Advantage, Republicans

It might be that the Democrats have overplayed their hand here:

The woman who accuses US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her will not testify to the Senate next week, her lawyer says.

Prof Ford’s legal team say they have written to the Senate Judiciary Committee declining its offer to testify.

Her lawyer told CNN on Tuesday night: “It’s premature to talk about a hearing on Monday because she [Prof Ford] has been dealing with the threats, the harassment and the safety of her family and that’s what she’s been focused on for the last couple of days.”

As soon as the allegations were made, the Democrats demanded an investigation. The Republicans, wrongly IMO, immediately launched one and scheduled a hearing with both Kavanaugh and Ford. Now Ford’s decided she doesn’t want to appear, and her lawyer thinks she’s under no obligation to corroborate her story. I suspect Ford is rather concerned she’s going to facing serious perjury charges if she testifies on Monday; the plan was obviously to use the allegations to sandbag Kavanaugh’s confirmation before the mid-terms, after which they’d come up with a reason why she couldn’t testify under oath. By moving quickly, the Republicans have called their bluff. It appears Ford’s refusal to appear has not gone down well with Republicans who supported an investigation because it was the right thing to do:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley later said that there was no reason to delay Prof Ford’s testimony as the aim would be to establish “her personal knowledge and memory of events”.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said that if Prof Ford did not appear to testify on Monday, “we are going to move on and vote [on the nominee for the Supreme Court] on Wednesday”.

“They’ve had tons of time to do this,” he said, adding: “This has been a drive-by shooting when it comes to Kavanaugh, I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close.”

If Ford testifies, she’s likely to perjure herself. If she doesn’t, the vote goes ahead.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said he supported the call for an FBI investigation prior to the hearing.

The FBI have already said they’re not interested, because it’s outside their jurisdiction and Kavanaugh has already been fully vetted. And as for this:

She said that since going public with her allegation in the Washington Post on Sunday, Prof Ford has been trying to work out where her family are going to sleep at night.

The legal team’s letter says that Prof Ford’s family has been forced to move out of their home, her email has been hacked and she has been impersonated online.

Is there any evidence of this, or are we supposed to take her word for it? The problem is, this is a well-worn tactic of leftist women: they smear someone in public, then trawl through the hundreds of thousands of responses they get from social media and highlight a handful of deranged ones to claim their lives are being threatened. Cathy Newman did this with Jordan Peterson, deftly presenting herself as the victim when her own disgraceful behaviour was called out. Laurie Penny does it regularly. So thanks to feminists using a few angry tweets to claim they’re receiving death threats, it is now impossible to believe someone who may be genuinely threatened. This is doubly true if the person in question is being used as a political pawn by liberal politicians.

Mr Trump also appeared to suggest that the controversy was being exploited by Democrats as lawmakers looked to delay the Supreme Court vote.

“The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President. I hope Republican voters, and others, are watching, and studying, the Democrats’ Playbook,” he tweeted.

Well, quite. It’s about time the American public understood the true nature of Trump’s opponents, and if this circus serves to help with that, so much the better.

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A Clumsy Fit-Up Job

From the BBC:

A woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has identified herself.

Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post Mr Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and tried to undress her when they were both teenagers.

Mr Kavanaugh denied the allegations when they first surfaced last week.

It’s not hard to see what’s going on here. Ever since Roe v Wade, and possibly before, the US Supreme Court has increasingly become a body for ramming through legislation which the ruling classes can’t get past the population using the process laid out in the Constitution. We’ve now reached the point that the SCOTUS is simply another political body where each side vies for the majority which will allow them to implement the policies they desire and thwart those of their rivals. Nowadays when a Supreme Court judge is picked, he or she comes with a label indicating how they will vote on all the contentious issues currently swirling the drain of American politics.

Brett Kavanaugh was as solid a candidate for the Supreme Court as any sitting judge, and in any previous era he’d have been confirmed in the bat of an eye. But Democrats, still smarting over “their” Merrick Garland not being nominated in the last weeks of Obama’s presidency, took it upon themselves to oppose Kavanaugh simply because he was conservative and Trump’s pick. They cited ludicrous objections which amounted to a naked smear campaign and turned the whole process into a circus. I watched a few hours of the confirmation hearings live and, between hysterical women being escorted from the room for shrieking feminist slogans, Democrat politicians took the opportunity to denigrate Kavanaugh mainly because of who picked him. As far as they were concerned, anyone who Trump likes must automatically be unsuitable for the position.

