Friday 30 September 2022
Britain is a fabulously rich country with an enormous number of poor people in it. Most of them are working the longest hours in Europe, from which most of the rest are retired.
In Britain, the root of poverty is low pay, while the root of inflation is greed at the top. Both have become entrenched under all three parties.
Here at North West Durham, the Conservative MP has accepted a position that obliges him to support the Government on all matters, while Labour has not begun the process of selecting a candidate.
We need to make our own arrangements.
Hours from now, your already astronomical energy bill will reach lunatic levels while you were waiting for the abolition of the top rate of income tax, and the lifting of the cap on bankers' bonuses, to trickle down onto you. Yet the energy companies' profits are already up 411 per cent, wholesale gas is 45 per cent cheaper today than it was one month ago, and the sale of gas on the futures market has never made any difference to the decision to raise prices. Regardless of the futures market, those prices have never been lowered. Fully supported by all political parties, this is a racket. Follow the money.
I despise the IMF as much as anyone who saw what it did to Italy and Greece. And as much as anyone who knows what it did to Britain, which was under a Labour Government. Also under a Labour Government was the surrender of control of monetary policy, for which the Chancellor of the Exchequer's salary ought to have been cut in half. But this is the Conservative Party's chosen ground now, and it must survive or die on it. The far bigger long-term problem is that it is also once again the Labour Party's chosen ground.
Nothing is a conspiracy if it is done perfectly openly. The sacking of Sir Tom Scholar was the signal to short the pound, beginning while the late Queen was being laid to rest. A massively devalued pound would then make the National Health Service and other British assets vastly less expensive for American corporations to buy up, exactly as Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng and their circle had been openly advocating for years. Just like Rachel Reeves and Wes Streeting, of course, the heirs of Tony Blair, Alan Milburn and Paul Corrigan. No smoke or mirrors there. Neither a cloak nor a dagger was deployed.
Likewise, it is worth mentioning that only three or four cent of the gas used in Britain comes from Russia, such that no dependence on it is the root of our privation, but while he later deleted it, Radek Sikorski did tweet "Thank you, USA" when the Nord Stream pipelines were sabotaged. Joe Biden had already publicly promised to take them out. That is neither a conspiracy nor a theory.
Could even NATO or the EU be inept enough to admit a country vast tracts of which Russia said were in Russia, as did at least half of the people living on that land, such that a war in and over it was already underway? I have family in the Falkland Islands, which is why I have never questioned the referendum results there or in Gibraltar. Such figures are startling, but I have every reason to believe in their veracity. Why should that not apply here, too?
Luhansk, Donestsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson are heavily Russian areas that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite put into Ukraine against the will of their inhabitants. Inhabitants who have been thoroughly mistreated by the regime that was installed in Ukraine by the NATO and EU putsch of 2014. But still, if that regime has taken NATO and the EU at their word, then, with any luck, more fool it.
You know that you would not be prepared to go to war over whether Luhansk, Donestsk, Zaporizhzhia or Kherson should be in Russia or in Ukraine. Nor should you be. You know that you would not be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark over whether Luhansk, Donestsk, Zaporizhzhia or Kherson should be in Russia or in Ukraine. Nor should you be. You should not be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark at all, and while you should always be ready, you should almost never be willing to go to war.
To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.
Thursday 29 September 2022
If every supporter of Liz Truss in the House of Commons left the Conservative Party, then it would still have an overall majority. If every such supporter in the country did so, then that would do it no harm.
If late Queen had died a week earlier, or if the Conservative Leadership Election had gone on a week longer, then there is no reason to assume that the King would have honoured a private club's imposition of a Prime Minister with the support of only one thirteenth of the House of Commons. The other twelve thirteenths having been spectacularly vindicated by events, the matter now passes to that House.
Under Boris Johnson, the Conservatives were merely a standard midterm four points behind. But of course no party would ever win a General Election by 33 points. And even if Labour did win the next General Election, then it would only revert to the policies that it had last pursued in office, when in all of one year was the top rate of income tax higher than 40 pence in the pound, and to the policies that it advocated in the Coalition of years of pro-austerity and pro-war consensus between the two frontbenches, a consensus from which most Labour MPs and all Labour staffers have never deviated.
We know what the consequences of those policies would be. Neither the war in Ukraine, nor anything to do with Covid-19, was the reason why there were found to be 14 million poor people in Britain in 2018, more than one in five of the population, although even when discussing that finding no media outlet was able to find a poor person to speak. Those phenomena, both the mass poverty itself and the silencing of the poor, were many years old even then. But now that their causes are affecting the lives of people who are not supposed to be poor, and who are therefore allowed a voice, then there is a "Cost of Living Crisis".
To be blamed on the war in Ukraine, just as anyone who questions anything is now accused of being a stooge of Russia. Even if that were true, which it is not, then you know perfectly well that you would not and should not be willing to starve or freeze to death in the dark for the sake of whether Luhansk, Donestsk, Zaporizhzhia or Kherson should be in Russia or in Ukraine, never mind in Vladimir Putin's Russia or in the Azov Battalion's Ukraine, with its ruthless suppression of free media, of trade unions, and of opposition parties.
The voting figures are eyebrow-raising, although no one has a problem with them in Gibraltar or in the Falkland Islands, and they would be impossible to stage unless there were a healthy majority in any case. The largely Ukrainian Soviet elite put the areas that have just voted into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible. That happened at the same time as the creation of Northern Ireland, but at least that enjoyed the support of the majority of its population. In the way that Orangemen would not like Great Britain if they moved here, the Russian Federation will find it difficult to assimilate the economically and culturally Soviet lands of Novorossiya. As also of Transnistria, if it ever came to that. But here we are.
Are you prepared to go hungry in the cold for any of this? Of course you are not. Nor should you be. You should not be prepared to go hungry in the cold at all. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.
Wednesday 28 September 2022
Echoing the suggestion that the Russians were shelling themselves inside Europe's largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, you either believe that Russia sabotaged the two Nord Stream pipelines, which it could just have turned off, or you do not.
That division will be definitive for decades to come, as we are all expected to bear any burden and pay any price rather than be conquered by a Russian Army that had no Non-Commissioned Officers, the intermediate tier without which no organisation can function, and which could not even subdue Ukraine.
The Bank of England is the British State as much as the Treasury is, and buying your own gilts is like buying your own raffle tickets, it does not bode well for the cause in which the raffle is being held.
Buying an unlimited number of your own gilts is like buying all of your own raffle tickets. How good can the prize possibly be?
Tuesday 27 September 2022
As I predicted yesterday, here comes the IMF. Even that monstrosity will not see the G7 economy with the City of London in it fall into the hands of a bizarre cult on the votes of 0.12 per cent of its population, including a mere one in 13 of its elected national parliamentarians.
Extreme poverty is this country is not a new phenomenon, and its cause is not indolence. Even HMRC, which is of course the State itself, admits that 50 per cent of workers in Britain have gross annual incomes of less than £20,000.
The driver of poverty here is low pay, just as the drivers of inflation are huge dividend payments, almost never to pension schemes before anybody tried that one, and colossal self-remuneration at the top. Fruitless even in their own terms, the sanctions against Russia are making matters a lot worse, but nothing to do with the war in Ukraine is the root cause of any of this.
Yet the income tax personal allowance has not been raised from £12,570 in line with inflation. In real terms, it has been cut by at least £250 even only at the present rate of inflation. In real terms, even the three in five adults who managed to reach that giddy threshold of just over one thousand pounds per month have been docked a minimum of just over 20 quid each time.
No party wins a General Election by 17 points, and no party that expects to win outright advocates Proportional Representation, which in any case is merely the generic term for all electoral systems that are not First Past the Post. No explicit commitment to change the electoral system for the House of Commons will appear in the Labour manifesto at the next General Election.
I am uncharacteristically agnostic when it comes to PR. Like republicans, its proponents assert that it would lead to things that they cannot know would happen. Like monarchists, its opponents extol First Past the Post as the bulwark against everything that they spent the rest of their time bemoaning, so not much of a bulwark there. Therefore, as with the monarchy, whatever the imperfections of the present arrangements, the case for change has not been made.
Keir Starmer's promise of no deal with the SNP is not news. No Leader of either main party would ever have done a deal with the SNP. Any such Leader would, if necessary, have done a deal with the other main party rather than with the SNP. Yes, including that Leader.
