The Ode to Brexit Joy

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The Eroica copy in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, with the hole where Beethoven angrily scratched out the dedication to Napoleon

One of the greatest Europeans of them all hugely admired Napoleon, until one day, he didn’t. Beethoven famously wrote his Eroica Symphony (one of his many paradigm leaps) in part as a homage to the tiny Corsican, but when the latter’s superstate ambitions and ego took over, Beethoven lost the rag. He had principles that weren’t for sale.

So it’s both irksome and ignorant of the EU to claim (in 1993) the Ode to Joy from the Ninth (21 years later, from a tired and reflective genius), as some sort of superstate anthem. Beethoven would not have approved.

The nadir of this cultural appropriation was when the routinely stupid SNP whistled and gurned it to ‘protest’ about Brexit (narrator: normal Scottish people are indifferent at best to the EU, don’t believe the hype).

In the real world, intelligent EU types, particularly in the German media, have sensed that the game is nearly up. Merkel has been a disaster, ultimately, and the future without the UK’s dosh and common sense looks scary to them. As it should. Here is one such piece in the mighty Der Spiegel, published on Brexit day, and written by the prescient Romain Leick.  I have copied the whole thing.  One of the key points in the road is spelled out: “Brussels did nothing to help the lamentable Prime Minister David Cameron win the referendum”. In fact they treated him like a turd on their elegant shoes.

Essential reading and reflection:

#Brexit, and a brief history of the EU

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The Channel, from the International Space Station

 

This author, like many Brexiteers, didn’t really have a problem with the Common Market and its initial manifestations. It all went downhill with Maastricht (1992) and Lisbon (2007), where the terrible undemocratic behaviour of our politicians – not least Gordon Brown shamefacedly skulking away from the press –  became writ large.

Today is Brexit Day, and one of the Guardian’s headlines shows you just how deluded Remainers became, whilst admitting that there might have been a teeny problem with the EU..

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….are you sure about that?

In any event, I have a lot of time for some of the early EU types – Monnet, Schuman, de Gasperi and even Jacques Delors -but their civilising influences were swept away by the ghastly ungodly bullying technocrats who followed.

Here is the Great Spartan of Scotland, Gerald Warner, from behind a paywall at Reaction, on today’s events, and the preceding decades. Superb stuff:

Today is the day. After 47 years of sovereignty submerged beneath the Brussels behemoth and three and a half years devoted to frustrating the attempts by the EU fifth column within our domestic elites to overrule the result of the biggest democratic exercise in our history, Britain finally reclaims its place among the sovereign nations of the world.

Membership of the European Union was a catastrophic mistake. The people of Britain were lured into the snare by an endless series of false prospectuses, deceit and downright lies. Our accidental protector was Charles de Gaulle, whose implacable “Non!” deferred our entry into the EEC for years. De Gaulle himself believed in a Europe des patries and would have given short shrift to the integrationist policies being championed by his remote successor Emmanuel Macron.

The monstrosity whose disintegration we shall now watch with a mixture of morbid curiosity and satisfaction from the safety of offshore was introduced by a process of osmosis: who could possibly feel threatened by a Coal and Steel Community? The project, ironically, was conceived by its founders not only as a political project, but as a culturally Christian endeavour – a kind of restoration of the Holy Roman Empire.

In post-War Europe, groping around uncertainly for security and guarantees of peace in the face of an escalating Cold War, by coincidence three Catholic statesmen had come to dominate the European geopolitical landscape by 1950. They were Robert Schuman, the foreign minister of France; Konrad Adenauer, chancellor of West Germany; and Alcide De Gasperi, prime minister of Italy. So devout was Schuman that he has been declared a “servant of God” by the Church, the first step towards beatification. This Catholic influence in the founding of the European Steel and Coal Community (ESCC) might seem to play to the delusions of those today who make the historically illiterate error of comparing Brexit to the English Reformation. In that, they echo Ian Paisley’s strident condemnations of the Treaty of Rome. Any comparison of the mainly spiritual powers of the Pope, plus the modest dues of Peter’s Pence and Annates paid for the upkeep of the Church, before the Reformation is completely derisory compared to the vast powers and massive fiscal exactions of the EU.

In any case, this initially Catholic inspiration was being dissipated as early as 1950: when Schuman read the Declaration that bears his name, founding the ESCC, the text had already been edited by Jean Monnet. Thereafter, relentless secularism increasingly captured the European project. When the EU was drawing up its constitution in 2004 the Vatican and seven member states pressed in vain for even the briefest acknowledgement of Europe’s Christian heritage. Later, on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Benedict XVI condemned the EU’s increasing marginalization of Christianity as “apostasy of itself”.

That was true even in a secular sense: the present-day European Union is totally deracinated from its original philosophy and character. It no longer knows what it is or aspires to be. No two member states share the same vision. Just as the north-south divide has brought the euro currency to the brink of collapse, interpretations of the EU as diverse as those prevailing in France and Hungary create an irreducible tension that can never be resolved except by either the reduction of the number of member states or the dissolution of the whole Heath-Robinson contraption.

One thing is certain: the EU is not democratic. Unelected apparatchiks hold the reins of power. Any attempt at asserting democratic values has – until the success of Brexit – been cynically and ruthlessly crushed. This is most observable in the EU’s treatment of referenda in member states. As long ago as 1992 a referendum in Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty. Some cosmetic changes were made, including exempting Denmark from adopting the euro, and the following year the Danes held a second referendum and obediently fell into line.