But the smear campaign failed, and Republicans were poised to confirm Kavanaugh this week. Then out of nowhere, a sexual assault allegation appears concerning Kavanaugh in an incident which supposedly took place 35 years ago when he was 17. This is all rather reminiscent of the women who suddenly came forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault during his campaign, who oddly were never heard from again once the election was over. It is also similar to the woman who accused Roy Moore, a Republican senate candidate, of rape decades before but only chose to come forward in the last few days of his campaign. Apparently American victims of sexual assault are willing to remain silent for decades, unless and until their alleged attacker is Republican and poised to take a prominent political seat in the next few weeks. Then their first move is to contact a Democrat politician.

Diane Feinstein, a Democrat senator from California (where else?), revealed the allegations against Kavanaugh in a letter she received in July, but kept hidden throughout the nomination process in which she had ample time to raise them with the committee and even Kavanaugh himself. Anyone with a functioning brain can see she did so because the allegations are a complete fabrication and she only wanted to use them should the other smear campaigns fail. As we’ve seen with the Democrat efforts to unseat Trump, if one set of allegations turns out to be baseless, they move effortlessly onto the next, and the next, and the next. When it was becoming clear anonymous accusations from 35 years ago weren’t going to to stop Republican senators confirming Kavanaugh, his accuser emerges from anonymity, prodded by Feinstein. If Trump isn’t already ordering someone to check Christine Blasey Ford’s bank account and those of her closest relatives, he’s a fool.

The Senate committee chairman Chuck Grassely has responded to the allegations thusly:

“It raises a lot of questions about Democrats’ tactics and motives to bring this to the rest of the committee’s attention only now rather than during these many steps along the way.  Senator Feinstein should publicly release the letter she received back in July so that everyone can know what she’s known for weeks,” the statement continues. “Judge Kavanaugh’s background has been thoroughly vetted by the FBI on six different occasions throughout his decades of public service, and no such allegation ever surfaced. Furthermore Judge Kavanaugh and others alleged to have been involved have unequivocally denied these claims from their high school days. The Committee has received letter after letter from those who’ve known judge Kavanaugh personally and professionally, including 65 women who’ve known him since high school, speaking to his impeccable character and respect for others, especially women.”

Which is absolutely right. However, the media, Democrats, and Never Trumpers have gone all in on calls to “investigate” the allegations before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, knowing full well he will never be exonerated to their satisfaction, leaving him tainted for life. Moreoever, Trump’s opponents hope they can delay the SCOTUS pick until after the mid-terms when the Democrats may hold the senate, after which they can sandbag anyone Trump nominates. As far as American politics goes, it just gets uglier by the month.

This episode will be a stern test for Republicans, particularly those who are not reflexively anti-Trump but are tempted to back calls for an investigation and delay the confirmation because it’s the decent thing to do. They are in a war to the knife with the Democrats who have demonstrated there are no levels to which they will not stoop to gain and hold political power, be it in the Supreme Court or the Presidency. Unless Republicans – politicians and voters – follow Grassley’s lead and treat these allegations against Kavanaugh as nothing more than a clumsy fit-up job, they frankly deserve to be ruled by Democrats. They need to understand the game they’re in, hold their nerve, and confirm him without delay.

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Orders Given

I can’t seem to get off this topic. Here’s a story from yesterday’s Telegraph:

Companies in the UK must undergo a “genuine culture change” to get rid of alpha males and promote women, government ministers have said.

Ministers John Glen and Victoria Atkins have called for “greater diversity” in the workplace, adding that companies should “call out” non-inclusive behaviour.

They particularly highlighted the “woefully low” number of women in senior jobs the City, which is both “morally wrong” and affects the sector’s productivity.

“We have a problem when it comes to the representation of senior women in the financial services sector,” the ministers said in a letter to MPs.

There is just so many things wrong with these four paragraphs it’s easier to make a list than fisk it:

1. Why is it assumed alpha male traits are bad for business? Are companies filled with beta males more profitable?

2. Why are Conservative MP’s calling for culture changes? What, if anything, are they interested in actually conserving?

3. Why is “greater diversity” assumed to be better for businesses? If this was the case, why are they not doing it already and reaping the rewards?

4. Why is the number of women employed in the financial sector a moral issue? As I’m fond of saying, these people would be better off going to church rather than haranguing the public.

5. What is the basis for the claim that putting more women in senior jobs in the City will increase productivity? And why are firms not doing that already if this is the case?

Responding to the Treasury Committee’s Women in Finance report, the Government accepted MPs’ calls to abolish “alpha male” culture, remove the stigma of flexible working and encourage senior men to lead by example.

