by the ex-head of the Russian security service: “We don’t do that sort of thing.”

It would be tedious to list the hundreds of known cases where the Russians honey-trapped foreign dignitaries into cooperation. That’s their preferred, though far from only, method of cultivating an asset.

Another time-honoured hook is financial. The same dossier that alleges the existence of the compromising video contains supposed proof of the Russians using that recruitment technique on Trump as well.

Played against Trump’s son’s admission that much of their income comes from Russia, that allegation can’t be dismissed lightly, although it too may well be fake. However, I haven’t seen any details of Trump’s business dealings with the Russians, other than that they’ve been extensive. A full disclosure would go a long way towards allaying some of the more damning suspicions.

The dossier claims that the FSB has been cultivating Trump for five years. Even if true, this doesn’t prove that the cultivation has borne fruit. It is, however, clear that the Russians greeted Trump’s election as their own triumph.

Putin’s trained propagandists openly talk about this, while on hearing the news of the election the Duma deputies went into paroxysms of obscene celebration. Interestingly, a Gallup survey has discovered that 39 per cent of the Russians see the US election as vitally important, as opposed to two per cent who feel the same way about their own polls.

I sincerely hope that all that innuendo against America’s President-Elect is one giant red herring. Until prima facie evidence is provided, Trump must be presumed innocent of all those ugly insinuations.

His election undoubtedly has delivered a mighty kick in the groin to what a reader of mine has called “a neoconservative, neoliberal establishment”. Having caught its breath, said establishment is going out of its way to dig up any dirt that could tarnish Trump’s presidency before it has even started.

Then again, he who dishes out the dirt ought to be prepared to take it. The Trump campaign and Trump personally missed no opportunities to smear Hillary with every hue of grime. I suspect that none of it was trumped up, as it were – and I’m willing to accept that all allegations against Trump are.

Yet I can’t in good conscience argue that they aren’t believable. For example, anyone wishing to besmirch, say, Sen. John McCain might claim he watches private lesbian shows and takes backhanders from Putin. But, barring some incontrovertible and legally certified evidence, any normal person would reject such claims for the vicious nonsense they are.

I have to admit with some chagrin that my reaction to the latest batch of accusations against Trump is less vehement than that. This brings me back to aesthetics as the starting point of inquiry.

No one who has watched Mr Trump develop from the ugly duckling of a property-developing chancer into the beautiful swan of US President-Elect will aver that such transgressions run contrary to his character.

Does anyone who has ever winced at the Donald’s crassness really believe that he’d refuse to drool at the spectacle of two lesbians in his bed? Does anyone doubt that a man involved in six bankruptcies and 75 lawsuits against him is incapable of striking questionable deals with whomever pays the freight?

It’s possible to toss a shovelful of dirt at anyone, but it’ll stick to some better than to others. How many Americans are now talking about smoke and fire? How many are becoming even more cynical about politics?

I do hope all those allegations will be proved false and Trump goes on to become the great president so many of my American friends believe he’ll be. Let’s wait and see – while keeping an eye out for any signs of Trump’s relationship with Putin going beyond foreplay.

Sex in Parliament

maria_miller_officialEverything about modernity is progressive – including, it seems, its mental illness.

The latest symptom is evinced by the Commons Women And Equalities Committee that’s calling for all parties to ensure, on pain of a fine, that at least 45 per cent of their candidates are women, an increase on the present proportion of 30 per cent.

The present disparity, says the Committee, creates “a serious democratic deficit”. This shows a staggering ignorance of the meaning of democracy, supporting the diagnosis of a serious sanity deficit.

Now the very existence of such a Committee within our legislature turns the mother of all parliaments into a mother… well, a mother of all travesties, is what I mean.

This vital committee is chaired by Maria Miller, former culture secretary. One has to acknowledge that Mrs/Ms Miller has at least some qualification for the job, that of being a woman. That’s more than one can say for her previous tenure, largely spent on destroying whatever is left of British culture.

