Thursday 29 September 2022

Give Truss a Chance?

The knives are well and truly out for Truss. If it was just the eternal opposition of Labourites this would be unremarkable. If it was just the puffed-up pontificating of that malodorous and wretched excuse for a human being, James O’Brien it would be business as usual. If it was just the former spin doctor and liar-in-chief, Alastair – raging bullshit – Campbell it would be laughed off as irrelevant, but it’s not just the usual suspects, it is everybody.

The Bank of England, the BBC, the EU, the IMF… and more besides. There is almost a queue of people awaiting their turn to do down the pound and in turn to unseat the fourth Conservative Prime Minister in less than a decade. If current moods are anything to go by, we might yet have another one before the next general election, such is the zeal for turmoil.

Chaos abounds. In every critical area you can imagine chaos and confusion is now the default mode. Name a sector – industry, energy, financials, law and order, education, health, care and society-at-large – and nowhere will you find a comforting sense of order. And so many seem to be heavily invested in perpetuating this state. Especially those who see themselves as political victims. Victims of Toryism, Trumpism, Brexit and, of course, Boris; nothing will satisfy these malcontents short of a complete collapse of everything. But their next step is unclear. You bring down the wall, perhaps, but what do you do afterwards?

It is clear that something needs to be done, that sanity needs to be restored to our national debate. Most ordinary people still think along the same lines we always did, but the conversation has been hijacked by those who will not admit anything other than their own thesis. Identity politics has split the national psyche asunder and allowed crank ideas such as critical race theory, gender issues and hate crime rhetoric to distort every utterance. If only they were given the chance.

In every speech, every policy, every initiative there will be something to offend somebody. And yet, instead of pushing ahead, somehow the storm-force winds of protest manage to keep the ship in harbour. We are sunk without a leadership with the balls to tackle all of this, and such a leadership would be mightily cheered on by the huge majority who feel powerless against the wokeratti.

And lest the anti-Brexit, anti-fracking, anti-oil, anti-white, anti-Tory, anti-justice mob pretend to themselves they are doing god’s work, let us not forget that none of them give a good goddamn for the country. They do this entirely for themselves. It is all about them. To the woke mob, solving any of our national problem comes secondary to the outright rejection of anybody with whom they disagree. Democracy is the tyranny of the majority, John Major said. Well, this is for certain the tyranny of the minorities.

We were and are warned about all of this. Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson, Andrew Doyle, Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins, Christopher Hitchens and many others, whatever you think of them – and make no mistake, what you think of them is most certainly influenced by the perpetrators of national destruction – have been telling you for years. And yes, I deliberately included Hopkins and Robinson in that list because if your reaction to their names was revulsion, you may be a small part of the problem.

If you reject an idea, a notion, a warning, simply because of who delivers it, or if you embrace an ideological position for the same reasons you may be behaving rationally, but you are not behaving well. The march of the so-called progressives has been a long one and its roots lie centuries ago in the doctrines of Engels and Marx and it is carried on today by the extreme left factions of the Labour and Green movements. Its agitators are the young and foolish and the middle-aged and straight out cranky, and others like them who will never have to suffer the consequences.

The old society may have had its faults and it may have disadvantaged certain groups whose voices needed to be heard and heeded, but the breakdown of the social order portends far worse outcomes than its perpetuation ever did. The media is a never-ending rendition of new varieties of Project Fear; Project Doom-and Gloom, Project Bring Down the PM, Project Hate the Tories, and Project Talk Down the Country. If we can just learn to ignore the naysayers, hold our noses and give Truss a chance, we might find she has something to offer. If instead we listen to the haters we will never find out.

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Out of Proportion

I see some people are aghast that Keir Starmer has rejected the Labour Party conference vote to adopt what they regard as the open goal of proportional representation. The fact that they think such a system would be an answer to the political impasse in which most modern democracies now find themselves reveals much about the dearth of political savvy in the membership.

How would it work, I ask myself. Seriously, how? How would you allocate seats, and in whose name would those incumbents vote? Do we just vote for a party then have the bureaucrats divvy up the seats based on total numbers? That is, if the Libdems get enough votes to claim 20 seats in Parliament, how is it decided to which local area area they are appointed? On that basis we might see that most Labour of seats, Liverpool, being gifted a Conservative MP, which while it may be fun for the rest of us would be a death sentence to the duly elected.

If local candidates stand in constituency seats are they then awarded victories based on a lottery system against total votes cast? So a traditional Labour seat gets a Labour MP, if sufficient national seats are won, even though the local vote perhaps swung towards another party. Because it strikes me that we already have a functioning form of proportional representation – the person with the largest proportion of votes wins.