Its letter says there is still a “long way to go” for the financial sector to become diverse. “This includes encouraging gender balance at all levels of seniority and focusing on other forms of diversity,” it said.

This story says far less about the role of women in London’s financial sector than the role of women and wet beta males in politics. If politics is downstream of culture, then business is rapidly becoming downstream of politics. And if this is what passes for a Conservative government, there is absolutely no reason to vote for them. None at all.

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The Mindset of a Middle Class Immigrant

A reader sends me this article, written by a British journalist who became an American citizen. I was going to read it all but I felt myself slipping into a coma before I’d even got through a quarter of it, so I’ll just leave you with this:

I have been thinking lately about a letter that I received from President Barack Obama in the fall of 2011.

That year, I was one of roughly six hundred and ninety thousand people to get this letter, along with Certificates of Naturalization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service confirming that, as the President put it, “this great Nation is now your Nation.”

It spoke of the sacrifices made by generations of immigrants who had come to the U.S. in the pursuit of a better future. Obama called it “the price and the promise of citizenship,” and concluded, “We embrace you as a new citizen of our land, and we welcome you to the American family.”

Okay, right. But:

[Trump] tweets about undocumented immigrants ready to “infest” or “invade” the nation, and anyone who takes offense at the suggestion that his words echo Nazi propaganda hasn’t looked at Nazi propaganda of late.

So this new, proud immigrant who America has welcomed with open arms and with the expectation of contributing something positive and upholding responsibilities sees fit to accuse the President of distributing Nazi propaganda. There’s gratitude for you, eh?

I used to say that I was just as American as Sarah Palin. (Now I would say that I am just as American as Donald Trump—or, certainly, as Melania Trump, who also arrived in America as a young woman.) Did I feel like an American? To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, this is what an American feels like. I was one. I am one. Like it or not.

Ah yes, the idea that handing someone a passport simply makes them American, French, or British. How’s that working out for national unity?

Now, in the summer of 2018, thirty years after arriving in New York with two duffel bags and a scholarship from N.Y.U., I am exercising my choice: I’m leaving.

Good news for America I’m sure. The bad news is she’s moving to London.

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Theresa May’s Dancing

There are quite a few people on Twitter laying the boot into Theresa May because she’s been captured on video dancing like the chief accountant at the office party who’s unwisely joined the pretty intern on the dancefloor just before things wrap up. May is currently touring Africa and Africans like to dance, hence everywhere she goes she’s asked to join in and look silly. This is the equivalent of an African prime minister coming to London, being taken down the pub to meet some traditional British yobbos, and asked to join them in necking a pint of ale to chants of “Get it down, you Zulu warrior!” while the world’s press looks on.

Personally, I think we should lay off May in this instance. She looks as though she’s enjoying herself and I don’t find a willingness to look a bit foolish in the company of foreign hosts to be a bad thing. It’s not like she’s gone the whole hog and acted the complete clown like Justin Trudeau did, or is dancing because she wants to get down wiv da kidz and show how modern she is. In fact, I think the whole thing makes her look a little more human and – dare I say it? – more likeable. And it’s not like us Brits are fantastic dancers, is it? I can perhaps forgive an Argentinian or Brazilian making fun of May’s dancing, but it’s not unusual when Brits dance for furniture to get knocked over. How many of those laying into May’s performance could do any better?

No, May’s awkward dancing at the behest of her African hosts is not something to criticise her for. Instead, let’s hold her feet to the fire over her endorsement of the South African government’s campaign of land appropriation, her betrayal of Brexit, and her overall appalling leadership.

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Corbyn isn’t the problem, his supporters are

Sometime last year three Turkish people I knew visited Jordan on holiday. Everywhere they went they found the locals, upon learning they were Turkish, would get all excited and say:

“Oh we love Erdogan! We love how he stands up to the Israelis!”

This despite Jordan’s rather sketchy record when it comes to Palestinian refugees, the PLO, and occupying land. Now there is every chance these locals were Palestinians, but my acquaintances said it is now common to hear similar sentiments in Turkey. In particular, they like this performance:

The fact is, regardless of where you go in the Middle East and certain other regions, bashing Israel is hugely popular. More often than not, this equates to simple Jew-bashing. Yes, there are many legitimate complaints which can be leveled at Israel and criticising Israel does not in itself make one anti-semitic. However, if the only country in the world whose existence you dispute happens to be the Jewish one, and you sound as though you’re reading from a Hamas pamphlet when the subject comes up, people will draw their own conclusions. And for Turks to complain about the occupation and oppression of Palestinians is a little ironic, especially given how much their dear leader admires the Ottomans. As usual, the problem is not that Palestinians are oppressed, but that it is Jews doing the oppressing.