But the Labour membership knows that there is going to be a hung Parliament, and therefore wants PR. The Labour Leadership feels the need to rule out a deal with the SNP, meaning that it is also aware. The Conservative membership is aware, although it will not say anything. In fact, it would be glad of anything as good as a hung Parliament. Only Liz Truss and her circle, so to speak, are so deluded as to expect anything better, and they might not be there very much longer.
To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament, which is going to require far fewer MPs than the SNP was likely to have returned. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.
Rupa Huq was an Owen Smith supporter who went on to nominate Keir Starmer for Leader. This is the Labour Right, ask anyone who has ever dealt with it. Its control of the BBC and Channel 4 is so complete, while ITV has given up on serious documentaries almost completely, that it has fallen to Al Jazeera to dare to criticise it.
If The Labour Files had been a Panorama or a Dispatches, or a World in Action back in the day, then Starmer would have resigned today, and even in the present economic meltdown Labour would be no more than tied with the Conservatives in the polls. A Starmer Government is being engineered before our very eyes. Ask yourself why.
Was there not already a huge story this week about the people who were now running the Labour Party? With a heavy racial element? Ask around. One of the people named in the Forde Report has been calling me a "Mulatto" for nearly 20 years, since he was on the staff of Tony Blair's Chief Whip, who was my MP. The right wing of the Labour Party is the nastiest faction in British politics by a country mile.
Within that, though, Rupa Huq may be feeling her way towards the realisation that it is class that matters. Kwasi Kwarteng really is a prime example of that. Then again, so is she. He will not, but David Lammy should make this a "She goes or I go" moment, "She loses the whip, or I resign." Jeremy Corbyn should add that he would not want to take the whip with someone like that. Let's see Keir Starmer get out of that one.
In fact, if this is not bringing the party into disrepute, then what is? Expel her. People have been expelled from the Labour Party for far less. And would the Constituency Labour Party at Ealing Central and Acton be prepared to readopt this person as its parliamentary candidate?
Labour has pretty much monopolised the Afro-Caribbean vote, which of course is not Kwarteng's background, but it has done very little to bring on members of that community, especially men. They have noticed. The Red Wall has fallen, and the Black Wall will be next, if only to mass abstention in the first instance. In any case, the Red Wall and the Black Wall are no longer two different places, if they ever were.
Monday 26 September 2022
Of course the money markets are having none of this rubbish from the deranged "Mini-Budget". On the votes of practically no one, we are now governed by people who no more represent the interest for which they claim to speak than does a Far Left groupuscule or a Far Right gang. Like either of those, it is a case of, "They'll thank us when we've won."
Liz Truss failed at Shell, and she was then unemployed for several years before a sinecure at a think tank enabled her to sleep her way into Parliament. Considering how much journalism, academia and politics he managed to fit in, then Kwasi Kwarteng cannot have been doing very much at all at JPMorgan Chase, or at WestLB, or at what now turns out to be the practically treasonable Odey Asset Management. He is not the type to have taken a pay cut in order to become an MP, so at 35 he must have made no discernible progress in the City.
One of the things about Singapore-on-Thames types is that unlike, say, us Lexit types here along the Red Wall, their views bear little or no resemblance to those of their neighbours or even their constituents beyond the advanced social liberalism of the Thatcherite, Remainer heartlands, where they may be still snorting and swapping like the Eighties never ended, but where, in that same spirit, they will never give up on the dream of rejoining the Customs Union and the Iron Lady's Single Market.
Whatever the official story might have been, the City and the Home Counties between them brought down Boris Johnson over Brexit, as they had been determined to do ever since the Proroguement Crisis. But Conservative MPs failed to do what they had been supposed to do and crown Rishi Sunak. Instead, the funny old couples on every Millionaires' Row were able to inflict Truss, Kwarteng, and the rest of this jaw-dropping Cabinet. As a result, a mere two weeks in, Britain is broadly in the territory of an IMF bailout. Another coup is coming.
Oh, well, there goes Islington North for the Labour Party. Who, precisely, is it going to field there who might conceivably defeat Jeremy Corbyn? Even if he did not stand, then Labour would still lose the seat to whoever, because of its treatment of him. He is also the only candidate, including Sadiq Khan, who would be guaranteed to beat Boris Johnson for Mayor of London.
What a congress of the living dead is the Labour Party Conference, at least in the hall. As the Fringe long ago became the point of the Edinburgh Festival, so The World Transformed is now the only reason why the Conference itself is still held. Anyone turning up to the official event just has a weird hobby. Attending these things is expensive, and Labour Party membership itself is not cheap. These are people who have taken annual paid leave from good jobs, or who have given a week of their comfortable retirements, for what, exactly? What does being active on the Labour Right bring anyone anymore?
That faction used to be unique in that, by almost or almost always controlling the great majority of the most populous municipalities in England and Wales, plus the Welsh Parliament, it had an independent fiscal base, and that was putting matters politely.
It controlled Council Tax, business rates, pension schemes looking to invest, sweeteners and backhanders from property developers and others, the allocation of jobs with the council, the allocation of better council housing, and the allocation of any council housing. But under Keir Starmer, the local election results have been catastrophic for Labour. Citadels have fallen as if under nuclear attack. So why is anyone still bothering to be a right-wing Labourite?
As for idea that Starmer might renationalise the railways, or that he and, of all people, Rachel Reeves might restore the 45p tax band, no one is stupid enough to fall for that. Louise Haigh is said to have fought hard for the rail policy. Keep saying that until it quite sinks in. To make rail renationalisation the policy of the Labour Party, then she had to fight hard. As much as anything else, against whom, specifically? We could all have a very good guess. But let's have some names.
To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.
The cause of the canonisation of Henry VI would appear to have remained open. And Elizabeth II will be added to the liturgical calendar of the Church of England in short order, the only Supreme Governor other than Charles I to have attained that distinction.
Thus will be canonised everything that had received Royal Assent between 1952 and 2022. Well, of course. Simply being the law of England, on anything, makes something the doctrine of the Church of England at the given time, "the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law", which in turns makes it, in terms of the Coronation Oath, "the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel."
The theological repugnance of this has always been the standard Protestant position. Martin Luther and William Tyndale supported Catherine of Aragon. Again, of course they did. The hardcore Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey wanted to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession, since while Mary was a Catholic, it was Elizabeth who was a bastard.
From the 1660s at the latest, there have always been at least as many English Protestants outside the Church of England as in it. Successive Protestant consorts maintained private chapels, staffed from back home, rather than join the Church of England. Protestant state churches abroad have always been a bit wary of it. And so on. Whatever else may be said of it, it springs from a tainted source.
As everyone has always known. However badly Peter Hitchens may want the Ladybird Guides of his childhood to have been the last word, they simply are not. Nor were they then, when the facts of Henry VIII's first divorce were universally taught and known, as they always have been. The conduct of the Church of England in relation to the present King's present marriage and in relation to his second son's only marriage makes it perfectly clear that it knows exactly what it is and what it is for. Everyone always has.
For the benefit of a member of the Royal Family, there will be a same-sex Royal Wedding conducted by an Archbishop of Canterbury within 10 years, and no one will bat an eyelid. As the law of England, same-sex marriage is already the doctrine of the Church of England at the given time, "the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law", which in turns makes it, in terms of the Coronation Oath, "the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel."
As with, for example, the Abortion Act 1967, or the Divorce Reform Act 1969, or the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, or the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, any doubt about that will be dispelled definitively when the name of Elizabeth II was added to the Church of England's liturgical calendar.
Giorgia Meloni is going to become Prime Minister with an awful lot more votes than Liz Truss did. She is going to succeed Mario Draghi because the liberal bourgeoisie always keeps Fascism in reserve for when it might ever face any serious demand to share its economic or social power with anyone who did not have it before the rise of the bourgeois liberal order, or to share its cultural or political power with anyone at all.
In my day, and no doubt still, A-level History students used to have to unlearn the GCSE fiction that Nazism had been a working-class phenomenon. Nor is Fascism a product of traditional conservatism, whatever alliances it may forge, or whatever symbolism it may adopt. Rather, it came as no surprise when Emmanuel Macron's supporters gave two of the six Vice-Presidencies of the National Assembly to Marine Le Pen's.