Because the Irish constitution requires all treaties to be subjected to plebiscite, in 2001 a referendum was held in Ireland on the Treaty of Nice, which was rejected. After frenzied propaganda by the establishment Ireland voted again in 2002 and accepted the Nice Treaty, with a face-saving provision of exemption from joining any future EU army.
In 2005 referenda in France and the Netherlands both rejected the draft EU constitution. Since forcing a re-run in two countries would have been bad PR, Brussels re-packaged the constitution as the Lisbon Treaty. But a referendum in Ireland in 2008 rejected the treaty, so 16 months later the Irish were required to vote again and this time they came up with the right result.

With that history of consistent refusals to accept a democratic verdict it is unsurprising that the EU imagined that, with the help of the Remainers in Britain, it should be possible to force the UK to hold a second referendum, after years of Project Fear scaremongering, and secure a penitent revocation of Article 50, with a chastened Britain returning to the EU fold to be treated with obloquy for the indefinite future.

The British, happily, are made of sterner stuff and cherish the rights for which they made large sacrifices in two world wars. So, we are leaving, and not before time. Since we joined the EEC in 1973 this country has contributed £215bn to the EEC/EU budget. And for what? The continual erosion of our independence, the imposition of foreign courts and laws on our legal system, the hobbling of our natural instincts of entrepreneurship.
We have always been a net contributor to the EU: apart from propagandist froth, no British project has ever benefited from “European money” – only from a portion of our taxpayers’ money returned to us on its own terms by Brussels. So far from benefiting from EU membership, three decades of Brussels regulations have hobbled productivity and real wages, causing loss of growth of around 0.2 per cent annually, totalling £120bn over 30 years.

Now it is over. The psychological effect of restored sovereignty will be enormous. It must be reflected in Britain’s approach to the 11-month negotiations during the transition period. Michel Barnier must be made to realize he is dealing with a wholly different entity from the cap-in-hand suppliant that was Theresa May. Domestically, the government has got off to a bad start, losing the opportunity to draw a line under the past by instantly excluding Huawei and scrapping HS2. That would have sent a robust message to Brussels which still believes the deep state is in control in Whitehall. Our negotiating position must be unyielding: no extension after 31 December, no concessions on fisheries, no ECJ, no alignment with the regulations that have for too long crippled enterprise in this country.

It will be virtually impossible for a defeated and discredited Remoaner rump to demonize a WTO exit if EU intransigence makes it inevitable. The mood is confident; we are a great nation. When the present Queen came to the throne there was much optimistic talk, despite the weakness of our post-War economy and the continuing dissolution of our Empire, of a “New Elizabethan Age”.

An establishment philosophy of managed decline and the constrictions of EU membership stifled that aspiration. Perhaps now, in the later stages of the reign, that neo-Elizabethan vision can finally be attained. Welcome, Brexit, and welcome the return to the world stage of a sovereign, independent Britain.

It’s up to us now.

Racism in 2019

The two groups in our society today who enjoy racism – I know that’s an odd way of phrasing it – are actual racists, who when they’re in a group/mob seem to thrive on the toxic atmosphere, and all those commentators/politicians/idiots who casually go around accusing people of racism on the basis of zip. There are quite a lot of these latter group, for whom identity politics is both a way of life and often a source of income. There are literally thousands of examples of this deeply disturbing phenomenon. This recent  Spiked! piece, reflecting the UK’s fevered pre-election state provides a brilliant insight. Alternatively, just go on Twitter.

A sorry state of affairs.

As a white Catholic male of Irish heritage I do tick a few minority boxes, but I’ve never been victimised in any of those categories, although anticatholicism (1, 2, 3, 4) is on the rise worldwide, for sure.

It’s easy for me to say that I don’t think the UK is a particularly racist society, I know, but it is what I think, especially having visited plenty of countries that are far worse in this respect. In terms of endemic bigotry, including race, we do have Corbyn and his chums with their quite blatant Jew hatred – and the Jews are the archetypal race, as opposed to categorising people by colour or other visible features – and of course the Scottish Nationalists, with their longstanding  careful nurturing of anti-English sentiment, to which they never admit. Both groups are shamefully part of the establishment, but the people are slowly fighting back, in my view. The imminent election may demonstrate that.

If you think I don’t know what I’m talking about, what with my privilege and all that, just ask an academic sociologist instead: “In the media turmoil surrounding Brexit, many pundits have seized on the prejudice angle, but these data demonstrate that is not actually what makes the UK different from the Continent. Prejudice against immigrant workers or minority ethnic and religious groups is rare in the UK, perhaps even slightly rarer than in equivalently developed EU countries”. Well, who would have thought it?

My take on why the UK is a pretty well integrated society in terms of race – and improving all the time – is quite specific. There are five main factors, but first a brief history of the useful input from politicians on this topic (in living memory):

1965 The Race Relations Act – outlawed discrimination on the “grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins” in public places in Great Britain … It also prompted the creation of the Race Relations Board in 1966

1968 The Race Relations Act – made it illegal to refuse housing, employment, or public services to a person on the grounds of colour, race, ethnic or national origins in Great Britain, and also created the Community Relations Commission to promote ‘harmonious community relations’.

…so two significant pieces of legislation, followed by…

1976 The Race Relations Act which combined the two earlier pieces to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic and national origin in the fields of employment, the provision of goods and services, education and public functions. The Act also established the Commission for Racial Equality with a view to review the legislation, which was put in place to make sure the Act rules were followed.

All good, but then came the Race Relations Amendment Act of 2000, which modified things a bit, but was much less of a landmark, and the Equality Act of 2010, which actually created a few problems for some (non-bigoted people). My point being the main pieces of legislation, particularly regarding race (as opposed to gender etc), were done and dusted by 1976, which was 43 years ago.

