A very un-British coup

This isn’t a coup of parliament against the government. It’s not even one of parliament against the people.

“Stay calm, comrades, the goal is in sight.”

No, for the first time in British history, the coup over the past two days was staged by the apparat against the government, against the people – and against the greatest constitution the world has ever known.

The people’s will has been defied, the government has been rendered impotent, and the apparat has ridden roughshod over party loyalties for the sake of preserving and increasing its own power. All in the name of democracy of course, the upholding of popular sovereignty.

Brexit is now unlikely to happen, while the most subversive opposition in British history, that led by unapologetic Trotskyists Corbyn and McDonnell, is likely to snatch power. It’s already calling the shots even without an electoral mandate.

One can hear corks popping in Brussels even as we speak. And the eurocrats have every reason to be jubilant.

Just imagine you’re an EU leader, and you’ve devoted your whole life to the creation, preservation and expansion of a giant supranational state. What’s your greatest fear?

It has to be that, rather than adding more new members, that contrivance will start shedding those it already has. All it takes is one significant member leaving and actually doing well out of it.

Such a result would fling the floodgates open, and before long the EU will be reduced to a united Franco-German state. Allemance? Francmany? Germance? Call it what you like, it would still spell a disaster, a collapse of your lifelong dream.

Suddenly, Britain, one of the three most important members, holds a referendum, and its people vote to leave. But the country’s cross-party apparat doesn’t want to go. It’s prepared to work with you behind the scenes to achieve what you want, not what the British people want.

Using the kind of perfidy that, according to Napoleon, is the defining characteristic of the British, the apparat manages to trick the country into a situation where it won’t under any circumstances leave without a ‘deal’.

Would you be prepared to offer a ‘deal’ that would make Brexit more likely? Of course not. You’d offer something that’s clearly unacceptable, a sort of new version of the French leave: saying good-bye without actually leaving.

In fact, you’ve already offered such a ‘deal’, and it has been thrice voted down by parliament after three years of deliberate procrastination and nauseating double-talk.

Are you now going to offer one that parliament will accept? Not unless you want not only to cut off your nose but also to rip out your heart.

The upshot is that Britain has now effectively declared it won’t leave without a ‘deal’, while you’ve stated in no uncertain terms that no deal is on offer. The only conceivable result is that Britain won’t leave. Sorted. Brexit is dead and buried.

Alas, the dirge we hear isn’t just for Brexit. It’s for the constitution of the United Kingdom. It has been subverted and prostituted, with the probable effect of the Corbyn-McDonnell junta grabbing power.

The consequences of such a development will be infinitely more catastrophic than even staying in the EU. Unlike a no-deal Brexit, where endless arguments about its aftermath are possible, there’s no arguing about the absolute, unshakable certainty of the disaster befalling Britain should those evil ghouls start running our lives.

Freedom will be curtailed in every possible way, private property will be nationalised or otherwise stolen, foreign currency will be restricted, taxes will skyrocket, borrowing will stop being profligate to become suicidal, crime will be not so much fought as encouraged, new waves of alien immigration will flood the country, capitals will flee – closely followed by capitalists, investors, foreign firms and those Britons who cherish their freedom, brains will drain out, economy will collapse…

Britain, in other words, will suffer calamities a parallel for which could be found in post-Exodus Egypt, but nowhere in British history. But the apparat will survive and thrive, which is all that matters to it.

Johnson, his back to the wall, will seek a snap general election, but he’s unlikely to get it. Two-thirds of MPs would have to support the motion, and the government has nowhere near that kind of majority.

Corbyn and McDonnel have been demanding a general election for years, but now they can smell power without having to risk going to the people. So they’ve changed their tune. No general election then, not until Britain has crawled back into the EU, her tail between her legs, and the Tories have lost all credibility.

Labour, the LibDems, Scottish nationalists and Tory turncoats all have their delegates in the apparatchik cabal, and the apparat is in charge now – supported by the civil service, thoroughly politicised by Blair, the most revolting man and the worst constitutional vandal ever to disgrace Downing Street.

Sorry to be sounding so uncharacteristically impassioned, but I can’t stay calmly detached when my home is going to the dogs. Ghastly, ferocious dogs – of the kind I saw running wild in the country of my youth.

Is this really Britain? Could have fooled me.

Democracy makes language funny

Everything in life, from governing a big state to running a small household, must have a hierarchical structure. Remove that, and chaos ensues.

A priori, football is a good game, but in extremis it can be grosso modo boring

Western civilisation was based on the understanding that, in matters secular, all men aren’t created equal. Modernity overturned this understanding by claiming the opposite was “self-evident” (meaning it could be neither proved nor demonstrated).