Which brings me onto this:

Jeremy Corbyn said he was present but not involved at a wreath-laying for individuals behind the group that carried out the Munich Olympic massacre, a partial admission that led to a row between him and Israel’s prime minister.

The Labour leader had been asked if Palestinian leaders linked to the Black September terror group were also honoured at a memorial event he attended in Tunisia in 2014, at which victims of the 1985 Israeli airstrike in Tunis were remembered.

Corbyn said “a wreath was indeed laid” for “some of those who were killed in Paris in 1992” and added, in response to a question: “I was present at that wreath-laying, I don’t think I was actually involved in it.”

The hard-left in Europe and elsewhere has always been anti-Israel, partly because they took their lead from the Soviets who had an interest in undermining America’s ally in the Middle East. Coupled with that, you have the left-wing suspicion of Jewish bankers, businessmen, and media moguls who supposedly run the world and conspire to thwart the success of glorious socialist revolutions. The latter is where they share common ground with the hard-right: go on any alt-right or MAGA blog and within three comments someone is writing a thousand-word paragraph on the Rothschilds.

Jeremy Corbyn is famous for being a hard-left outsider, and being anti-Israeli is near enough compulsory in those circles and if this stems from anti-semitism, then so be it. Certainly, nobody’s going to complain. Only now Corbyn has found himself leader of the Labour party people are appalled at his behaviour, but I fear they have missed the point. What they should be asking is why someone who lays wreaths at the graves of dead terrorists is enjoying so much support, and the answer – as our Turks traveling in Jordan discovered – is that this sort of thing is popular among determined and vocal minorities everywhere. There’s no point blaming the preacher when so many people are tripping over themselves to hear the sermon.

Corbyn has never been interested in building a broad coalition, and he wouldn’t know how to even if he was. Like George Galloway, his shtick is to pander to a select audience and thrive on the notoriety it generates. He knew exactly what he was doing when he laid that wreath, just as he did when he defended the IRA and invited Sinn Fein to Parliament. The reason why his denials are so nonsensical is because he needs to say just enough to get rid of the reporter and move onto the next question without disappointing his core supporters who fully approve of his actions. The fact is, Corbyn’s just doing what he’s always done, only now it’s a lot more popular.

So rather than demanding Corbyn resign – why should he? – those concerned should ask how laying a wreath at the grave of Islamic terrorists became a sensible political act for the leader of Britain’s opposition. In other words, who is supporting this stuff, and in what numbers? It’s not difficult to find some pasty white septuagenarian at a protest or online ranting about the Jews, and some younger lefties may have swelled their ranks recently, but these people have always been at the fringes of British political life. So what’s different now? How come blatant anti-semitism in a major British political party is nowadays no longer something over which the leader should resign, but a source of much of their popularity? This is the elephant in the room that, for all their outrage, the media and political classes don’t want to address.

It used to be one had to travel to the Middle East to find people supporting a mainstream political leader solely because they sided against Israel and the Jews. Now we can find it in Britain, and those squawking the loudest about this state of affairs are usually those who did so much to bring it about.

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Boris and the Burqa

Something Donald Trump is very good at, and I’m sure he does it deliberately, is forcing his opponents to defend the indefensible. Probably the best example is when he referred to members of MS-13 – a particularly vicious Salvadoran gang who hack off people’s heads – as “animals”, causing liberals to line up and attack him over his choice of words. Ordinary Americans, who hitherto had thought MS-13 an element both sides could agree was beyond the pale, watched with interest as Democrats went on television to defend them. Yes, these guys:

Now I am sure Boris Johnson was looking to provoke when he likened women in burqas to letterboxes, but this could have been straight out of Trump’s playbook: it appears rather a lot of people who don’t like Johnson, i.e. remainers, wet Tories, and lefties have taken to social media to call him racist and, incredibly, defend the burqa. Meanwhile, ordinary people who are getting rather irritated by the increasingly common sight of burqa-clad women wandering through British streets can scarcely believe what they’re seeing. Never one to miss an opportunity to shoot another of her own toes off, Theresa May has waded in – as usual on the wrong side. Given Johnson might well challenge May for the Prime Minister’s job over the next few weeks, this can only be to his advantage.