Despite that admirable work, the current 2019 number one talking point for many politicians, is racism, because they believe that they can use it to batter opponents with, often diminishing the significance of real racism issues in the process – if everyone is a racist, nobody is.

You see it every day, on Twitter, on the news, and magnified one hundredfold when there’s an election coming up. It takes a bit of creative licence to brand Brexit as a race issue, but that’s exactly what many Remainers have been trying for the past 4 years.

So here are the five main factors promoting racial harmony in the UK, none of which are to the credit of any politician – they came about organically, if you like:

  1. The NHS (in which I work) – where patients and staff come from everywhere. I’ve had colleagues from the Philippines to Paraguay, and all points in between, Interestingly, EU membership works against this, by favouring EU citizens for jobs over those from further afield, which, given the ethnicities, certainly looks like racism to me. It screwed up medical recruitment from India, Pakistan and the Middle East in particular, all areas with which we’ve long had excellent historical ties.
  2. Professional sport, not just football – just watch the TV sport for 5 minutes. I go back to supertough Remi Moses being a legend for Manchester United. There is no more likeable a public figure than Anthony Joshua.
  3. Popular culture, in particular reality TV, Talent shows and soaps – speaks for itself
  4. The churches, especially the Catholic church – try going to Sunday mass in Clapham to see what I mean
  5. Higher education, which has been a true melting pot since the start of the 20th century (here’s one brilliant example)

Why did I write this?

Because I am heartily sick of the politicisation of this societal issue, for cynical reasons unconnected with ending actual discrimination. And also to point out that the citizens of the UK, without the input of politicians, do a very good job of racial integration themselves, without fuss. The emphasis on alleged racism plausibly harms efforts to tackle real racism.

There are problems, there probably always will be, but they will not be solved by the shrill ranting of our political classes and their hangers on**, ***, **** for reasons mainly concerned with personal and political gain.

The citizens don’t need their advice on this one.

 

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Lily can’t hold back the tears

**This post went out just before Boris’ remarkable win in the general election. As night follows day, up pops a ludicrous ‘serious’ celebrity (Lily Allen), to blame it all on racism.

They have no idea what their own country and its citizens are actually like. They have no faith in human beings to broadly do the right thing.

 

 

 

 

***then along comes absurd luvvie John Hannah, to, guess what, tell us that: “This whole Brexit cluster -f*** is really about 1 thing. Immigration ! Like it or not turns out we’re a country of racists and Brexit/EU scepticism is the cover. It’s all about English nationalism. Shameful!”

Which gives him the added pleasure as a Scot – despite living in London and the US – of pulling Sturgeon’s trick of accusing the English of that which she is guilty of herself, bigotry.

Awful, stupid, malignant people, with zero ability to relate to the average citizen. Who will of course be racist.

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Hannah looking down on the racist plebs

**** and here comes trendy but thick attention-seeking multimillionaire Stormzy, to add his predictable tuppenceworth

The theatre of #Brexit – Robert Bolt edition

I think it is the awful Lib Dems who have frequently pointed out that we should, like the US, have a written constitution. We don’t, but we do have hitherto accepted norms that have in the last two years – and particularly the last two weeks – been gleefully trampled down by the Remainer mob. This is generally aided and abetted by much of the media, who don’t report these quite unprecedented decisions as being anything other than ‘normal’ in these trying times.

But normal they are not.

The unwritten constitutional arrangements of the UK, with their checks and balances, have been chucked out where it suits the Remainers. However, where it doesn’t suit, the screeching starts immediately…

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There are innumerable examples of what we should continue to call ‘constitutional vandalism’ – it’s beginning to catch on. A few at random:

  1. Theresa May handing the control of government business over to backbench Remainer MP’s
  2. Rushing a banning No Deal bill through parliament then whining about a bit of filibustering (which is entirely licit)
  3. The big one of course is attempting to ignore the 2016 referendum result

and try this tweet…

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…making it up as they go along. HUGE constitutional issues

…but there really are lots of others. Does it matter? I think it does. It seriously matters.

I am not a fan of the theatre, despite many attempts. Actors declaiming loudly while stomping around the floorboards just make me cringe. That’s why movies were invented**. I suspect that I’m not alone, even if it sounds like philistinism (it’s not). However, one play with which I am familiar – written, on stage and on film – is Robert Bolt’s work of genius A Man For All Seasons. The scene which applies here, and I realise that this is not an original point, is when Thomas More is debating with his son in law, Will Roper, who is protesting self righteously about his view that what he considers ‘right’ trumps the law of the land (from 2:14, but watch it all):

That’s where we are today with the attempt to destroy a legitimate democratic vote. God help us.

Bolt was not religious, despite the magnificent portrayal of (Saint) Thomas More, but he tended to develop certain themes, one of which was the corruption that developed in authority figures and institutions. How right he was.

It was another irreligious, but intelligent, man who provided the prediction of what we’re witnessing currently in Britain. Thanks to the great Kate Hoey for this:

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**for what it’s worth, I think Paul Scofield’s Oscar-winning portrayal of More is just about as good as acting gets.

#Brexit news: Thermopylae edition

Not long ago this blog introduced the concept of the ‘hardcore’ Brexiteers – that is to say, the most principled ones, who have stuck to the details of the referendum – as the 21st century equivalent of the 300 Spartans.

I don’t know how many people read it, but it got passed around Twitter a bit, and, possibly by coincidence, these MP’s labelled themselves, or had it awarded to them, as “The Spartans”. The Daily Mail made a thing of it (1, 2, 3), plus a few other papers (1, 2) and a bit on the TV.