Since then the West has been trying to shoehorn reality into the confines of this fallacy. And some things have proved elastic enough to withstand such treatment.

For example, Western economy has benefited, on balance, from the democratic ability to spread wealth as widely as possible. Stratification remains, of course, and always will. But the lower strata are doing better than they’ve ever done at any other time or in any other place.

However, even there democracy isn’t an unqualified success. One of its by-products is a vast parasitic underclass born out of the culture of entitlement implicit in egalitarianism. This creates conditions for economic catastrophes, for Western governments have to live way beyond their means to accommodate millions of economic spongers.

Still, perfection is unattainable in this world. Even in today’s promiscuous corporatist economies, anybody who really wants to make a decent living can do so, provided he applies much – possibly all – of himself to that task.

This is manifestly not the case with the finer things in life, those dealing with the spirit rather than the stomach. There, an attempt to remove hierarchical tiers is tantamount to wanton destruction.

For, while the simple task of making a living isn’t beyond most people, the difficult task of acquiring real culture is. That’s why comprehensive education is an oxymoron: the more comprehensive it is, the less it’ll educate.

Some things just aren’t meant for wide consumption. Music, real music that is, is one example: it was created for few by fewer. Once the culture of patronage by the few went the way of most social hierarchies, music had to be financed by box office receipts.

Hence it had to become democratic, with millions of people voting with their cash for the kind of performances they liked. Music thus had to cater to common (in the sense of both general and crude) tastes, which gradually led it from the sublime to the cor-blime.

These days, concert platforms proudly feature fleet-fingered semi-nude girls as full of breast as they are empty of mind, who succeed in lowering the most magnificent creation of man’s spirit to the level of pop excretions.

The same democratic egalitarianism is ruining languages. There too, a little learning is all that’s widely available, for the simple reason that most people aren’t capable of absorbing more than that.

Alexander Pope warned of the concomitant dangers three centuries ago: “A little learning is a dangerous thing;// drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:// there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,// and drinking largely sobers us again.”

Apart from creating a popular expression, Pope communicated the lamentable fact that most people can’t drink deep – shallow draughts of learning are all they can manage.

Yet democracy promotes a sense of not only economic but also cultural entitlement. The assumption is that, since we’re all created equal, we’re also created equally cultured.

Before that fallacy took hold, language had been as stratified as the social hierarchy. There existed broad swathes of lexicon that were the exclusive domain of seriously educated people. The rest had no access to such vocabulary and thus were in no position to mangle it.

The democratic presupposition put paid to such exclusivity. A little knowledge is now universally available, and people do avail themselves of it. The results can be comic.

Now, I’ve never met an educated person who’d mock an uneducated one for using plain words of one or two syllables. On the contrary, such a chap is often praised for expressing himself clearly and unpretentiously.

However, neither have I ever met an educated person able to suppress a sardonic smile when an ignoramus misuses a long word or a foreign expression.

Actually, the French are even likelier than we are to provide such entertainment. They still teach things like philosophy and Latin at school, which exacerbates the natural French tendency to intellectual posturing.

Thus you can hear French football commentators (football commentators, for heaven’s sake!) utter astounding sentences, such as: “He’s a superlative player a priori, but in extremis he may be grosso modo careless in front of the goal.”

What’s wrong with, say, “He’s a good player, but he misses many sitters under pressure”? If you have to ask, you aren’t French.

Our commentators misuse words too, but at least they shun Latin solecisms – not because they know that a priori means ‘based on a self-evident postulate’, not ‘at first glance’, but because their comprehensive education kept such phrases off-limits. Nor do they share their French counterparts’ compulsion to sound like homespun philosophers.

Nevertheless, we too have to smile at numerous attempts by democratically egalitarian people to sound sophisticated. Thus, every time I hear someone say “it reaches a crescendo”, I have the same involuntary reaction as Himmler is, wrongly, believed to have had when hearing the word ‘culture’.

‘Crescendo’, lads, is a way of reaching a point, not the point reached, but that knowledge has fallen through the cracks in our comprehensive education.

And it’s not just long words but also foreign phrases that are bent out of shape by untutored hands. For example, describing a highly exclusive party in an interview, Helen Mirren once said that “all the hoi polloi were there.”

It would be unnecessarily pedantic to point out that, because ‘hoi polloi’ means ‘the many’ in Greek, preceding it with the definite article is like saying ‘the the many’. But, God bless her, our celebrated actress actually thinks the expression means ‘high society’, which is, well, funny.

For fear of boring you, I’ll spare you a long list of foreign-sounding words and phrases that are routinely disfigured in the public domain where they don’t belong. Suffice it to say that democracy won’t be kept within the confines of politics.