Or maybe we should do away with constituencies altogether, rendering boundary reform obsolete and preventing the sitting party of government from fiddling with the demographics. In which case most MPs would come via the Oxford PPE route and reside in London… and likely tend towards ‘progressive’ stances. Oh how the Shires would wail!

The more I think about proportional representation, the more I wonder what it means, and more particularly, what its supporters think it means. Would it really be a benign, closest-thing-to-direct-democracy system, in which every decision better represents the wishes of the unconsulted majority? I thought that was called populism; apparently the harbinger of fascism. Or would it mean just endless coalitions in which ideals were traded for the sake of cabinet positions?

And what would a government under PR look like? Would we have, instead of single party government, a cabinet selected on proportional grounds? If we think the last few governments have exhibited a distinct lack of unity, imagine what will happen when we let the foxes into the hen house… and then invite along a motley assembly of pigs, donkeys and aardvarks to boot. It’s like the regular calls to adopt a Basic Minimum Wage – everybody seems to have their own idea about what this actually means, but nobody knows how it could work.

"Something tells me they're expecting a low voter turnout"

Some say that under PR we can make every vote count. I don’t see that at all. Just as now, you can wish as hard as you like that your vote – your specific vote – will elect your favoured candidate, but under PR just as under FPTP there will be winners and losers and those who voted for the losers will feel their vote didn’t count at all. 

I have a feeling that voters may, more than ever, turn away from engagement with the running of the country. In only the second nationwide referendum held in the UK, In 2011 the people voted against a system that was, by another name, proportional representation. Lest the irony is lost on feeble minds, when given the chance to vote party-free for PR the population overwhelmingly rejected it.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Conference Crazy

Based on the notion that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, the last few days of the new Conservative government upsetting ‘all the right people’ I’d say it’s been a spectacular success. In fact, ‘upsetting’ is a massive understatement, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms, going by the sheer incandescent rage of many of the offended. A week or so ago, Barry Sheerman, a Corbyn lickspittle of cartoon proportions, amused me with this tweet:

Of course, to people like Barry Sheerman, Ed Miliband was practically the National Front, so heaven knows what he thinks of Liz Truss. Actually, this knowledge isn’t exclusively vouchsafed to heaven – he thinks she is ‘literally Hitler’. But this, as ever, is how they divide us. Stick on a label and turn on the condemnation. Am I labelling Barry? Of course I am, but as the left are quite convinced of their own perfection, this is not a label he would object to.

The left do love their labels, and so does the press. Slogans, dogma, trite placard-bound inaccuracies, or outright lies – the veracity plays second fiddle to the satisfying anti-Tory sentiment. The fall in the value of the pound was leapt upon with glee by our partisan journos, describing the over-the-weekend drop in the most catastrophic terms, yet ignoring almost completely the bounce back to a little below where it was before the mini-budget.

But the commentators need little encouragement to trot out their flimsy forecasts and their condemnations. The man in the street neither knows nor much cares about economics, fiscal policy, constitutional fripperies, science, engineering, sociology… politics, even. In fact the very reason people like Giorgia Meloni in Italy are elected is because the chattering of the political elites sounds to the world at large like nothing so much as people with an inflated sense of significance telling us all how we should live our lives.

The last few years of Farage, Brexit, Trump, Oban, Johnson and others only became inevitable because of the total disconnect between the self-appointed ruling classes, the political dynasties and their flag bearers and the rest of us; those who have to live with their stitched up, cabalistic policies. Given no palatable offering but witnessing the ever increasing dismantling of the settled order of family, community, country, it is obvious to the thickest of we peasants that we have to resist.

The attacks on the right always takes the form of shouting Mussolini et al, and some nebulous charges of capitalist cronyism, but the leftist agenda is always predicated on imposing the most egregious of unfounded societal structures on people who want or need nothing to do with them. Call us racists, xenophobes, homophobes, etc, all you damned well like, it still doesn’t make it true.

As the Labour Party conference comes to a close and they all pat each other on the back for a job well done, cheering the latest polls which put them ahead on many issues, they might want to embrace a genuine truism; opposition is easy. Easy as hell. Aided, abetted and emboldened by the press, the commentators, the pontificating economic forecasters and of course the BBC, those who would terminally dismantle our society are going to demonstrate to us all exactly how much they despise us. And in two years’ time let us hope the electorate rejects them once again.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Higher Ground

On Twitter last week, following the death of the Queen, Jeremy Clarkson wrote “One of the things I’ve noticed in these last few hours is that so very many people on Twitter are truly awful human beings.” Shortly afterwards he followed this with “Twitter is a handy and constant reminder that socialists are disgusting people.” As most of you will be aware I have been permanently suspended from that platform for expressing opinions and airing quips which did not go down well with the righteous minds of the brave new world.