The proposed law strikes me as frankly misogynistic, offending the lifelong champion of political correctness in me. Why just 45 per cent? Why not 51, which is roughly the proportion of women in the population?

Overlooking this lamentable slip, I still have to crack a vainglorious smile: my firm belief has been vindicated: modernity isn’t just misguided and vulgar – it’s actually stupid.

There isn’t now, nor has there ever been, a single human institution boasting even representation of all groups by whatever criteria, be it race, sex, class or age. The inability to make this observation betokens an inert mind unable to build an intellectual structure on an empirically verifiable fact.

But the stupidity of the likes of Mrs/Ms Miller goes deeper into the clinical picture. She and her ilk make the knee-jerk assumption that the absence of even representation betokens discrimination.

It was the American thinker Thomas Sowell who pointed out the simplistic vulgarity of this view. He remarked, for example, that there isn’t an army in the world that faithfully represents the ethnic or social composition of the nation.

Looking at a more narrow group, Asian academics in the US are outnumbered three to one by Hispanic academics in history, while outnumbering the latter 10 to one in chemistry. Obviously discrimination isn’t a factor in either disparity.

That some company bosses or selection committees may be biased against certain groups is beyond question. All attempts to expurgate humanity from human beings have failed – and the doctrine of original sin explains why.

But this blanket observation means nothing unless it can be shown, evidence in hand, that, say, Asian historians are discriminated against in favour of Hispanic chemists, while the latter benefit from discrimination against their Asian colleagues.

In fact, the evidence shows exactly the opposite. Discrimination against any group bears tangible fruit only when there’s no cost attached. Hence the bigoted chairman of a charity funded by private donations may indulge his bias for free: his capitalisation isn’t going to suffer because he hires, say, men over women.

On the other hand, it won’t be long before a rank misogynist running, say, an advertising agency will realise that indulging his prejudice costs him money. Having spent 30 years in the advertising business, I can testify that the very same men who didn’t think much of women in general joyously hired women who could do the job.

Now it’s idiotic even by Mrs/Ms Miller’s standards to suggest that selection committees overlook women out of some invidious bias. For political correctness has made such great inroads into the national psyche that fielding female candidates actually pays.

The example of Mrs/Ms Miller’s glorious career supports this observation. After all, one fails to see how she possesses any noticeable prerequisites other than her sex for a cabinet-level post – or indeed any post involving any responsibility.

People have swallowed the canard of even representation and, all things being equal, are more likely to vote for a woman than for a man – women voters definitely incline that way. Hence for a political party to discriminate against women is tantamount to cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Since discrimination manifestly doesn’t explain why a mere 30 per cent of our MPs are women, what does? Here one has to remark that gross figures seldom tell the true story – in fact, they’re more likely to obfuscate it.

The more things are held constant in a statistical evaluation, the truer to life it’ll be. Hence I’d like to see any evidence that a male candidate is ever chosen over a woman who has pursued her political objectives with the same energy, dedication, single-mindedness of purpose and effort.

I rather suspect that most, though clearly not all, women would find it hard to combine spending18 hours a day on their political career with doing things only women can do, such as bearing children (which many women of child-bearing age still tend to do).

We’ve had two female prime ministers in the time I’ve lived in England, which means that some women can overcome such obstacles and do exceptionally well. But we aren’t talking about some women here. We’re talking about huge samples: 51 per cent of the population versus 30 per cent of MPs.

It would be insulting your intelligence to suggest that selection committees should pick candidates best qualified for the job, a suggestion obviously unheeded in the case of Mrs/Ms Miller.

If that means packing the Commons with women, so be it. If not, that’s fine too. What’s not fine is the pandemic of madness clutching our world by the throat.

Trish explains Shared Society

theresaSometimes when I talk to Theresa May I wistfully ponder what might have been, all those years ago when I called her Trish…

Oh well, let bygones be spilled milk, as the saying doesn’t go. We’re still close though, enough to share the odd drink (Dubonnet for Trish, a shot with a chaser for me) or go off to the occasional dance together.

