The friend of my friend is my enemy

So while you have fake conservatives making sure nobody to the right of Tony Blair or George W. Bush can gain traction anywhere without being branded a racist and blocked from social media, the right also has another problem and that is an inability to pick its battles. Julia Hartley-Brewer is one of the leading advocates for Brexit, she rails against political correctness and argues in favour of free speech, and believes Britain’s immigration system needs a radical overhaul. All good, right?

Actually, no. Yesterday some hack in America posted on Twitter a short clip of a Trump speech in which he called asylum-seekers “animals”. Only Trump was specifically referring to MS-13 when he used that word, and the video had been edited to obscure that fact and the “asylum seekers” bit added by the hack. It was also not new; it dated back to May 2018 when the left pulled the same trick. In other words it was straight-up fake news. Here’s how Julia Hartley-Brewer responded:

When people called her out on it, she doubled down:

Actually, Trump doesn’t go around calling people animals. This is yet more fake news, but it’s also a sign of something more worrying, especially if you’re conservative. If you are pro-Brexit, anti-PC, and want stronger immigration policies I’d have thought Trump’s your man – especially if he’s specifically talking about keeping unspeakably violent criminals out of the country. If Britain does exit the EU, who do they think their biggest ally’s going to be? Who is their main target for a trade deal? Brexiteers should be doing everything they can to get Trump interested in their cause, and they should be thanking their lucky stars someone naturally sympathetic to them is in the White House instead of a wet globalist like Obama who detests Britain and loves the EU.

I’m going to be charitable and assume Hartley-Brewer is genuinely conservative and isn’t just saying this stuff to ensure the London liberal set keep inviting her to dinner parties, but what I’m going to say isn’t much better: she’s simply not very bright when it comes to politics. If conservatives and right wingers want any chance of clawing back lost ground in the culture war, they’re going to have to be an awful lot smarter than this. Firstly, that means being fully focussed on what you want. If Brexit is your priority, concentrate on that, and don’t concern yourself with matters unrelated to the task at hand. Otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll inadvertently strengthen your enemies and undermine your own cause. What did Hartley-Brewer expect to achieve by joining the left in bashing Trump? There’s simply no upside here, only downsides. And it’s not like Trump doesn’t use Twitter and has no idea who’s saying what. She’s blundered straight into a bear trap set by her enemies. If this were a real war, she’d be written off as a liability. Now I’m not saying Brexiteers and conservatives should agree with Trump or even like the man. But there is an option to, you know, just shut the f*** up. You don’t actually have to comment on everything; sometimes silence works wonders. If you don’t learn to pick your battles, don’t expect to win any.

Secondly, conservatives need to recognise who their true allies are. Churchill didn’t like Stalin very much, but realised he needed him to defeat Nazi Germany. There’s plenty of time for drawing up principles once the war is won, but while it’s ongoing you do whatever’s necessary to win. If British conservatives can’t stomach Trump as an ally, they’ve already lost (again). As I’ve said before, there are things to dislike about Tommy Robinson but if British conservatives find themselves unable to throw their weight behind him when he’s being hounded by the government for speaking his mind about immigration, they ought to get ready for another few decades of cultural Marxist domination. They also need to jettison the fake conservatives and those who lack the stomach for the fight. The sort of wet conservatives who appear in the mainstream media or in Parliament can be likened to America’s supposed allies in their mission to Afghanistan: the German military wouldn’t go out at night, the French complained the country was unsafe, and the Norwegians said they’d provide a medical tent. Only the English-speaking countries – the UK, Canada, and Australia – were prepared to get stuck in, kill some folk, and take casualties of their own. The rest are free-riders waiting to step in and take charge once the enemy is defeated, or simply carp from the sidelines.

If the culture wars were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight years ago. Conservative fortunes won’t improve until they acknowledge this and change their approach entirely. They need to fight smarter. This means focusing on the handful of things they really want, seeking allies who want the same things, and getting rid of the grifters and hangers-on. Above all, it means shutting the f*** up for most of the time.


28 thoughts on “The friend of my friend is my enemy

  1. Julia Hartley-Brewer. Magdalen College, Oxford. No Tim that’s not your friend. That’s just a different shade of enemy. They all are.

  2. No Tim that’s not your friend. That’s just a different shade of enemy.

    You may well be right.

  3. The battle’s between the continued dominance of the intellectual class & the rest of us. Time to choose sides.

  4. Anti-intellectualism has quite an established pedigree but I doubt that it’s one with which a reasonable man would hurry to associate himself.