Consider the growing authoritarianism of Justin Trudeau's Canada. Consider the tendencies of Truss and of Joe Biden. Consider the records of Kamala Harris and of Keir Starmer. Such is the Franco-American republican tradition that arose from the international transmission of English Whiggery through the Masonic Lodges.
Meloni wants to leave the Belt and Road Initiative because, like Truss and Biden, she supports the Taiwanese independence that is not the position of Taiwan, and which is a surefire sign of knowing absolutely nothing about the subject.
Like them, she is also extremely supportive of Volodymyr Zelensky, as well she might be, considering his dependence on Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, and all the rest of them. To side with him is to side with them and to side with her. And so on, in a circle.
Speaking of circles, it is a matter of constitutional significance that the Prime Minister may be a collared sub, with all the obligations under which that would place her. The question needs to be asked on the floor of the House of Commons.
Truss and Meloni are of course also close allies of Narendra Modi, with Truss's party having actively cultivated Hindutva supporters, to considerable electoral benefit. There is now a stated policy of importing as many of them as possible in order to shore up the Conservatives' electoral base, but Starmer is vying to outdo that.
The Right cannot claim to have no side in the communal battles between Hindus and Muslims, battles that never used to be fought in Britain. One side overwhelmingly votes Conservative, while the Labour Party now desperately wants that same side to vote Labour instead. Having imported both the Hindutva of their beloved Modi, and the Wahhabism of their beloved Saudi Arabia, the Conservatives and the Labour Right are on both sides, although they do strongly prefer Hindus to Muslims when the Muslims are South Asian.
Keep saying that both Truss and Starmer want to import Hindutva supporters, as such, both to vote for their parties and to keep those parties ideologically sound. For their numbers, high caste Hindus with links to the BJP and the RSS, the organisations behind the riots in the Midlands, have already had staggering success in attaining Cabinet rank in Britain. Watch out for the same sort of thing in Italy.
Sunday 25 September 2022
BNP rallies used to look like this. I am not joking, they really did. If you had seen this 10 years ago, then you would have assumed that that was what it was.
Of course Jeremy Corbyn is quite right that it is "very, very odd" to sing the National Anthem at the Labour or any other Party Conference, including those at which it might have happened in the past. As he says, "It's never ever happened at the Labour Conference since the Conferences were first held at the time of the First World War. I find it peculiar and not really necessary.
"There's never been any demand to do it. We don't as a country routinely go around singing the National Anthem at every single event we go to. We don't sing it in schools, we don't have the raising of the flag in schools as they do in the USA and other places."
Will the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail be endorsing the Labour Party because of this? What is the point or purpose of it? Who is it for?
The National Anthem should be sung or played only when the King was present or properly might have been. The Conference of a political party is the textbook definition of an event at which the King's presence would be improper. Unfortunately, it would probably also be so for him to tell them to stop doing it when they already did. But they should. And perhaps, so should he.
Peter Hitchens writes:
What is Britain’s interest in Ukraine? Why are we shovelling weapons and equipment into that country, despite the fact that our national budget is stretched to bursting and our own armed forces have for many years been starved of money, men and kit?
If we were a proper open society, surely this question would be asked all the time. But it is not. So I am asking it now, as the Ukraine war threatens to ignite the whole of Europe and has already brought us closer to actual nuclear warfare than we have ever been.
I ask as a British patriot, whose main concern, above all things, is the ‘safety, honour and welfare of this realm’, as the old Articles of War say. I would not shirk a necessary fight, or desert an ally. But why are we stoking this war instead of trying to bring about peace?
This would once have been a perfectly normal British view. Margaret Thatcher was far from keen on Ukrainian nationalism. On June 9 1990, Mrs Thatcher, still then in power, spoke to what was then the Ukrainian provincial assembly in Kiev.
She briskly batted away a question about opening a British embassy in that city. This, she explained, was as likely as Britain opening an embassy in California or Quebec. ‘I can see you are trying to get me involved in your politics!’ she scolded her questioner, adding:
‘Embassies are only for countries which have full national status. Therefore, we have ambassadorial diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, with the United States, with Canada, with Australia. We do not have embassies for California, for Quebec, for states in Australia.’
Once upon a time, the Americans, likewise, would have stayed out of it. On August 1 1991, President George H W Bush delivered an oration which would later become known derisively among American hawks as ‘The Chicken Kiev Speech’.
Bush was not keen on an independent Ukraine. He told what was still Ukraine’s Soviet puppet parliament, ‘I come here to tell you: We support the struggle in this great country for democracy and economic reform. In Moscow, I outlined our approach. We will support those in the centre and the republics who pursue freedom, democracy and economic liberty.’
But when he used the phrase ‘this great country’, he was talking about the Soviet Union, not Ukraine. He expected and wanted the USSR to continue to exist. During his visit he had refused to meet campaigners for Ukrainian independence.
After praising the reforms of the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he warned against independence if it only changed a distant despot for a local one, suggesting that this was the outcome he feared. What the Western democracies had wanted was a reformed, free version of the old Soviet Union.
They had never expected or calculated on an explosion of nationalism in the region and did not much like the look of it. It was only after the USSR fell to pieces in 1991 that the unthinkable became the unstoppable. But some people in American politics wanted to push further. They feared that Russia would one day rise again and challenge American power.
Paul Wolfowitz, also one of the authors of the Iraq disaster, set out a policy of diminishing and humiliating Russia back in 1992, long before anyone had ever heard of Vladimir Putin. While it found supporters in the Pentagon and elsewhere, many others, from the brilliant veteran Cold War diplomat George Kennan to the ultimate master of cynical diplomacy Henry Kissinger, opposed the resulting policy of Nato expansion. Kennan prophetically said in 1998, when Putin was an obscure politician, that ‘I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War.’
He warned: ‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake.’ He said it was an insult to Russia’s then fledgling democrats, arguing: ‘We are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.’
And so it was. Prominent Russian liberals, such as Yegor Gaidar, begged influential Western friends to challenge the Nato expansion policy. But there is a lot of money in the making of weapons, and a lot of fame to be won in pursuing warlike policies, and so it went ahead, gathering speed and strengthening Russian nationalists and antidemocrats as it did so.
Then in 2008 George W Bush, a pathetic parody of his war veteran father, suggested Ukrainian Nato membership. That was probably the moment at which conflict became inevitable. The prominent American neoconservative Robert Kagan has put the matter well: ‘While it would be obscene to blame the US for Putin’s inhumane attack on Ukraine, to insist that the invasion was entirely unprovoked is misleading.’
The point of all this is that the current policy, of militant and indeed military support for Ukraine, is a very old one, and a very controversial one. There is a serious case against it, made by serious patriotic people in the West. Yet it is seldom heard.
Nearly as important, there simply is no direct British interest here, though the fact is never discussed. We have very little in the way of trade, political or cultural links with Ukraine. Or with Russia, for that matter. We have no territorial conflict with Russia.
Not since the long-ago Crimean War, now recognised by most people as a futile folly which achieved nothing, have British armed forces been active in that region. As long as the war was a distant battle, this perhaps did not matter so much. But even before the Putin invasion those, like me, who opposed goading Russia were defamed as ‘Putin apologists’ (I have for years referred to him as a sinister tyrant) and falsely accused of ‘parroting Russian propaganda’.
Aren’t we supposed to live in a free democracy in which both sides of a question can be discussed, without one side being accused of treachery? Surely it is Putin who regards dissent as treason? Once Putin had invaded, I was constantly accused of ‘justifying’ the action, even though I clearly, and without hesitation, condemned the invasion as barbaric, lawless and stupid, and have never deviated from this view.
Yet not a day goes by without someone smearing me as a traitor of some sort. Actually, anyone who has Russia’s best interests at heart is grinding his teeth in fury at Putin’s idiotic crime, which has done limitless damage to the peace and security of that country for decades to come and perhaps forever. And now it has brought us closer to nuclear war than ever before.
Surely that development – and it would be extreme folly to dismiss Putin’s words as bluff – compels us all to be more thoughtful, not less. I would just like to make a plea for us as a people and a nation to start discussing this in a grown-up fashion, rather than by assuming the present policy is the only right or patriotic one. Perhaps it isn’t. In which case it has never been more important to approach the subject with an open mind.