I do admit that at times I still get that funny feeling, which I did the other day as I watched Trish defy her age by whirling around the dance floor in that leopard-spotted top of hers and a skirt deliciously split all the way to the hip bone… Oh well, enough of that.

Afterwards, I asked Trish over a drink about that grandiose project of hers, Shared Society. I knew it was different from Maggie’s no society at all, but was it the same as Dave’s big society?

“Al,” she said with that enigmatic smile of hers, struggling to contain her admiration for yours truly. “How can you be so bloody daft?”

“Fine, I’m daft, Trish, and you’re the bee’s knees. So explain, and talk slowly so even I can understand.”

“Can’t you see, you bloody nincompoop? Dave’s society was big, and mine is shared.”

“Shared by whom?”

“Everybody, you pea-brained, oligophrenic moron,” explained Trish affectionately. “Especially the nutters. I’ve decided to go mental big time.”

“But Trish,” I objected. “You can’t decide to go mental. You either are or you aren’t.”

“That’s not what I meant, you bloody retard,” said Trish, covering my hand with hers. “I want to correct all the burning injustices faced by the people, starting with the huge stigma attached to the nut… I mean the mental lot.”

“But Dave also wanted to correct injustices…” I suggested meekly.

“Can’t you see the difference, you half-witted cretin?” asked Trish in that loving way of hers. “He didn’t do anything for the head cases specifically, and I gave Boris Johnson a job, didn’t I? If you have a mental health problem, people are more likely to try to avoid you – and that’s what I’m going to stop.”

“How exactly?”

“I’ll tell you how exactly, you imbecile, if you promise to keep your mouth shut until I unveil the policy.” I hastily gave the requested promise, which I’m mournfully breaking now.

“Anyone giving a non-compo a wide berth will get three points off his driving licence,” said Trish with that strange gleam in her eyes. “That’ll teach the bastards the meaning of compassion.”

“What kind of non-compo are we talking about here?” I wanted to know.

“All kinds, you nitwit. This lady isn’t for burning injustices. Or stigmas.”

“Trish, I understand fining people for avoiding someone who’s depressed. But what if he’s a schizo? Or someone with paranoid delusions? You try to correct a burning injustice and he slashes your eyes with a razor…”

“Now that’s vapid even by your own idiotic standards, Al,” said Trish, looking her sexiest. “You have antediluvian ideas. Get this into your stupid head: there’s no stigma attached to any mental illness that a promise of few billion quid can’t remove.”

“A promise or actual investment?”

“Sometimes I wonder how you get through life, Al, with that vacuous brain of yours. Is money all you ever think about? If you look at the issue of mental health in this country, it’s more about the stigma that still attaches to it, it’s about how we recognise one in four of us will suffer from some mental health issue through their lives.”

“So, statistically speaking, you have six head cases in your cabinet?”

“Don’t be more obtuse than God originally made you, Al,” said Trish and crossed herself, as she always does when God comes up in conversation.

“What do you think I am, dumb? I’m not going to appoint any psychos, with the possible exception of Boris.”

“Does this mean you yourself attach a stigma to mental problems?” I asked innocently, pouring her another Dubonnet out of the almost empty bottle left at the table, as Trish had insisted.

As happens so often, that last one pushed Trish over the edge and she started babbling incoherently:

“Al, you plonker, what’s important is that we recognise… that this is about dealing with everyday injustices… but it’s also about us recognising our obligations… as citizens within the communities and society that we have here in the U bloody K… It’s about recognising that there’s a role for government… but government needs to ensure that it’s acting as effectively as possible… in those areas where it should be taking action.”

At that point Trish began to remove her leopard-spotted top, a public embarrassment I managed to stop in the nick of time. I then took Trish home in my car, with me watching out nervously for cops and her singing “Ere we go, ere we go, ere we go”, sharing her shrieks with the whole mad society out there.