  5. It’s not intellectualism (whatever that might be) itself’s the problem. It’s intellectuals, as a class, believing they are superior & should have more influence. It’s purely knowledge. There’s nothing special about possessing knowledge. We all do. Whether it’s fit for purpose in the situation it’s applied’s another matter. Thinking a philosophy degree gives you insight into foreign trade’s pretentious bollocks.

  6. I read “intellectual” as priest of the left religion. It has no more to do with intelligence than “liberal” has to do with freedom.

  7. No Tim that’s not your friend. That’s just a different shade of enemy.

    Actually yes, you’re correct. This is in relation to the government’s plans to censor the internet:

    Another example of mothering instead of governing.

  8. “But there is an option to, you know, just shut the f*** up. You don’t actually have to comment on everything; sometimes silence works wonders. If you don’t learn to pick your battles, don’t expect to win any.”

    I think that’s the major problem. Way back in the 1960s and 70s, political scientists pointed to an important function of political parties: “interest aggregation”. Unlike pressure groups, where common interests are merely articulated, parties melded broadly similar but occasionally disparate interests into a (reasonably) coherent unified voice. Party discipline kept people in line, such that oddballs weren’t allowed to spout off because it ruined the chances for power.

    Twitter etc. doesn’t do this at all. Everyone is an individual who wants to express themselves in the round. Hartley-Brewer is definitely sound on some issues, but she talks nonsense on others. The breakdown of political parties and the rise of social media allows her to do this with relative impunity.

  9. I wonder how Hartley-Brewer would react if someone produced a fake video purporting to show her saying something she never said.
    Would she accept an unsupported assertion that she says stuff like that all the time?
    And since the attacks on Trump are mostly, like this one, faked it leads me to believe he doesn’t say stuff like that all the time. Otherwise it would be needless to fake things.
    I think Trump’s problem, like Tommy Robinson’s, come from his being of the wrong class. No-one who uses English like that, eats like that, knows people like that, could possibly be anything other than a rogue. In the absence of evidence some will be manufactured.

  10. One significant problem in this space is that we lack any conservative parties to vote for in the UK. The Tories are Tony Blair PC fanboys for the most part. To turn back the tide requires those who would do so to have a party to vote for. We of the Tim commentariat lament the status quo but there is no party of economically Worstallian good sense and culturally open to the deplorable plebeian masses. Or to put it another way – we’ve already lost the culture wars. The enemy occupies all the institutions with any power.

  11. I think it’s worth noting how incredibly sheltered and naive these journos like are. They seem to believe that all these asylum seekers are literally Dora the Explorer. A journalist, even a pro-immigration journalist, should be able to understand and acknowledge the downside of their chosen position. If you allow mass immigration from some of the earth’s most murder-prone countries, of course you are going to end up with a lot more criminals than if you hadn’t. Journos, and especially lady journos, prefer to simply ignore the downsides of immigration because they feel more comfortable believing that everyone is nice.

  12. I think it’s worth noting how incredibly sheltered and naive these journos like are

    Oh no, JH-B is happy to oppose immigration but when Trump does it, well that’s just horrifying, isn’t it? As Pat says, he’s the wrong class.

  13. Patrick –

    You are dead right about there being no acceptable party remaining in UK politics. I think the best we can do is to vote UKIP or Brexit Party (if such a thing materialises); and failing that to tactically vote in any way that will register a protest and make life harder for the bastards. I’m hoping for a collapse of the existing system and then for an acceptable choice to arise from the ruins. I say “collapse” because the impetus is unlikely to come from riots or from organised raging voters. The main parties are likely to crumble because their time has passed, and there is nobody smart or strong enough to come up with an idea which will hold them together.

  14. “If Britain does exit the EU, who do they think their biggest ally’s going to be? Who is their main target for a trade deal? Brexiteers should be doing everything they can to get Trump interested in their cause …”

    Looking at the UK from outside, there seems to be a lot of wishful thinking among the separatists. The US has an unsustainable balance of trade deficit which needs to be rectified. With or without Trump, any post-Brexit trade deal with the US is going to involve the UK taking a lot more imports from the US. Among the general US population, post WWII warm feelings for Old Blighty have been blunted by decades of elite British Anti-Americanism. Among the US elites, there are more Europhiles than Anglophiles.

    Personally, I am all for self-government … everywhere! And as a non-Brit, I have been interested in Brexit in the hope that successful separation from the EU might start the ball rolling on a more global roll-back of centralized intrusive government. But it does seem like Brexiteers have done a very poor job of looking ahead and preparing their fellow citizens for the inevitable rough sledding before they reach the Promised Land.

  15. The government that is hounding Tommy Robinson is, ahem, a Conservative and Unionist Party government. That must put conservatives in a bit of a bind.