Saturday 24 September 2022
Kwasi Kwarteng was coked off his face at the late Queen's funeral, and no one voted for the madness of this Budget, or so few people as to amount to the same thing.
Everyone else is expected to wait for money to trickle down from tax cuts and what have you that will not even kick in until after the already exorbitant energy bills had reached lunatic levels next week. In the meantime, there is to be further kicking of Universal Credit claimants, two in five of whom have jobs. Apparently, they need better-paid jobs. They already knew that.
Kwarteng and Liz Truss have waited 35 years for this. Truss has never been left-wing. Her speech against the monarchy as a youthful Liberal Democrat was Thatcherite to the core. She now leads a party that would behead the King if that were the only way of implementing economic measures such as Kwarteng has just announced.
Or, at least, that is the Conservative Party in the country, in large enough numbers to secure her the Leadership, although she won that by a lot less than had been expected. Even in the final round, only 50 MPs voted for her. If those for seats that were won in 2019, the ones on whom the party depended for its majority, had any sense, even only of self-preservation, then they would have nothing to do with any of this, and would bring about another change of Leader early next year, procedurally avoiding the party membership as was done in 2016.
After all, the loss of those seats would install in government the faction that Al Jazeera's The Labour Files has exposed as everything that some of us had always known it to be. Those people, including at least one of the same individuals, stitched me up in order to send me to prison, where, having already tried to murder me many years earlier, they put a hit on me, but the hitman took such a liking to me that he gave them their money back. That series ought to be the end of the Labour Right, and thus of the Labour Party, which fundamentally and ultimately has always been the Right, and the Right has always been like that.
As it is, that defeat is going to have to be electoral. But the likes of Truss and Kwarteng neither could nor should deliver it. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party of the The Labour Files is not. Even compared to Truss and Kwarteng, Keir Starmer and his circle are still the greater evil.
Friday 23 September 2022
If the referendums are “shams” in parts of Ukraine that it would in fact be difficult for today’s Russian Federation to assimilate in economic or cultural terms, then what about the one in Kosovo?
We may hope for a neutral and denazified Ukraine, eight years after NATO and the EU backed a Nazi putsch against an elected neutralist government. But we should consider how many of those claiming asylum in Britain were from the NATO protectorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, and how very many, ostensibly from the NATO member state and EU candidate country of Albania, were in fact from the NATO protectorate of Kosovo, which is also the major source of the heroin, prostitutes, and illegal guns on our streets.
If it were also a NATO protectorate, then Ukraine, which is already a global centre of the traffic in women, and not unconnectedly of commercial surrogacy, would be like that, only with 20 times more people and 55 times more territory. It is already a candidate for EU membership. Thank heavens that Britain is not.
Russia cannot even subdue Ukraine, much less conquer the whole of Europe. The internal boundaries of the Soviet Union were never designed to be international borders, indeed they were specifically designed to make impossible independence in those forms, and they were never going to last more than one generation as frontiers.
People wanting a homeland for ethnic Ukrainians would therefore be better off without the south and east of the former Ukrainian SSR, while nothing could be less attractive to Russia than the west of it. Accordingly, Russia has never stated any war aim of taking, much less holding, the whole of Ukraine. Crimea is not part of the Ukraine at all. In Galicia, it is Poland that may press a claim to the region centred on one of its principal historical cities, just as it is Hungary that has a thousand-year claim to Carpathian Ruthenia.
The sanctions regime is having no negative impact on Russia. It is pure self-harm. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling inflation, but that currency is able to purchase only the resources available.
Perhaps everyone who was suffering from the cost of living crisis should move to Ukraine, where the British Government would have no difficulty spending limitless amounts of money on us, with no questions asked, and with Opposition parties demanding only even more of the same? Yet there is no British strategic interest in any of this. We should recognise reality, and get down to freeing up the food and fuel supplies again, while we devoted ourselves to the long-term pursuit of energy independence and of greater self-sufficiency in food, the former a great deal easier than the latter.
Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today’s Russian Federation.
No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.
All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms. An enthusiast for it is the worst possible candidate to be Prime Minister. Yet we have a Prime Minister who, as Foreign Secretary, criminally encouraged British citizens to go and fight in Ukraine.
Thankfully, there is a world elsewhere. Neither Argentina nor Brazil signed the World Trade Organisation statement on Ukraine. This Latin American Pope’s nuanced approach is an important example of how this war is usefully compelling us to face the fact of a real world beyond “the international community”.
On 2nd March, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote. On 7th April, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote, and the number of countries voting with Russia had increased sixfold, from four to 23.
This is the world of the recently inaugurated BRICS+ Dialogue with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. If we would not have picked some of those partners, then it is very telling that they have accepted the invitation.
This is the world in which China, India and Russia are trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has added yuan to its reserves, in which China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands of which the late Queen was Head of State and thus technically a signatory to that pact, in which Russian Embassies in Africa are having to thank local men for their goodwill but ask them not to travel to Russia to join up in such numbers, and in which Vietnam has announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned.
They are weakening because pompously saying that “we must be prepared to pay the price” is an unerring sign of someone who would never have to do any such thing, but sanctions against Russia have been imposed only by North America, by Australia and New Zealand, by the American military colonies of Japan and South Korea, and by Europe, although obviously not by Europe’s largest country, the capital of which is Europe’s largest city.
77 per cent of Russia’s population lives in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As a major entrepôt to the vast world of emerging Eurasia and to the world of alliances beyond even that, it offers a potentially glittering future to Mariupol and Avozstal. There may also be such for Kherson. Part of the same pattern is the expansion of cryptocurrencies in Africa and Latin America, unwelcome though that is in itself.
From Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond, people remember who stood with them in the liberation struggle, and they remember from whom they were liberated. The same tiresome types who pretend to believe that NATO was founded as an expression of social democracy also pretend to believe that it was and is some sort of liberation movement, but the world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up. Increasingly, it is not. All this, and the Belt and Road Initiative carries all before it. Like it or not, that is the reality. We need to be at the table, or we shall be on the menu. We need to be on the bus, or we shall be under it.
Thursday 22 September 2022
Those demonstrations in Russia and Iran would be illegal in Britain. So much for any libertarian Conservatives. Most people in Russia have never heard of Alexei Navalny, but he tweets from prison, and he has just treated his adoring Western fans to a video. Imagine Julian Assange releasing a video from Belmarsh. No, neither can I.
Vladimir Putin understands that if there is not a strong enough case for conscription, then there is not a strong enough case for the war in question. If a country is not under such threat that it needs to mobilise its entire healthy and able-bodied male population of fighting age, then it is not under enough of a threat to justify going to war at all.
If much of the healthy and able-bodied male population of fighting age cannot see that threat, then perhaps it is not really there, as there was obviously never any Vietnamese threat to the United States or any Iraqi threat to Britain, although that may not be the view of many Russian young men if Ukrainian troops entered Russia.
The war in Ukraine ends one way, or it does not end at all. Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea goes back to Russia, as firmly understood by the former Special Assistant to President Reagan, while the parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine becomes constitutionally neutral, with all of this requiring the denazification that no one any longer disputed was necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently.
Short of that, then there might be a lull of years or, although this would now be wildly improbable, decades, but that would be all that it ever was. Yet there would be, as there is, no reason for us to take any more interest in that than in any other humanitarian emergency. No less so. But no more so, either.
Even the argument that "they look like us" has been blown out of the water by the appointment of a Cabinet that has been designed to beat the other side in a battle that it is not fighting, while sticking the Prime Minister's two fingers up to the people who had elected her because they had thought that the British ought to be running India rather than an Indian running Britain. Ukrainians do not look like James Cleverly.
Do not demean yourself by pretending that you would be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark over which country Kupiansk, Izyum or Balaklyia ought to be in. Nor should you be.
More bad news for the McCanns. Well, up to a point. Did they have their other two children taken away from them?
Those twins were two when their parents left them with their not quite four-year-old sister in a foreign country and went out on the town.
People without the McCanns' advantages lose their children for far less.
How the world turns, when a BBC announcer can say to the audience, "You may remember Northern Ireland." Time was when today's news from there, that it now contained more Catholics than Protestants, would have been the only news. But in 2022, it came 45 minutes into an hour-long bulletin, followed by an explanation that it did not really change anything, anyway.