It has long been known that left-wingers, who get to set the agenda, tend to be more highly educated than right-wingers, who merely win the spoils. In a typically lazy, left-wing manner, education is equated to intelligence, whilst success, often earned by sheer hard work, is seen as somehow linked to being less well intellectually equipped. And it is true that many wealthy winners in life practically gloat about their lack of education not holding them back.

Clarkson himself reminds school leavers annually that he was not a high achiever. This year it took the form of a tweet from a luxury yacht: “Don’t worry if your A level results are disappointing. I got a C and 2 Us and I’m currently holidaying on this boat.” And in this example pithily puts down the notion that education is the pinnacle of human achievement; you can’t feed your family with degrees and diplomas.

Educational success, in many ways, is just a measure of how readily one is able to absorb a particular narrative and follow it to a conclusion, regardless of its value outside the classroom. Whereas your normal, everyday entrepreneur tends to get easily bored and forever seek new ideas to exploit. A lesson not quickly grasped may benefit from greater application and more diligent studying, but may also be not worth learning in the end.

Perhaps this is why academics, in the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge can also be susceptible to inhaling the heady vapours of ideology; in the past religious, in the present political. And while the duffers, the also-rans in the A* stakes, are busy taking any job that pays the rent, their learned contemporaries pursue avenues which lead to long decades in disciplines of little real value to the world.

Once, universities thrived on offering valuable sciences and engineering, medicine and management, but in recent decades the humanities have become the academic vehicles of choice for those who probably ought never to have gone on to higher education. This recent Spectator article suggests it might be time to turn the tide. 

For my part I have seen the declaration time and time again that those on the left are more intelligent than those on the right. But this claim, it seems to me, relies on a particular definition of intelligence and one characterised by an occasional inability to be mentally agile, to think outside the box, to adapt and thrive. Instead it relies on the dogmatic clinging to tired old tropes, reinforcing groupthink and trotting out long-established arguments.

Much like religion, if you need an origin story and enforcers, with scholars forever justifying the improbable; if you need to keep on developing your themes and reminding people of why they joined your movement; if you need threats of excommunication – or as we now call it ‘de-platforming’ – maybe this is less a sign of intelligence than indoctrination.

Meanwhile those you despise, those lower orders of the right, own the houses you rent, the businesses you work for, and run the country you so regularly disparage. They get up in the morning and go to productive work to create the world you live in. The left may think they occupy the intellectual high ground. The right are happy to let them believe that. Does ‘educated’ really mean ‘intelligent’ in this universe?

Friday 2 September 2022

In Praise of Populism

I get the impression that Joe Biden and his minions are shitting themselves. In launching his extraordinary attack on the MAGA movement and in naming Donald Trump himself, did he think they were heading off a re-election attempt by 'Orange Man Bad', or did he seek to deliberately provoke such an attempt? Because, if one thing is guaranteed to get the devout to double down it is to attack their faith.

Labelling populism as an attack on democracy, when the espousal of populist causes is virtually the definition of a practical democracy in action seems to me a schoolboy error. Because, in doing so you have to explain what is so very wrong about promising to do what those who vote for you want you to do. Is he saying that what you hope and believe is just plain wrong? Is he telling all patriotic American citizens that they must hand the power to an executive that has no intention of listening to its voters?

He's actually gone much further and said, out loud, that the very people who genuinely believe themselves to be the embodiment of ’The American Way’ are not only destroying the soul they truly think they represent, but that they are actual fascists. Biden has effectively said that Trump is Hitler and his voters are Nazis… which has to be just about the most fucked-up thinking around right now. And this in a climate where many Democrats literally believe that women can possess a penis and men can give birth.

The world is mad. Stark, staring crazy. And the lunatics are woven right through the cloth of society even up to its highest echelons. Something has to give. And when the shooting starts which side would you want to be on; the side with all the guns and the determination to fight, or the side which wants your five-year old to choose gender reassignment?

This is much the same as the situation in the UK where the forces are the old order of family, right and wrong, against the social engineers and academics who think they know better. To band together as a country or to open the borders to all and sundry and pretend this does no harm? To reward hard work and enterprise, or instead fund the ever-increasing search for ways to be offended?

The left will always eat itself.

It’s not going to happen, it’s clearly not. But wouldn’t it be interesting if, by poking the bear Trump is persuaded to stand, then wins and resumes his crusade against the woke. And wouldn’t it be a spectacle if a resurgent Boris Johnson made it back into the big chair and did the same. Because being popular and even populist is not divisive at all. No, what is – literally – divisive is forever slicing and dicing society into as many atomic particle as you can conjure up via the ridiculous notion of conferring credibility on outlandish theories of race and gender and neuro-diversity and all the various fictions dreamed up by those who ultimately contribute not one damned useful thing to life on Planet Earth.