  16. Whatever her position on Brexit, Julia Hartley-Brewer must, from time to time, clearly and loudly proclaim her fidelity to the moral order that has been constructed for her by the progressives and which will brook neither dissent nor abstention.

    This is the only way that people like her (and Matthew Paris) can continue to have careers and earn a living. To be the first to stop clapping is to risk having one’s life thoroughly and permanently shitcanned in less time than it takes to say “Orange Man Bad”.

    That’s why they won’t and can’t shut the f*** up. Because we are ruled over by monsters.

  17. In my work, I use a “45 minute crisis management” rule.

    That is, when someone tells me the sky is falling in, I ignore them for the best part of an hour. 10 times out of 10 the problem goes away.

    Just because we *can* comment in real time on the news doesn’t mean it’s the best approach.

    QV Covington, Smollett, et al.

  18. Julia Hartley-Brewer promoting Left fake news. Worse, she doubles down when called out

    Julia Hartley-Brewer should have apologised “Sorry, had a blonde gullible moment”

    Me? I support Donald Trump and Tommy Robinson. imo some “Conservatives” – esp MPs – are destroying themselves by revealing how autocratic, intolerant and undemocratic they are.

    Re: Afghanistan

    iirc Denmark, Estonia and some other Eastern did fight; but small

    As you said, Five Eyes were the only real combatants.

    JHB: “This is not an easy debate.”

    Wrong, it is: Just Say No

    The government is proposing new GDPR-style laws to fine websites over “harmful online content” in a bid to make the UK “the safest place in the world to go online”.

    Paradoxically, perhaps, the paper’s vision is for a “free, open and secure internet” supporting “freedom of expression online”

    Also “Websites that break new online code could be blocked in the UK and fined up to £20million, as critics accuse ‘totalitarian’ reforms of censorship
    Under the new rules, any website which allows users to post content will have a legal ‘duty of care’ to all users.

    The regulations will apply to firms such as Google and Facebook

    But they will also apply to smaller websites which allow users to post comments, including blogs, and online news and review sites.”

  19. One of the things I was told long ago goes “If you are in trouble with the Police, you won’t talk your way out of it, so shut up. If you are NOT in trouble with the Police, you CAN talk your way into it, so shut up”.

    She needs to take that to heart.

    But the drug of tweeting her thoughts and having many “likes” etc. is, if we are to believe the chattering classes, as addictive as crack cocaine. It looks like she is addicted to this and, as I said in a previous discussion about women, is seeking validation which is another addiction that seems to affect the female sex.

  20. The Danes were quite reasonable in Afghan and, although small, the Estonians played too. I remember the Danish infantry sergeant wandering around Bastion with his double bladed (ie modern fake) “Viking” battle axe on the back of his day sack.

    I don’t remember much about the Estonian military presence (except the BRDM-2, which all of my cold-war training screamed “enemy” at), but I certainly remember the troop of dancing girls they brought across (and the security operation to keep them safe from the Afghans!)

    (Note – I hadn’t refreshed since Pcar’s comment.)

  21. I suspect JH-B was just refusing to admit that she’d f*cked up on Trump; foolish but not surprising.

    Re internet censorship, I don’t think her position is unreasonable. Misguided maybe, if I had children, there is all sorts of vileness on the web I wouldn’t want them to see. However, I recognise that freedom is better than censorship.

    She is still broadly on the right side. While I accept Tim’s argument that many ‘conservatives’ are anything but, we can’t oppose everyone who doesn’t think in exactly the same way. We need allies.

  22. we can’t oppose everyone who doesn’t think in exactly the same way. We need allies.

    Yes. The left destroys itself with ideological purity tests, and the right should not do the same. My point was the right needs to decide what they *really* want, form allies with those who want the same, and STFU about everything else. JH-B is broadly on the right side but if she’s blundering around falling for fake news about Trump, she’s a liability.

  23. “The enemy occupies all the institutions with any power.”

    True, but they occupy all the positions of power that are parasitic rather than practical. In the event of a some sort of catastrophic economic crisis (which one suspects is coming at some point, the current method of ‘solving’ recessions with ever increasing debt is not sustainable long term, neither are fiat currencies, nor is the dollar going to be the global reserve currency for ever) when practical resources (ie food, heat, light, transport etc) become more important than wokeness and virtue signalling, many if not all of the current liberal bastions will be washed away, as a total waste of resources at a time when resources are in short supply. The Left may have taken the Ivory Towers, but the foundations are not good………..

  24. Jim,

    “True, but they occupy all the positions of power that are parasitic rather than practical.”