Gerry Adams once said that trying to outbreed Unionists was fun if you had the stamina, but it was not a political strategy. Sinn Féin now advocates an all-Ireland National Health Service. It knows what it needs if its own people are ever going to vote for a real, live 32 County Republic when that was the only question on the ballot paper.
The invitation to Sadhvi Ritambhara to tour Britain has caused violence to break out between Hindu and Muslim communities that had previously lived peaceably side by side. Immense damage is being done by the importation of Wahhabism, which is not South Asian at all, but which is sponsored by the Saudi overlords of the Conservative Party and of the Labour Right. No less damage is being done by the importation of the ideology of their beloved Narendra Modi.
Ritambhara is at least as hostile to Christians as she is to Muslims, and she is very hostile to Muslims. Hindutva types are always like that. I know them of old. Ritambhara ought to be banned from entering this country, as should several other such figures with whom Conservative and right-wing Labour politicians consort, such as Tapan Ghosh.
Instead, though, the Conservatives have regained and then retained at least three marginal seats by means of Operation Dharmic Vote, which promised to repeal the ban on caste discrimination. That promise has been made good. Having been illegal for a time, caste discrimination is once again perfectly legal in the United Kingdom.
Not to be outdone, Keir Starmer keeps the same company. Even the last Labour Government banned discrimination on grounds of caste, but any future Labour Government would not do so. Starmer has also unilaterally abandoned Labour's consistently unanimous Conference policy of self-determination for Kashmir, and now supports the Indian claim instead, which will cost the party a million previously highly reliable votes. All that, and now this, too.
Ritambhara and Ghosh are inciters of the violence that they have now brought to these shores, or even direct participants in it. A South Asian Muslim who was that objectionable, although not a Saudi one, would rightly be excluded as not conducive to the public good. Do not vote either Conservative or Labour. Make our own arrangements.
Wednesday 21 September 2022
Today is Saint Matthew's Day. Consider that that erstwhile tax-collector is the Patron Saint of Bankers.
Consider also that that strange and increasingly unfashionable thing, Biblical criticism, purports to read the Bible "as if it were any other ancient text", yet in fact subjects it to a series of methods that would be laughed out in any other literary or historical discipline. Those methods are carefully constructed to "prove" the presuppositions of that strange and increasingly unfashionable thing, liberal theology.
Thus, if two Biblical books are word for word alike, as Matthew, Mark and Luke certainly are in parts, then they must have been copied from each other, since there is no way that God could have inspired them all and, funnily enough, done so in such a way that they confirmed each others' accounts.
Hence the theory of Markan Priority, that Saint Mark's Gospel was the first to be written, and that Saint Matthew and Saint Luke copied out great chunks of it word for word. And hence the theory of Q, the compendium of the material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark; no copy of Q exists anywhere.
Jesus simply did not claim divinity for Himself, so that rules out John at a stroke. Miracles simply do not happen, a position not even compatible with agnosticism. Style simply does not develop (seriously), so Saint Paul cannot have written several of the Epistles beginning with the words, "From Paul". And so on, and on, and on.
Perhaps a gentle fillip from the wider culture might be in order? Although they differ in length, the different structures of the Gospels mean that they could each be dramatised in 12 episodes of one hour apiece, perhaps running from January to March, i.e., more or less from Christmas to Easter. The order ought to be as in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – exactly as if any other ancient text were the subject.
That might even provide an opportunity to do some taking apart of the ridiculous theories of Markan Priority, of the interpolation of Mark 16, of "the Gospel of Thomas" and other such Dan Brown drivel, and of the historical unreliability of Saint John's Gospel on the grounds that Jesus "never claimed to be divine", the "proof" of which is held to be the historical unreliability of Saint John's Gospel.
All of these pieces of nonsense continue to be peddled by half-formed schoolteachers, and by clergy too old to have been part of the traditionalist revival among Catholics or the Evangelical revival among Protestants. Markan Priority was disproved a very long time ago by Saint Augustine, whose Wikipedia pages in Portuguese and Slovene are significant source of traffic to this site, as is the page on U and non-U English. Make of those facts what you will.
Acts could also be dramatised in this way, and it has some great stories in it. But it looks as if they would do the Ramayana first, and stick to the text if they did. That is not treating the Bible as a work of world literature, which is what they would claim that it was, and which, among other things, it is.
Why not dramatise the Ramayana, exactly as it is? Why not dramatise the Odyssey, exactly as it is? And why not dramatise the Four Canonical Gospels and Acts, exactly as they are? Of what are the television companies afraid? Of what, in practice even though not in principle, would anyone be afraid?
Sunday 18 September 2022
The Queue rightly enjoys provisions such as are wrongly but routinely denied to the rough sleepers on the same streets. Remember the successful action against rough sleeping during the recent pandemic. All that had ever been lacking had been the political will. Including during 13 years of a Labour Government.
That Labour had promised to end rough sleeping was one of the many grounds on which Jeremy Corbyn was laughed out at the last General Election by the people who are now running both parties. But hope is at hand. We now have a King of the House of Oldenburg, linking us to what Clement Attlee recognised as the exemplary social democratic monarchies of Scandinavia.
The House of Oldenburg has reigned in Sweden in its time, and it reigns in Denmark and Norway to this day. It has also provided Kings of Iceland, Kings of the Hellenes, and Emperors of Russia, but until the eighth of this month it had been pared back to its Danish and Norwegian roots. Then it acquired 15 new Realms, from Saint Lucia to the Solomon Islands, plus an array of Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories, associated states, and so on.
It has only taken that House 308 years. None of the children of Queen Anne and of Prince George of Denmark survived, so the Throne passed to the House of Hanover. That was largely due to arrangements made by the Spencers, entwining the two dynasties for centuries until they went too far and intermarried. If you thought that the presence of Sarah, Duchess of York in Westminster Abbey tomorrow was going to be awkward, then consider that as the late Queen's godson, Earl Spencer is also expected to attend.
Until recent days, Spencerism was a kind of Whig Jacobitism, demanding that the Succession skip a generation and alight on the sometime Princess Diana's elder son precisely as such. But the Succession has happened seamlessly, because that is what it does. By the way, like Sarah Ferguson, both of Charles III's wives have been descended from the numerous illegitimate children of Charles II. In fact, although there are others in the mix, they have all been descended from the same one, Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond. William V will be the first monarch descended from Charles II, who left no legitimate heir when he died in 1685.
Others, however, have no shortage of legitimate heirs. Although one of them is too young to know, and the other no doubt considers it an honour to two beloved grandparents, there are two patrilineal descendants of Elimar I, Princes of the ancient and illustrious House of Oldenburg, who bear instead the double whammy of "Mountbatten-Windsor", as will their respective sisters until marriage.
Bringing us to John Wheatley's axiom that he there would be "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King". Attlee echoed George Lansbury that our people were impoverished by capitalism, not by the King, and most members of the House of Windsor, rather than of the House of Oldenburg, do seem to be functioning members of the British capitalist class. But that class has millions of members, and it would provide any President of Britain if such an office were confected this side of radical economic change.
That was why Corbyn described republicanism as "not on my agenda". He had far more pressing things to do, as he still does. 9th September was a Day of National Mourning in Cuba. Yes, Cuba. But the substitution of a bourgeois President for a bourgeois Queen was exactly what Liz Truss and Keir Starmer did want into the recent past, and it is logically what they must still want. Friday's fiscal event will be a very long way from Denmark or Norway, and any Official Opposition to it will be notional at best.
Still, any republican moment that they might ever have had has gone. The late Queen was not Elizabeth the Last, meaning that professional anti-monarchists need to find other things to do. As do professional anti-republicans, since there has turned out to have been no threat to the monarchy after all. They might turn their attention to everything that they bemoaned had gone to decay, when they were not extolling the monarchy as the institution that safeguarded it.
Instead, though, they are likely to cheer on the economic programme that had always been fundamental to that decay. Tax cuts that were of no benefit whatever to the two in five adults whose gross incomes from all sources did not reach one thousand pounds per month. Vicious capping of workers' wages while the cap on bankers' bonuses was lifted. You know the sort of thing. The New York Times may be wrong about porridge and boiled mutton, and it may dislike Britain for the wrong reason of having betrayed liberal globalism (if only), but it has this country's number, and if Fleet Street grandees cannot see it, then that tells you the narrow circles in which they move.