In any event, there’s some serious disconnect between Leavers like Guido, Boris, Dominic Cummings (who I admire) and others claiming that Theresa May’s utterly terrible deal was the best we could get so we should take it, and what a reasonable voter should expect after a referendum in a democracy. I’ve followed it all pretty closely. Clearly there are back channels of chit chat within the Establishment assuring everyone that it’s May’s deal or no Brexit. I have no criticism of the Spartans who chose not to compromise. Good for them. Despite this, numerous Twitter gurus dropped heaps of ordure on the likes of Steve Baker for taking a firm view. In fact he was behaving admirably.

Only Dominic Cummings said what we wanted to hear – that if May’s ridiculous deal was accepted we could trash it over the next few years and get a real Brexit. How would he know, bright fellow though he is? Here’s what he claimed. I like his style:

Also, don’t worry about the so-called ‘permanent’ commitments this historically abysmal Cabinet are trying to make on our behalf. They are not ‘permanent’ and a serious government — one not cowed by officials and their bullshit ‘legal advice’ with which they have herded ministers like sheep — will dispense with these commitments and any domestic law enforcing them.

Nevertheless I remain  a Spartans supporter, and I don’t think for one minute that this is over. Nor does a huge – and very pissed off – chunk of the electorate.

All of which leads me to Thermopylae. Here’s a recent purchase – a 1784 map of the pass and the local features. A £20 bargain I’d say.

Thermopylae
Where heroes saved Europe

 

I do recommend Frank Miller’s book, and the very closely allied (and quite brilliantly filmed) movie. It may yet come to a Salamis. In the earlier post I hadn’t identified our modern day Themistocles – it requires Theresa May to get her richly deserved P45 first, but there are plenty of candidates: Jacob Rees-Mogg (despite his wavering), Liz Truss, even Dominic Raab. And there are plenty of good people left in Labour: Graham Stringer, Caroline Flint, Lucy Powell, Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart.

Leonidas knew that he wouldn’t survive, but his actions won the war.

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….95 yards. Quite amazing

 

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Themistocles, by the great Stavros Zouliatis

Who are the #Brexit 300?

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Juncker – he’s not happy

It may be an acquired taste, but Zack Snyder’s innovative epic, 300, concerning the Persian attempt to invade and subsume Greece back in 480BC, strikes me as masterpiece of film making. A Room With a View it is not, but it is surprisingly accurate to sources (ask the undoubted expert – Victor Davis Hanson), as it portrays the principled fight of a small group of Spartans, against the multinational might of the Persian Empire, led by its bullying power-crazed unelected leader, Xerxes.

Sound familiar?

The Spartans are fighting for the future of their nation and its citizens, not for themselves. They expect to die, to literally go down fighting. Indeed, they do lose the battle, Thermopylae. But it was the start of the fall of the Persian Empire. A couple of months later the Persian fleet got trashed at Salamis (thanks to the brilliance and leadership of Themistocles). The next year they got humped again at Plataea and Mycale. The empire started to fall apart, however slowly.

By 331 BC, Alexander the Great had reversed the whole scenario, and was the ruler of Persia. (Greeks are tough, what happened to Grexit?)

You can see where this is leading.

A huge factor in the defeat of the Spartans at Thermopylae, lead by Leonidas, was the treachery of Ephialtes, who as a deformed, physically limited citizen was not allowed to fight (that’s the movie version of his background). His pride stung, he turned to Xerxes, and betrayed his fellow citizens by revealing the mountain path by which the Persians were able to sneak up on the tiny Spartan contingent, negating the advantage of defending the narrow pass between mountain and sea.

A very inspiring story, genuinely. Read Tom Holland’s classic Persian Fire if you’d like to know more.

So, who’s who?

The godking Xerxes, bizarrely, is Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Spartans are those Brexiteers who are not interested in Theresa May’s utterly crap deal. Plenty of other Greeks (to continue the metaphor) are, even Guido.

Leonidas is the plum role. To add more cognitive dissonance it has to be either Boris or Jacob Rees-Mogg. Given Leonidas’ uxoriousness in the movie, it probably has to go to the latter. The supporting Spartan warrior cast includes John Redwood, Kate Hoey, and others. Possibly not more than 300 though.

Themistocles has yet to be cast.

 

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Blair
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Ephialtes

Ephialtes is easy. Take a bow Tony Blair. We thought that we’d got rid of you, but here you are again, betraying your country, actively loathing the electorate. Like Ephialtes, it appears to be making you miserable, but you’ve been able to persuade yourself that wrong is right for so long, it’s probably just a little nagging pinprick lurking at the back of your thoughts.

Lose the battle – perhaps – but win the war.

The European civil war: #Brexit edition

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….everybody loses in a war (The Last Tercio, by the great Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau )

In a long and remarkably constructed piece of erudition in The American Mind, a publication of the Claremont Institute, Professor Angelo Codevilla, a true scholar of international relations and historical precedent, considered what he refers to as a “cold civil war“, the product of a new American revolution.

In so doing, he also inadvertently describes the current state of play with Brexit.

Consider these excerpts. It’s not difficult to spot the Remainers, and the unelected Euro elite of Selmayr et al

…“men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.” (quoting Thucydides)…

.…This is our revolution: Because a majority of Americans now no longer share basic sympathies and trust, because they no longer regard each other as worthy of equal consideration, the public and private practices that once had made our Republic are now beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Strife can only mount until some new equilibrium among us arises….