It sends shock waves throughout society, and in some areas they have the same effect as Hurricane Dorian has had on the Bahamas.

Johnson is about to murder millions

At least, that’s what the French government would like us to believe.

Boris Johnson, announcing prorogation of parliament

To be fair, the diplomatic briefing of French officials doesn’t say that much in so many words. But what it does say makes this inference inescapable. At least I couldn’t escape it.

The briefing note says: “There is unease regarding Cummings’s Maoism and what economic transformation in the UK could mean for long-term geopolitical relations.”

See what I mean? If Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s closest adviser, is a Maoist, then Boris himself is like Mao, at least typologically.

Now, though Mr Johnson does boast a rather eclectic ethnic mix, I’m unaware of any Chinese inputs. Hence, the French government must feel he’s like Mao not in what he is, but in what he does.

During his time at the helm, the Great Helmsman murdered over 60 million people and enslaved the rest. Of course, much as he’d want to, Britain’s comparatively puny population would make it hard for Mr Johnson to match those numbers, not without expanding his murderous instincts internationally.

But, as I never tire to point out, numbers shouldn’t affect the principle. Perhaps Mr Johnson is planning to match Mao’s scoresheet in proportionate rather than absolute numbers.

One way or the other, the French government seems to be convinced he’s out to go on a murderous rampage, execute or imprison most university graduates, invade an equivalent of Tibet and call for an all-out nuclear war.

No? Then what makes Johnson Mao, or Cummings Maoist? The same note explains it perfectly, if in slightly cryptic language. They aren’t like Mao in those insignificant details. It’s just that they, like the Chinese butcher, pursue an evil end, in this case Brexit.

One can understand their concern: anything less than a disaster for a post-Brexit Britain spells a disaster for a post-Brexit EU. Just imagine what will happen if, after a few months of transitional hiccups, Britain starts outperforming the eurozone economically.

What message will that send to other members, especially those called neither Germany nor France? Right. A couple of years of Britain’s post-exit prosperity, and the EU will almost certainly be reduced just to those two nations.

Both Messrs Johnson and Cummings are trying to comply with the will of the British people, which is why they are accused of raping democracy and acting in the style of Hitler, Mao and presumably Genghis Khan.

Moreover, the Johnson cabinet is actively preparing for Brexit by seeking beneficial trade treaties with non-EU countries, especially the United States. According to the French government, this is “humiliating” for Britain. As opposed, one assumes, to being governed by Germany in all but name. Now, that’s what the French call dignified.

The French must realise that, unlike their country, Britain has no recent experience of being run by Germany, and nor does one detect any urgent desire at the grassroots to acquire such experience. Neither does Britain, unlike France, have much experience of Maoist parties influencing government – a situation that made that Maoist analogy roll so easily off those French bureaucrats’ tongues.

What I find particularly endearing is that the French and the Germans have the gall to accuse Mr Johnson’s government of being insufficiently democratic and constitutional. That’s like an arsonist complaining about a shortage of fire extinguishers.

They’ve created a portmanteau superstate accountable to itself only and run by unelected officials, with a rubberstamping parliament in tow. In view of that, their touching display of affection for democracy doesn’t even make it to hypocritical. Schizophrenic, is more like it.

Ignorance also comes into it, on a rather embarrassing scale.

Thus Christoph Gusy, German authority of constitutional history, has evidently set out to prove that he really ought to look for a different line of work. Speaking of Johnson’s prorogation of parliament, Prof. Gusy proudly declared that such a thing would be “unthinkable” in Germany.     

“Apparently in the UK the constitution is still in a monarchical tradition,” Gusy said, thereby proving his impressive academic credentials. It must have escaped his attention that the UK is indeed a monarchy, which goes some way towards explaining its monarchical traditions.

However, Johnson’s move has nothing to do with that aspect of our constitution and everything to do with other aspects, those that have made it possible for several of our prime ministers to seek royal assent to prorogue parliament for a short time.

“What Johnson is doing now is exactly what was abolished in Germany a hundred years ago,” continued Gusy. In other words, he’s holding the Weimar Republic up as a shining political star for Britain to follow.

He’s right about his facts though. This sort of thing was indeed impossible in Germany 100 years ago. What, however, was possible, was the sort of thing that happened in Germany 86 years ago, when the unmatched Weimar constitution delivered power to Hitler – legally, constitutionally and democratically.

Then, 80 years ago, another thing became possible: Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe under its own aegis. Really, the French and German eurocrats deserve one another. Neither seem to realise that, in their panic over Brexit, they sound like blithering idiots.