Who is calling for further deregulation of the City? The City itself does compliance. It has it all factored in. It may well cost more to change things than to leave them alone. It often does, doesn't it? But if the pressure really is coming from Shell, where Truss failed, or from JPMorgan Chase, where Kwasi Kwarteng must have been decidedly part-time in between the journalism, the academia and the politics, then it is no doubt in terms of attracting and retaining globally mobile talent. In that case, then New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Singapore, San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo, Shenzhen and Paris must be awash with English public schoolboys. Are they? I only ask.
Among those in London are no doubt a smattering of the descendants of fairly recent monarchs. But from that same social stratum would be drawn any President of Britain in anything like this country's present economic form. Instead, tomorrow will be a proper, 1952-style Bank Holiday, with everything closed. Play our cards right, and we could be back to half-days on Wednesdays before the other side even realised that we were playing. The resources for the radical restoration are readily at hand. My church will be having a Low Mass of Requiem at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and Lanchester Methodist Church will be livestreaming the funeral itself. This village is entirely typical.
From the heirs of Saint John Fisher and of Saint Thomas More, to the heirs of Martin Luther's and William Tyndale's support for Catherine of Aragon against Henry VIII, of the staunch Protestants who wished to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession in favour of Lady Jane Grey, and of those who lost a Civil War for the sake of a thoroughgoing Protestantism but who have accounted for at least half of England's Protestant churchgoers ever since, we know that if we were going to end rough sleeping, then there would be "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King".
Rather, we now have a monarch who, with all of his successors, binds us dynastically to the countries where Attlee observed "the greatest progress towards democratic socialism". Therefore, God Save The King.
Fair play to the late Queen's grandchildren, and especially to Lady Louise and to Viscount Severn, who are teenagers. Indeed, of the eight, four have jobs, one is a fresher who was on minimum wage at a garden centre over the summer, and one is a schoolboy. I mean, I am not suggesting that they are Breadline Britain. But even so.
More broadly, probably every living descendant of King George V, founder of the Royal House of Windsor, has been in attendance in the last few days, and all except small children will be at the funeral. How many of them can you name? They are just quietly upper-middle-class, presumably somewhere in the South. There are millions of people like that. The House of Windsor's Thames Valley title is no word of a lie.
Friday 16 September 2022
Your gas bill has gone up by 85 per cent since last October, but the wholesale price is the same as it was then. Yet the Official Opposition is no more going to oppose the Government's blank cheque to the energy companies than the lifting of the cap on bankers' bonuses.
Workers' pay cannot be the cause of inflation since it has not gone up in donkey's years, yet it must be capped viciously, while energy prices must be so only nominally, and while even the few restraints that there might already be on payouts at the very top must be removed. Put the lifting of the bonus cap to a Commons vote, though, and the Labour Party would abstain. By the way, the King's Ministers might encourage him to forego his exemption from inheritance tax, although, like the laws against protest, it is hardly as if he is to blame for the situation.
Insofar as this arises out of the war in Ukraine, then it has been caused, not by the invasion, but by the sanctions. Even The Sun has found that Russia is booming. The sanctions regime, in which most of the world is not participating, is an act of pure self-harm on our part. Of course there are mass graves in Ukraine. Of course there is torture. It is a war zone. That is what war zones are like. We should know. We have created enough of them. If being a dictator, a war criminal or a crook were a reason to be barred from the late Queen's funeral, then few indeed would be the foreign governments with any representation, and that of Volodymyr Zelensky would not be among them.
The Americans have lately made of Ukraine what they long ago made of Israel, a beneficiary of practically limitless "aid" conditional upon its use to purchase the wares of American arms companies that in turn kicked back vast sums of that public money to both political parties. No one could have less interest in an end to this war. Nor are we witnessing the beginning of that end. There is only one way for this to end. Until then, whatever the appearances, it never will have ended.
Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea goes back to Russia, while the parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine becomes constitutionally neutral, with all of this requiring the denazification that no one any longer disputed was necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently.
Short of that, then there might be a lull of years or, although this would now be wildly improbable, decades, but that would be all that it ever was. Yet there would be, as there is, no reason for us to take any more interest in that than in any other humanitarian emergency. No less so. But no more so, either. Even the argument that "they look like us" has been blown out of the water by the appointment of a Cabinet that has been designed to beat the other side in a battle that it is not fighting, while sticking the Prime Minister's two fingers up to the people who had elected her because they had thought that the British ought to be running India rather than an Indian running Britain. Do not degrade yourself by pretending that you would be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark over which country Kupiansk, Izyum or Balaklyia ought to be in. Nor should you be.
By this time next week, expect the campaign to be in full flow to stop the performance of the Coronation by an institution, the Church of England, that was opposed to same-sex marriage.
Having resolved to kick the question of women bishops into the long grass forever, the Church of England decided to have them after all rather than lose its seats in the House of Lords, as David Cameron had made it crystal clear was going to happen.
And while there may not be the time to get everything in place by next spring or early summer, although do not bet against it, the prospect of being denied the Coronation of William V, and most monarchies gave up Coronations long ago, will well and truly give the lie to the first half of the old joke that the Church of England had the engine of a lawnmower but the brakes of a juggernaut.
Its fundamental connection to the monarchy has been liberalising the Church of England from day one. There was a reason why Martin Luther and William Tyndale supported Catherine of Aragon against Henry VIII. There was a reason why Tyndale went to his death rather than return to the England that Henry was by then creating. There was a reason why the robustly Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey sought to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession.
And there was a reason why, once anyone started to check in the middle of the nineteenth century, 50 per cent of Protestant churchgoers in England were found to be attending churches other than that by law Established. That proportion would be even higher now, although of course the absolute figure would be far lower.
An Archbishop of Canterbury will perform a same-sex marriage in this generation, because a member of the Royal Family will want one. In, of course, the unmistakable cadences of the Book of Common Prayer, since the Royal Family will have nothing else. It was written to give the Royal Family whatever marital arrangements they happened to want. All else, however real, is ultimately incidental.
The King is Charles III after all, rather than King Arthur or whatever else he had hinted at calling himself, and he is also Defender of the Faith. Like the Succession itself, these things just happen.
Pope Leo X did confer the title Fidei Defensor on Henry VIII, but the present title derives from its conferral by Parliament on Henry’s son, Edward VI. It tellingly remained part of the Royal Title of the Irish Free State throughout that State’s existence. Not that it has ever been peculiarly British or English; various monarchs have used it in various times and places, and Popes have conferred it on a number of people.
For example, Catherine of Aragon was a Defender of the Faith in her own right. A generation into his revolt, Martin Luther supported Catherine against Henry VIII. As did William Tyndale, who effectively went to the stake at Vilvoorde rather than return to an England that he did not regard as having really become Protestant at all.
Like Luther, Tyndale had no truck with some king who wanted to get divorced because he had got his bit on the side pregnant. The robustly Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey sought to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession. People who took Protestantism seriously, including as an international movement, ended up losing a Civil War in England, although they have accounted for at least half of England’s non-Catholic churchgoers ever since. Think on.
Although the Tudors were tyrants and torturers, they did not go that way when they became, after their own fashion, Protestants. They had always been like that, especially after the death of Elizabeth of York, when numerous of her relatives remained alive, all with far better claims to the Throne than her widower had ever possessed.
The people who think that the issuing of Regnans in Excelsis was one of the most important things that Pope Saint Pius V ever did, or even in his Top 20 Greatest Hits, are like the people who think that Apostolicae Curae ranks anywhere close to the writings of Pope Leo XIII on supernatural evil, on Catholic Social Teaching, and on Thomism. Indeed, they are very often the same people.
All in all, the position of Defender of the Faith would seem to have been vacant in both the Catholic and the Protestant senses for a very long time. Any suggestions? Any volunteers?
My favourite question of Greens is, "Do you regret the defeat of the miners in 1985?" It always stops them in their tracks. And I have the same question for post-Thatcherite culture warriors and opponents of Net Zero, "Do regret the defeat of the miners in 1985?" If not, then I can give you chapter and verse as to why you do not really regret the loss of any of things that you claim to, although you might sincerely believe that you do.