…The logic that drives each turn of our revolutionary spiral is Progressive Americans’ inherently insatiable desire to exercise their superiority over those they deem inferior. With Newtonian necessity, each such exercise causes a corresponding and opposite reaction. The logic’s force comes not from the substance of the Progressives’ demands. If that were the case, acquiescing to or compromising with them could cut it short. Rather, it comes from that which moves, changes, and multiplies their demands without end. That is the Progressives’ affirmation of superior worth, to be pursued by exercising dominance: superior identity affirmed via the inferior’s humiliation. It is an inherently endless pursuit.  The logic is rooted in disdain, but not so much of any of the supposed inferiors’ features or habits. If it were, the deplored could change their status by improving. But the Progressives deplore the “deplorables” not to improve them, but to feel good about themselves. Hating people for what they are and because it feels good to hate them, is hate in its unalloyed form…..

…As Thucydides pointed out, once people cease adhering to “those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity,” partisan solidarity offers the only immediate hope of safety. And that, in turn, is because “those general laws” are by, of, and for the good of all. Once people no longer see any good common to all, justice for each becomes identical with advantage. The only good or justice that prevails is the good or justice of the stronger. As Plato points out in Book I of The Republic, far from being a rare phenomenon, this is mankind’s default state.   Hence, among us as well, subjection by force is replacing conviction by argument. Here too, as contrasting reactions to events fan antagonisms into consuming flames like a bellows’ blows, victory’s triumphs and defeat’s agonies’ become the only alternatives…

…..This forced the recognition that there exists a remarkably uniform, bipartisan, Progressive ruling class; that it includes, most of the bureaucracies of federal and state governments, the judiciary, the educational establishment, the media, as well as major corporate officials; that it had separated itself socially, morally, and politically from the rest of society, whose commanding heights it monopolized; above all that it has contempt for the rest of America, and that ordinary Americans have no means of persuading this class of anything, because they don’t count.  As the majority of Americans have become conscious of the differences between this class and themselves they have sought ever more passionately to shake it off. That is the ground of our revolution….

…The rulers are militantly irreligious and contemptuous of those who are not. Progressives since Herbert Croly’s and Woodrow Wilson’s generation have nursed a superiority complex. They distrust elections because they think that power should be in expert hands—their own. They believe that the U.S Constitution gave too much freedom to ordinary Americans and not enough power to themselves, and that America’s history is one of wrongs. The books they read pretend to argue scientifically that the rest of Americans are racist, sexist, maybe fascists, but above all stupid. For them, Americans are harmful to themselves and to the world, and have no right to self-rule….

…..The ruling class’s “resistance” to the 2016 election’s outcome was the second turn. Its vehemence, unanimity, coordination, endurance,and non-consideration of fallback options—the rapidity with which our revolution’s logic has unfolded—have surprised and dismayed even those of us who realized that America had abandoned its republican past.  The “resistance” subsequent to the election surprises, in part, because only as it has unfolded have we learned of its scope prior to the election. All too simply: the U.S government’s upper echelons merged politically with the campaign of the Democratic Party’s establishment wing, and with the media. They aimed to secure the establishment candidates’ victory and then to nullify the lost election’s results by resisting the winners’ exercise of legitimate powers, treating them as if they were illegitimate….

…Partisan “dirty tricks” are unremarkable. But when networks within government and those who occupy society’s commanding heights play them against persons trying to unseat them, they constitute cold civil war against the voters, even coups d’etat. What can possibly answer such acts? And then what? These people, including longstanding officials of the FBI and CIA, are related to one another intellectually, morally, professionally, socially, financially, politically, maritally, and extramaritally. Their activities to stop the anti-establishment candidate, and president—in this case, Trump…

…The revolutionary import of the ruling class’ abandonment of moral and legal restraint in its effort to reverse election results cannot be exaggerated. Sensing themselves entitled to power, imagining themselves identical with legitimacy, “those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity“—here the US Constitution and ordinary civility—are small stuff to them….

…In 1919, a member of the Russian Duma had asked: “Comrade, is this just?” Lenin famously answered: “Just? For what class?” Forty years later, in similar circumstances, Fidel Castro delivered the dime store version: “Within the revolution, everything. Against the revolution, nothing.” In 2018 our ruling class, in unison, set out to destroy all but the biological life of a political adversary. It substituted vehement assertion for truth, cast aside argument, foreclosed questions, celebrated its own deed and vowed to persist in it. Asked whether what they were doing was right, Senators Booker and Hirono answered directly—the others did so indirectly—that this was the right way to proceed with a person whose jurisprudence was so objectionable. Whether they know whose footsteps they are following matters little.  What matters a lot is that our ruling class does not deal and will never again deal with their opponents as fellow citizens. Theirs was a quintessentially revolutionary act, after which there is no stepping back.  The “resistance” worked. You may have won the last election, said the ruling class. But we’re still in charge. Indeed, they are. And they might stay that way. But human nature ensures that people reply, and repay….

….By dropping all pretense of ruling for the common good; by presuming that they embody the law (Laws-R-Us); by instituting various kinds of boycotts (Institutions-R-Us); by using the strongest, most motivating language toward opponents; by inciting all manner of violence; by death-gripping their privileges; by using their positions’ powers in government and social institutions at or beyond their extreme edge; the people who occupy the government’s and society’s institutions continue to remove whatever deference the institutions (by the authority of which they rule) had inspired. They increasingly stand before their opponents, naked. By daring their opponents to capture these positions in any way possible, and to use them in the same way, they threw down a gantlet that is now being picked up….