    This is spot on. With regards to the rest of your comment, this isn’t just about when an economic crisis occurs. This can just be about a change of regime. In the 70s, there were a lot of wanky bits of government concerned with things that just don’t exist today, like departments concerned with prices. Thatcher came to power and just got rid of them.

    It’s also why the most avidly Brexit people are the public servants involved in the wanky bits of government. The people doing useful public sector jobs like fixing streetlights and potholes don’t care too much. They’re always going to have a job, regardless of regime. The people in arts, museums, diversity, feminist nonsense, bloated universities do not want a change. If the country shifts right, they’re gone. The writers in The Guardian will throw a fit, but the voters won’t.

  25. Jim/BoM4
    In the 70s infiltrating unions in docks and railways and heavy industries seemed like a good idea to the far left. But those industries turned out to be not so important after all. A generation on and a march through old media etc is also looking like a dated move.

  26. @Surreptitious Evil,

    Triggered and launching into low-intensity-conflict stories… out in south-eastern Iraq in 2005, the Multi-National Division was fronted up by us Brits, so of course we were awesome.

    Other contributors of note, though:-

    The Italians. Not often noticed or remembered, but they provided a full brigade, had Dhi Qar province as ‘theirs’ (and the Divisional 2IC role) and, between the Carabineri (paramilitary tooled-up cops surprisingly well suited to the situation) and the Alpini (who were itching for a proper scrap and – it was said – the Carabineri exploited that happily, saying “you can deal with us, or those crazy bastards are coming in with their Centauros to kill you all…”) did a good job of keeping it well-behaved by Iraqi standards.

    The Australians. They had a special pseudo-diplomatic job (see later) but did it well, and chipped in a fair few useful guys for HQ (instead of sending the biffs and clueless to the office job)

    The Romanians. Hadn’t worked with them before, but they had a small but very dedicated contingent that took their ‘force protection’ role very seriously.

    The Danish – they had a battalion covering the north of Basrah Province and, while they were quite laid-back unless provoked (casually asking the participants in a lively batch of ‘tribal fighting’ – a noisy barely-lethal fireworks display – if they could move their exhibition a bit west of Route Tampa so traffic wasn’t dodging tracer bullets and occasional RPGs) they were quite prepared to smite harshly when necessary to reinforce the “we’re asking you nicely… or we could just make you” point.

    Curiosity: the Japanese, in their first deployment of ground forces overseas since 1945. Very sensitive and touchy at home: apparently the weekly contact report I wrote was read with interest at Cabinet level! (according to Colonel Akizuke,the liaison officer, who was a top bloke) They had a mostly-unarmed reconstruction battalion at Camp Samawah out in al-Muthanna province, doing good works, protected by some rather forceful Australians. Very political but they at least didn’t cause trouble.

    Interesting: the US. We had a liaison team in MND(SE) – a lieutenant, a major and a colonel. We were only ever allowed to talk to the lieutenant, who could only (officially) recite a pre-prepared briefing and was not allowed to take questions. All decisions and communications with Baghdad had to be made by the colonel. The Major presumably had to insulate the Colonel from the horror of speaking to a mere O-2. (The lieutenant was a good guy who joined us on Saturday evening movie-and-pizza nights and vented his frustrations to a safe and sympathetic audience…) For a while, a Marine Expeditionary Unit’s HQ moved into Basrah Air Station while their troops “intercepted arms smugglers” in al-Muthanna, totally ignoring the Australians who had the area covered and knew who was doing what: they didn’t speak to any mere mortals, and our only real interaction with them was when the Commandant of the USMC came out to congratulate them.

    True dit: when the Commanding General MND(SE) (Major-General Riley, then Major-General Dutton RM) used the Allenby Lines cookhouse where I got fed, he’d simply turn up accompanied by one of his guards with a holstered sidearm (if you weren’t the CG’s bodyguard, you left body armour and weapon by the door while eating), queue for his food, chat to whoever he was standing near while waiting, and join a (doubtless selected) group to eat. No fuss, no bother, no drama, CG rotated around the facilities on site to ensure all was well (it was, we had a really good crew of Sri Lankan contract caterers and I didn’t have one bad meal from them)

    When General Hagee came out to inspire his Marine officers, they cordoned off half the dining room. Fair enough, they need space to sit and be briefed, it was merely mildly annoying they did this while the rest of us were trying to get lunch. Except the cordon was enforced by four burly men in civilian clothing (dark cargo trousers, photographer’s vest, sunglasses…) with MP-5 submachine guns, magazines fitted, levelled at the rest of the room in case any of us made subversive moves. The mood of the room was, shall we say, “unimpressed”.

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