Although she began to blather on about environmentalism as a means of Socialist control once she had the dementia that also turned her into a born again Eurosceptic, Margaret Thatcher was very Green indeed as Prime Minister, shocking first the Royal Society, and then the United Nations General Assembly, with her passion on the subject. Boris Johnson went on to describe her destruction of the British coal industry as "a big early start". Her milk-snatching is now held up as a pioneering strike against the wicked dairy industry.
Both Corbyns have long joined Arthur Scargill, George Galloway, and thus at least two active parties of the Left (I can think of about 10, small though they are) in pointing all of this out and in seeking to reverse it. Like, for example, gender self-identification, Net Zero was an unknown concept in 2010. It has arisen entirely under a Conservative Government. Support for what is now called Brexit also used to be "Loony Left", a position to which we seem to be returning now that it has sort of happened.
Meanwhile, even ConservativeHome quite matter-of-factly states that of course a Corbyn Government would have posed no threat to the monarchy, whereas Thatcher and the Queen "clashed", monarchy and free market economics sat ill together, Theresa May had good relations with the Queen because she was the least free-marketeering Conservative Leader of the last 50 years, and republicanism was the logic of Liz Truss's classical liberalism when she was a teenager.
Of course, it still is. When they have thought it through, then Thatcherites who were cleverer, or simply younger, than their heroine have always been republicans. That means Thatcherites across all three main parties in England and all four in Scotland. But if there was ever going to be a republican moment, then it was going to have been "when the Queen died", and that moment has gone. More pressingly, they will never, ever, ever say that the miners were right. So we freeze in the dark at home while fighting endless wars abroad.
Wednesday 14 September 2022
National mourning, indeed. We are all going to be sitting shiver this winter. Yet for the next two years, the Government proposes to fund the difference between the new cap on energy prices, which itself assumes that the current rate was acceptable, and any further increase that there might be. That is an unlimited liability.
The permanent solution would be renationalisation, which is therefore massively popular. That would cost only one forty-third even of what was already projected to be spent, and it could easily be tacked on. But follow the money, and by no means only on one side of the House.
Fracking? There is no problem with any energy source in principle, but none of that shale gas has turned up yet, and if it is anywhere, then it is in heavily populated areas that could do without the earthquakes, the poisoned water, and all the rest of it. Harness the power of the State to bathe this country in heat and light from oil, gas, nuclear, wind, wave, tidal, solar, and that without which there could also be no steel for rigs, pipelines, power stations or turbines, namely coal.
Britain stands on one thousand years' worth of coal, and was the world leader in clean coal technology until the defeat of the miners in 1985. Do not vote for anyone who will not say that the miners were right.
Tuesday 13 September 2022
The politicians who are allowed to be taken seriously hate trains. They view them in the same way as the view buses, "Anyone on a bus after the age of 30 has been a failure in life." Except that they set the age a lot lower than 30. If anything, they regard trains as even worse.
So they were never going to allow the public transport classes to gawp at the late Queen's coffin, much as she herself might have preferred it. But unlike her, have you ever seen any of them drive themselves? Indeed, that they flew the coffin from Edinburgh to London is because they would regard that as the usual, or even the only, way to make the journey. Not at their own expense, of course.
They have also been scared by the breadth and depth of sympathy for the strikes, which have had the rail workers in their vanguard. The progress of the Royal Train would have been a good look for those workers. Instead, then, the job of transporting the deceased back to London has been safely given to people who cannot strike. But that necessary restriction on them, even though they are no more immune than the rest of us to the cost of living crisis, is a very important reason to support the action of those who were able to take it.
I knew that they would sing both verses of God Save The King in Belfast. I would not like to suggest that people tried too hard when they had something to prove. They got the words wrong, but I expect that everyone now will.
There was nothing novel about that Protestant use of Irish. There were of course Protestants in Ireland before the Plantation. Nor were they all Anglo-Irish. The Book of Common Prayer was first translated into Irish in 1606, and the 1662 edition was translated in 1712. That must have been for somebody's use. Arlene Foster's maiden name was Kelly.
Monday 12 September 2022
At the start of the first full working week of the Truss Age, the fundraising page for my next parliamentary candidacy was supposed to have gone live today. See you next Tuesday, indeed.
The Prime Minister's proposed tour with the King is an invitation to protest against her, while making such demonstration look as if it were against him. In any case, has she nothing else to do? But protest against either of them would now be illegal.
A mourning event, and that in the very presence of the coffin, is no time to protest, but if the Proclamation of the new monarch had not been the time for those minded to do so against the monarchy to have made their point, then when might have been? Proclamations of new monarchs have been booed, jeered and heckled in the past.
At least in the case of Symon Hill in Oxford, however, that was now a breach of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act. But that is not the King's fault. He was not even the monarch who gave it Royal Assent. Blame lies with the "libertarians" by whom we are governed, with their hated of "cancel culture", with their ferocity in the cause of free speech, and with their enthusiasm for a small State against which they sometimes even claim to see the Crown as a bulwark, despite the fact that in Britain the State and the Crown are exactly the same thing.
The paid Official Opposition had had every intention of voting for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill until the murder of Sarah Everard, who was no Chris Kaba. There is still no Labour Party policy of repealing it. Control of that party is back in the hands of the people who are clutching their pearls at the reaction of many of its members to its official tweet and Facebook post of "God Save The King".
The religiosity of things like the text of the Proclamation will have driven the pearl-clutchers to distraction, but they cannot object to God, because they will acknowledge no legitimate Prime Minister but Tony Blair even, in the Thatcherite fashion, when he is dead. It might have been different if Blair had been succeeded by someone other than Gordon Brown, but here we are.
But some of us have known them for a very long time, and whatever they may affect for factional reasons now, they have always been fanatical opponents of the monarchy. Whereas John Wheatley saw "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King", every one of them has always thought that it self-evident that he or she, or perhaps Blair, ought to be the bourgeois President.
George Lansbury, of whom the Blairites have never heard any more than they have heard of Wheatley, pointed out that our people were impoverished by capitalism, not by the King. Yet if you echoed the words of Clement Attlee that capitalism, not monarchy, was the enemy of Labour's programme, then you would be expelled from the Labour Party, and you would be factually incorrect as to the nature of any Labour programme that there might any longer be.
You would probably now be expelled from the Labour Party if you called for the abolition of the monarchy. Yet Keir Starmer is not alone in having made that call in his time, and I am not only talking about Liz Truss. Entirely typically of the Blairites in their pomp, psychotic hatred of the monarchy, of the then Queen, and of the then Prince Charles, used to be spat regularly in my presence, and sometimes at me, by someone who has since been named in the Forde Report. Later, I knew people at the heart of the Corbyn Leadership, and while all but one of them was an avowed republican on the rare occasions that the matter was ever raised, I never heard any of them talk remotely like that.
Also of note is that yesterday marked the end of the campaign for Scottish independence, at least while the present King was alive. He is 73, but his father lived to be 99. Who is now the leader of that campaign? Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond and Ian Blackford all signed the document proclaiming Charles III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Sturgeon also signed as a witness to the King's oath to maintain and preserve the Church of Scotland explicitly pursuant to "the Acts passed in the Parliament of both Kingdoms for Union of the two Kingdoms". It's over.
Sunday 11 September 2022
The King's grandfather was "the King" until he died, since when everyone has called him "George VI". While he was alive, then it was his wife who was "the Queen". Likewise, it is the King's wife who is now the Queen. His mother is Elizabeth II.
Boris Johnson's tribute to Elizabeth II was excellent. He is not going quietly, and he may not be gone long. He is unusual in being both a good speaker and a good writer, and he was not the worst Prime Minister ever. By far the worst in living memory was David Cameron.
Wholly foreseeable and wholly foreseen, the catastrophic consequences of the war in Libya continue to eclipse even those of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now admitted to have been the political choice that some of us had always said that it was, the austerity programme immiserated and even killed so many people as to attract the condemnation of the United Nations, and the distribution of Red Cross parcels.
Of course it was barely reported at home, since of course there is only a cost of living crisis at least 12 years into it, when it has started to affect the people who were not supposed to be poor. Presumably, these newcomers to Breadline Britain are not budgeting properly, cannot cook properly, and need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I say "at least 12 years", because if there was a boom under Tony Blair, then I was far from alone in never noticing it. Cameron was even worse than Blair, but he was the Heir that he professed to be.