…Unattainable, and gone forever, is the whole American Republic that had existed for some 200 years after 1776. The people and the habits of heart and mind that had made it possible are no longer a majority. Progressives made America a different nation by rejecting those habits and those traditions. As of today, they would use all their powers to prevent others from living in the manner of the Republic…

So much of it is specifically American, and refers to that republic’s unique and thus far extraordinarily durable Constitution. Not unlike Britain’s own unwritten but hitherto adhered to rulebook. Yet the pathological behaviour exhibited by the losers since Trump’s election reflects exactly the hate driven refusal of the snubbed Remainers.

Codevilla ends his piece by quoting Shakespeare in Julius Caesar. I’ll go with Robert Bolt in his masterly, and timeless,  A Man For All Seasons:

William Roper: So now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast. Man’s laws, not God’s. And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law – for my own safety’s sake.

 

The paradoxes of #Brexit

Flammarion
A bold and confident Brexiteer…

Paradox is a beautiful tool of language, the master of which was GK Chesterton (1, 2, 3), but in our times Mark Steyn seems to be able to produce them effortlessly and very wittily.

At the heart of the Brexit mess lie a few of these gems, the first being the truth that strikes a cold, paralysing fear into the hearts of the hubristic masters of the EU project:

~ The EU and Remainers are not afraid that (No Deal) Brexit will fail,  they are afraid that it will succeed

~ In the UK the official opposition is not particularly opposed to Brexit (despite some noisy Blairites)

~ Democracy loving (allegedly) Remainers are recklessly trying to overturn the result of the biggest democratic exercise in British history

~In a class ridden society (allegedly), the upper and lower classes are united by being assaulted by an enraged middle class

~ The entire Despite Brexit movement is a living, pulsating mass of new paradoxes and baffled journalists every day. Here are just a few of the recent ones: 1 (from the FT, spiritual home of the Despite Brexit classes) 2 and 3. They’re not hard to find.

No doubt there are quite a few more of  these unexpected results of the Brexit vote, though more specifically, of the failure to accept its result.

Paradox  implies that humility is a good idea. That applies to both sides of the Brexit divide, but Remainers’ continued failure to predict the future suggests that they perhaps need that particular virtue more than most.

As it happens, given the sheer loathing (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) that Remainers have demonstrated for the rest of us – a fault also found in Brexiteers, but to nowhere near the same extent – another Chesterton paradox seems applicable….

It is a great mistake to suppose that love unites and unifies men. Love diversifies them, because love is directed towards individuality. The thing that really unites men and makes them like to each other is hatred.

The 7 ages (so far) of #Brexit

blaue_europe
…happy days
  1. 1st February 2016, the European Union Referendum Act 2015 becomes law. This is based on a Tory manifesto promise, and the referendum was supported by Labour in the debates. The question was to be
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

with the responses to the question to be marked with a single (X):

Remain a member of the European Union
Leave the European Union

Which seems straightforward. I don’t see any mention of ‘a deal’

2. Dave announces the Brexit referendum. The announcement is on the 20th February  2016. The date of the poll will be 23rd June 2016. Dave says “I do not love  Brussels. I love Britain. I am the first to say there are many ways the EU needs to improve. The task of reforming Europe does not end with yesterday’s agreement. I will never say our country could not survive outside Europe … That is not the question. The question is will we be safer, stronger and better off working together in a reformed Europe or out on our own. You will decide and whatever your decision I will do my best to deliver it” . Well he forgot that last bit.

dpjhbrexit
…not one of Dan’s best

3. There is lots of campaigning. Both sides are working from the same premise. In or out. There is no substantive talk of deals, Hard and Soft Brexits etc. Both sides are spending money like water. There is no mention of Putin. There is lots of absurd Remainer scaremongering. Virtually all of the media are anti-Brexit, though honourable exceptions include a couple of Guardianistas like Larry Elliott, thoughtful    Europhiles like Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, and the Daily Express. The Sun came over eventually. Remainers are serenely confident usually (see right). Oddly, both sides pretty much concede that the EU is a corrupt, dysfunctional, expensive, authoritarian, bureaucratic behemoth (I’m not joking), but weirdly, Remainers still think it can be reformed.

4.      23rd June 2016 is the date of the referendum. There is a huge turnout. There is no suggestion that this is an electorate that hasn’t thought it through – the opposite is true. Remainers seem relaxed, as like Nigel Farage at 2200hr, they think they’ve won.

5.     The result: 52% leave v 48% Remain. It may sound close, but that is pretty clear cut as these things go. Remainers go absolutely ballistic with rage. That 52% is accurately described by Hero Of Our Times, Brendan O’Neill as the largest bloc of voters in the entire history of this nation.

6.     After more than two tedious years of Remainer and media whingeing about the thick  electorate, we wuz lied to, the thought that they might need to apply for a visa to go ski-ing etc etc, it becomes clear that there has been no substantial preparation by Remainer pols and civil servants for Brexit as both sides understood it pre-referendum (now dishonestly known as Hard, or No Deal Brexit). This was their primary task, not fannying around trying to strike a feeble compromise deal with arrogant Eurocrats who clearly hate them.

To reiterate, there was a necessary role in negotiating over specific (and relatively limited) financial and moral obligations, as well as unique issues such as the status of EU citizens already in the UK. Even popular issues such as visa free travel could wait, as along with many other issues, there is mutual benefit in producing reciprocal arrangements, which would (and will) inevitably come to pass. There was never any sense – until Remain lost – that a complex overarching deal was even an issue.

The pathetic whining by the SNP is a self-centred sideshow – Brexit is irrelevant to Scottish independence, although it highlights their astonishing hypocrisy, mysteriously preferring the EU yoke to that of the evil English. Likewise the utterly cynical invention of an ‘Irish border problem’, intentionally reviving memories of terrorism to serve the twisted cause, could be ‘solved’ at the stroke of a pen. Ask an Irishman.