Johnson's disastrous decision to lock down too late and to open up too early did cost a lost of lives, but nowhere near as many as that. By the way, there are some funny little people who think that the cost of living crisis has somehow been caused by the lockdowns, because they are now going to spend the remaining decades of their lives blaming absolutely everything on the lockdowns, when their hedonistic indulgence was subordinated to the lives of the very old, the chronically ill, the duskier hued, and the generally less deserving.
Ask them to list the links on the chain from the furlough scheme, of which plenty of them availed themselves, to, for example, the increase in the price of wheat. They will not answer. Instead, they will rant that "everyone says it now", meaning everyone whose work they read, proving both that they read almost nothing, and that, being unable to tell when people were joking, they had no wit. Certain media outlets have a lot to answer for when it comes to employing "contrarians". Not everyone's sense of humour is that sophisticated.
In preparation for his war, Cameron turned Manchester into the world centre of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, to the point of dispatching the Royal Navy as its ferry service. That Group went on to bomb Manchester Arena. Cameron himself bombed IS in Iraq while supporting it so strongly in Syria that Five Eyes intelligence agencies trafficked British schoolgirls to it there. The 15-year-old Shamima Begum was married almost immediately upon her arrival in Syria, and pregnant almost immediately after that. "She wanted it" is not an argument that would normally be admitted under such circumstances.
All of this had the enthusiastic support of the Liberal Democrats, of the Labour Party until 2015, and of more than 90 per cent of Labour MPs, as well as the whole of the party's staff, to very end. Both economically and internationally, and the connection between the two has never been more glaring, Labour is now far to the right of the Conservatives.
Liz Truss has not only filled her Cabinet so as to snub her nose at the people who elected her because they thought that the British should be running India rather than an Indian running Britain, but she has also discarded the ludicrous policies that both she and Rishi Sunak felt obliged to offer them, in preference for those which might actually pass a House of Commons twelve thirteenths of which never wanted her as Prime Minister. Parliamentary democracy in action after all, it seems.
It is Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng and Jacob Rees-Mogg who propose the British State's largest ever intervention in the peacetime economy, with the State "borrowing" £130 billion from itself, effectively to pay everyone's gas bill for two years. Of course, this is not really borrowing at all. It is an accountancy fiddle between the Treasury and the Bank of England. There is therefore no reason whatever to build in a mechanism for every household to spend decades "paying it back".
If there were an inflationary effect, then means to control that would be readily available to the State, and they include both monetary means, which therefore need to be brought back under democratic political control, and fiscal means, one of which may indeed be a windfall tax. Truss is ruling that out because her largest campaign donor was the wife of a BP executive and because, having become Prime Minister at 47 in an era of short Premierships, she herself still hopes to go back to Shell despite her pronounced lack of success there last time.
In October, the Government's scheme will still leave us all with double the energy bills that we had last October. In the last fortnight, the price that the energy companies paid for gas has fallen by 46 per cent. Yet in three weeks' time, bills will go up by 80 per cent. These are the companies to which the Government proposes to give a further £130 billion. The renationalisation of energy, which is massively popular because anyone can see that it would permanently preclude the return of these problems, would cost only one forty-third of what was already being spent, and could be easily be tacked onto it. Again, though, follow the money, and by no means only on one side of the House.
None of this has been caused by the invasion of Ukraine, but it is being made worse by the sanctions. Even The Sun has found that Russia is booming. The sanctions regime, in which most of the world is not participating, is an act of pure self-harm on our part. Ukraine is the truly black mark against Johnson, and it will come to be seen as such almost universally. In the last few days, the Americans have made of Ukraine what they long ago made of Israel, a beneficiary of practically limitless "aid" conditional upon its use to purchase the wares of American arms companies that in turn kicked back vast sums of that public money to both political parties.
Take only the most academic interest in either Russian or Ukrainian advances or setbacks. There is only one way for this to end. Until then, whatever the appearances, it never will have ended. Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea goes back to Russia, while the parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine becomes constitutionally neutral, with all of this requiring the denazification that no one any longer disputed was necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently.
In the meantime, we absolutely refuse to starve or freeze to death in the dark over which country Kupiansk, Izyum or Balaklyia should be in. Those facing that prospect now include even people who officially exist. Therefore, the last few months have seen ever-increasing support for the strikes. Their suspension during the mourning period is the correct way to avoid squandering that goodwill. Thereafter, they and other resistance must resume in earnest, making up for lost time.
In speaking from and for the class that still suffers most as a result of the sanctions, and which will always be most called upon to fight any war, the RMT leadership, in particular, has indeed spoken out of turn, and long may it continue to do so. Have benefit sanctions been suspended as a mark of respect? Have eviction proceedings? Has anything that has caused so many of us to exclaim at long last that enough was enough? Strikes, football, carnivals, the TUC, and almost comically the Wigan Diggers' Festival, have all been cancelled, but rugby and cricket have gone ahead. What compensation will there be for those whose paid, but rarely well-paid, work was servicing all but the first of those cancelled events?
A key figure, even a kind of constitutional monarch these days, remains Jeremy Corbyn. It would be interesting to know when he had ever publicly expressed republican views, as Truss and Keir Starmer have certainly both done. Corbyn's republicanism is a reasonable assumption, but that is all that it is, whereas I am not aware that people on both frontbenches have ever recanted the private desire to abolish the monarchy that I know that they have articulated in the past.
Still, the signatures of Truss and Starmer do now appear on the document proclaiming the new King, along with those of Nicola Sturgeon, Alex Salmond, Ian Blackford, and someone with whom I have been known to get drunk at university a quarter of a century ago. Alba's position had been a Scottish republic when Queen Elizabeth died, but that day has come and gone.
There are also several Plaid Cymru Privy Counsellors. Was any of them there, such that their signatures now appeared? Corbyn's does not, because he was not. Tickets for backbench MPs who happened to be Privy Counsellors were allocated by ballot, but he would have been a "hypocrite" if he had turned up, or a "traitor" if he had not. If he did have any choice in his attendance, then he chose to maintain all of his existing and emerging alliances, rather than turn up to an event that would have proceeded in exactly the same way without him, as it did.
Tony Benn had little or no idea who I was when he told me that he intended to go along to the Accession Council and shout "No!", so that the Proclamation would not have been "with one voice of tongue and heart". But Benn's life story had given him obvious issues of his own. His argument in terms of hereditary surgeons or hereditary pilots does not stack up, since nor would we elect surgeons or pilots.
Corbyn, on the other hand, was pestered by Jeremy Paxman in 2017 as to why there was nothing in the Labour manifesto about abolishing the monarchy, and replied, "Look, there's nothing in there as we're not going to do it." He added, "It's certainly not on my agenda and, do you know what, I had a very nice chat with the Queen." Corbyn is less an heir of John Wheatley than some of us are, but like many of us he would agree with Wheatley that he saw "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King".
As Leader of the Labour Party and while seeking to become Prime Minister, Corbyn explicitly did agree with that. By contrast, both the present Prime Minister and the present Leader of the Labour Party are among those bourgeois politicians who used to want to make that substitution in their own respective persons, but who have either just perjured themselves, or have changed their minds.
Republicanism is the inescapable logic of Thatcherism for those cleverer, or perhaps simply younger, than Margaret Thatcher, while Starmer has never heard of Wheatley, of Red Clydeside and the Independent Labour Party. The definitive work on James Maxton remains Gordon Brown's published doctoral thesis, but the choice of Blair over Brown in 1994 marked the point at which the Labour Right ceased to be as bookish as the Left, albeit without the Left's balance between university types and the organic intellectuals of the working class. Since then, the Labour Right has been defined by its violent anti-intellectualism, a streak that, unlike the Left, it had always had.
Ardent monarchists profess to see the Crown as "embodying" this, that or the other while spending the rest of their time bemoaning that such things "no longer" existed, generally based on childhood memories that were not borne out by any adult social history, and they profess to believe in a small State while advocating wars, tight controls on immigration, draconian "law and order" policies, and the effective criminalisation of poverty in and of itself, all the while ignoring the fact that the only State in Britain was the Crown.
But people who had been 2,271 votes away from leading the largest party in a hung Parliament would be far more likely to think that the Crown as the only State was just fine and dandy if you could get your hands on the Crown in the office of Prime Minister, the office for which Benn longed but to which he never came anywhere close. That must certainly be the view, both of that office's occupant, and of a decidedly non-accidental aspirant to it.