7.    November 15th 2018: Desperate Theresa May produces a ‘deal’/capitulation that is so comprehensively bad, undemocratic, dishonest and stupid that it unites sworn enemies, and makes Eurothug Michel Barnier smile, albeit temporarily.

The ‘deal’ is well described by many, notably here, by the calm and well informed Pete North, and by Steerpike in The Spectator. I have pinched this from behind their paywall, as it is so important. If anything they go soft on the betrayal element. Apologies for the length, and you can read No 10’s slippery rebuttal here. They must have been stressed:

This week, Theresa May’s government teetered on the point of collapse over her proposed Brexit deal. The withdrawal agreement between the UK and Brussels led to Dominic Raab and Esther McVey resigning in protest. However, May’s remaining ministers have since attempted to rally around her at least in the short term. Speaking on Friday, Liam Fox – the International Trade Secretary – gave a speech in which he declared ‘a deal is better than no deal’. This is rather different to May’s old claim that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.

So, is Fox right? Mr S thought it best to let readers decide for themselves. In theory, Britain is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. But the legal small print, published by Brussels, shows what this means. Parliament will be asked to ratify a deal which clearly admits that ‘all references to ‘Member States’ and competent authorities of Member States…shall be read as including the United Kingdom.’ (Article 7). So the UK will be bound by EU laws, at least during a transition period. But this ‘transition period’ can be be made to last forever (Article 132).  And even if a successor deal is agreed, the UK will have signed away other rights for years to come.

Just in case readers don’t have the time to go through the lengthy document themselves, Steerpike has compiled a list of the top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

In summary: The supposed ‘transition period’ could last indefinitely or, more specifically, to an undefined date sometime this century (“up to 31 December 20XX”, Art. 132). So while this Agreement covers what the government is calling Brexit, what we in fact get is: ‘transition’ + extension indefinitely (by however many years we are willing to pay for) + all of those extra years from the ‘plus 8 years’ articles.

Should it end within two years, as May hopes, the UK will still be signed up to clauses keeping us under certain rules (like VAT and ECJ supervision) for a further eight years. Some clauses have, quite literally, a “lifetime” duration (Art.39). If the UK defaults on transition, we go in to the backstop with the Customs Union and, realistically, the single market. We can only leave the transition positively with a deal. But we sign away the money. So the EU has no need to give us a deal, and certainly no incentive to make the one they offered ‘better’ than the backstop. The European Court of Justice remains sovereign, as repeatedly stipulated. Perhaps most damagingly of all, we agree to sign away the rights we would have, under international law, to unilaterally walk away. Again, what follows relates (in most part) for the “transition” period. But the language is consistent with the E.U. imagining that this will be the final deal.

The top 40 horrors:

  1. From the offset, we should note that this is an EU text, not a UK or international text. This has one source. The Brexit agreement is written in Brussels.
  2. May says her deal means the UK leaves the EU next March. The Withdrawal Agreement makes a mockery of this. “All references to Member States and competent authorities of Member States…shall be read as including the United Kingdom.” (Art 6). Not quite what most people understand by Brexit. It goes on to spell out that the UK will be in the EU but without any MEPs, a commissioner or ECJ judges. We are effectively a Member State, but we are excused – or, more accurately, excluded – from attending summits. (Article 7)
  3. The European Court of Justice is decreed to be our highest court, governing the entire Agreement – Art. 4. stipulates that both citizens and resident companies can use it. Art 4.2 orders our courts to recognise this. “If the European Commission considers that the United Kingdom has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties or under Part Four of this Agreement before the end of the transition period, the European Commission may, within 4 years after the end of the transition period, bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union”. (Art. 87)
  4. The jurisdiction of the ECJ will last until eight years after the end of the transition period. (Article 158).
  5. The UK will still be bound by any future changes to EU law in which it will have no say, not to mention having to comply with current law. (Article 6(2))
  6. Any disputes under the Agreement will be decided by EU law only – one of the most dangerous provisions. (Article 168). This cuts the UK off from International Law, something we’d never do with any foreign body. Arbitration will be governed by the existing procedural rules of the EU law – this is not arbitration as we would commonly understand it (i.e. between two independent parties). (Article 174)
  7. “UNDERLINING that this Agreement is founded on an overall balance of benefits, rights and obligations for the Union and the United Kingdom” No, it should be based upon the binding legal obligations upon the EU contained within Article 50. It is wrong to suggest otherwise.
  8. The tampon tax clause: We obey EU laws on VAT, with no chance of losing the tampon tax even if we agree a better deal in December 2020 because we hereby agree to obey other EU VAT rules for **five years** after the transition period. Current EU rules prohibit 0-rated VAT on products (like tampons) that did not have such exemptions before the country joined the EU.
  9. Several problems with the EU’s definitions: “Union law” is too widely defined and “United Kingdom national” is defined by the Lisbon Treaty: we should given away our right to define our citizens. The “goods” and the term “services” we are promised the deal are not defined – or, rather, will be defined however the EU wishes them to be. Thus far, this a non-defined term so far. This agreement fails to define it.
  10. The Mandelson Pension Clause: The UK must promise never to tax former EU officials based here – such as Peter Mandelson or Neil Kinnock – on their E.U. pensions, or tax any current Brussels bureaucrats on their salaries. The EU and its employees are to be immune to our tax laws. (Article 104)
  11. Furthermore, the UK agrees not to prosecute EU employees who are, or who might be deemed in future, criminals (Art.101)
  12. The GDPR clause. The General Data Protection Regulation – the EU’s stupidest law ever? – is to be bound into UK law (Articles 71 to 73). There had been an expectation in some quarters that the UK could get out of it.
  13. The UK establishes a ‘Joint Committee’ with EU representatives to guarantee ‘the implementation and application of this Agreement’. This does not sound like a withdrawal agreement – if it was, why would it need to be subject to continued monitoring? (Article 164). This Joint Committee will have subcommittees with jurisdiction over: (a) citizens’ rights; (b) “other separation provisions”; (c) Ireland/Northern Ireland; (d) Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus; (e) Gibraltar; and (f) financial provisions. (Article 165)
  14. The Lifetime clause: the agreement will last as long as the country’s youngest baby lives. “the persons covered by this Part shall enjoy the rights provided for in the relevant Titles of this Part for their lifetime”. (Article 39).
  15. The UK is shut out of all EU networks and databases for security – yet no such provision exists to shut the EU out of ours. (Article 8)
  16. The UK will tied to EU foreign policy, “bound by the obligations stemming from the international agreements concluded by the Union” but unable to influence such decisions. (Article 124)
  17. All EU citizens must be given permanent right of residence after five years – but what counts as residence? This will be decided by the EU, rather than UK rules. (Articles 15-16)
  18. Britain is granted the power to send a civil servant to Brussels to watch them pass stupid laws which will hurt our economy. (Article 34)
  19. The UK agrees to spend taxpayers’ money telling everyone how wonderful the agreement is. (Article 37)
  20. Art 40 defines Goods. It seems to includes Services and Agriculture. We may come to discover that actually ‘goods’ means everything.
  21. Articles 40-49 practically mandate the UK’s ongoing membership of the Customs Union in all but name.
  22. The UK will be charged to receive the data/information we need in order to comply with EU law. (Article 50)
  23. The EU will continue to set rules for UK intellectual property law (Article 54 to 61)
  24. The UK will effectively be bound by a non-disclosure agreement swearing us to secrecy regarding any EU developments we have paid to be part. This is not mutual. The EU is not bound by such measures. (Article 74)
  25. The UK is bound by EU rules on procurement rules – which effectively forbids us from seeking better deals elsewhere. (Articles 75 to 78)
  26. We give up all rights to any data the EU made with our money (Art. 103)
  27. The EU decide capital projects (too broadly defined) the UK is liable for. (Art. 144)
  28. The UK is bound by EU state aid laws until future agreement – even in the event of an agreement, this must wait four years to be valid. (Article 93)
  29. Similar advantages and immunities are extended to all former MEPs and to former EU official more generally. (Articles 106-116)
  30. The UK is forbidden from revealing anything the EU told us or tells us about the finer points of deal and its operation. (Article 105).
  31. Any powers the UK parliament might have had to mitigate EU law are officially removed. (Article 128)
  32. The UK shall be liable for any “outstanding commitments” after 2022 (Article 142(2) expressly mentions pensions, which gives us an idea as to who probably negotiated this). The amount owed will be calculated by the EU. (Articles 140-142)
  33. The UK will be liable for future EU lending. As anyone familiar with the EU’s financials knows, this is not good. (Article143)
  34. The UK will remain liable for capital projects approved by the European Investment Bank. (Article 150).
  35. The UK will remain a ‘party’ (i.e. cough up money) for the European Development Fund. (Articles 152-154)
  36. And the EU continues to calculate how much money the UK should pay it. So thank goodness Brussels does not have any accountancy issues.
  37. The UK will remain bound (i.e coughing up money) to the European Union Emergency Trust Fund – which deals with irregular migration (i.e. refugees) and displaced persons heading to Europe. (Article 155)
  38. The agreement will be policed by ‘the Authority’ – a new UK-based body with ‘powers equivalent to those of the European Commission’. (Article 159)
  39. The EU admits, in Art. 184, that it is in breach of  Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which oblige it to “conclude an agreement” of the terms of UK leaving the EU. We must now, it seems, “negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship.” And if the EU does not? We settle down to this Agreement.
  40. And, of course, the UK will agree to pay £40bn to receive all of these ‘privileges’. (Article 138)

Watch this space. The deal is doomed. No Deal Brexit, AKA Brexit, is around the corner.

The #Brexit iceberg

It’s getting closer. And the panic levels are rising. Predictably Russia, bogeyman du jour, is getting credit, because all Brexiteers are subliminally (or otherwise) influenced by evil Kremlin masterminds. Whatever.

This is what passes as ‘clever’, in the Remainer echo chamber:

hatweet
*

It’s worth reading a few of the replies to see how easily this ignorant nonsense is debunked, and how switched on Brexiteers are to the rules of the game in a democracy, along with a few honest Remainers.

Then one gets Jo Johnson’s pompous and hypocritical resignation statement, gleefully ripped by Guido. What is it with these people?

It says something that a person as ordinarily lacking in insight as Diane Abbott gets it better than these hysterical twerps:

“I will say this about the second Referendum. You should be careful what you wish for. If we had a second referendum now the same people who voted leave last time, who are not largely speaking in London, would vote leave again saying: ‘Didn’t you hear us the first time?’”

Even if her motives arise from the mad-Leftie end of the Brexit spectrum, she has a point. One which Remainers are enthusiastically ignoring, in their solipsistic misery.

I was idly watching a rerun of James Cameron’s Titanic the other day, when the metaphor became obvious. The ship is the EU, Brexit the iceberg. And boy do those Remainers cling on to the bitter end.

Get off the boat while you can.