I think as the ruling classes, media, and their metropolitan cheerleaders become ever-more out of touch, provoking them into a succession of Marie Antoinette moments will become a common tactic for populist politicians. I expect Johnson in this case stumbled upon it in the course of his usual trouble-making, but he and others must surely have noted the own-goal his opponents have subsequently scored. They will also be aware of Trump’s antics, and how effective they are. So I think we’ll see more of this; Lord knows, there are enough topics on which one could state a blunt opinion and have most of the country nodding in agreement while the chattering classes go into yet another meltdown.

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Why actors should stick to reading from scripts

While I was writing my post about The Death of Stalin I came across this interview with Jason Isaacs, who plays Marshall Zhukov. It starts well enough, but pretty soon we get this from Isaacs after the interviewer successfully turns the whole thing into an exercise in Trump-bashing:

Well, the question we get the most now is if [Iannucci] made this [film] about President Trump. The answer is no. It’s timeless. It’s about any time there’s a situation where there’s irrational and terrifying behavior happening. One of the things about the film that I think has worked so well for audiences is that although it’s specifically about the panic and terror in the shadows of Stalin – and the power vacuum that emerged when he died – it’s applicable to so many other situations and so many different countries and politicians of all stripes. We made it in June 2016, so at the time, it felt like it was about Brexit.

Sure, the height of Stalin’s terror was just like Brexit. Little wonder actors are considered to be nothing more than people paid to read someone else’s words while looking beautiful. He goes on:

I think many people understand there was a big smoke-and-mirrors act just over a year ago and that the person in the White House is not who he said he was and is unable to do the things he said he could do.

Erm, he’s Donald Trump. He’s been a household name and media darling since the 1980s. Here’s the next “question”:

It seems like British leaders are acting like the adults in the room when it comes to anything Russia-related in comparison to Trump.

Yeah? Here’s a clip of the British defence secretary addressing Russia:

A more child-like performance is hard to imagine. Here’s Isaacs’ response:


Well, we just had a couple of people poisoned on British soil and the Prime Minister (Theresa May) made as strong of a response as she could.

Hurrah for Theresa! But did Russia pay any attention? No.

Every day it seems more surreal and transparent that something really corrupt and dangerous is going on at the heart of American politics.

You mean the attempts by the CIA, FBI, and DoJ to prevent Trump becoming president and unseat him after the election by claiming he’s a Russian agent? Ah no.

It’s important to be reminded that the people who stand up there pretending to be able leaders are often power-grabbing, narcissistic children behind closed doors.

He could easily be describing Obama or the so-called leaders of the EU. Either way, it’s hard to accuse Trump of power-grabbing when he seems keen on rolling back executive overreach, reducing the authority of bodies like the EPA, and returning power to Congress.

Knowing that, we can then interpret that and act accordingly.

Indeed, it’s best you stick to acting. Isaacs’ portayal of Zhukov was good, but I suspect the great Marshall would be a little disappointed he’s being played by someone so dim, and more than a little wet.

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Tommy Robinson’s Appeal

In late May I said the following regarding the arrest and imprisonment of Tommy Robinson:

Robinson has not been arrested for filming outside a court building, he’s been arrested because he embarrasses the ruling classes.

The fact Robinson was originally arrested for breach of the peace and later that changed to prejudicing a trial shows the authorities aren’t really interested in what they charge him with provided he ends up behind bars.

Whereas one could have expected the usual suspects to be chortling with glee over Robinson’s predicament, I felt rather too many people who ought to have defended him were secretly glad he’d been found guilty of contempt of court because that meant they didn’t have to. A lot of people thought, provided he’d been found guilty by a judge, then guilty he was even though it was obvious that the whole thing stank to high heaven. At best, one could see Robinson had been singled out for punishment; at worst, one suspected the police and judiciary were under political orders to get Robinson behind bars ASAP.

I knew it was bad, but I only began to understand just how bad when I listened to James Delingpole’s podcast with Canadian conservative Ezra Levant: his description of Tommy Robinson’s treatment at the hands of the British state sounds like something from a Cold War documentary about Eastern Europe. I urge you to listen to it, just to get an idea of what a stitch up it was. It is an absolute, utter disgrace and as Levant asks, where were the media in all of this? Where was Amnesty International, who worked so tirelessly on behalf of the jihadists in Guantanamo Bay? Or Reporters Without Borders, who seem awfully silent on the fact a man was jailed for making a video on his iPhone on public property outside a court. The reason is these sorts of organisations are made up of people who, secretly and not so secretly, are happy he’s behind bars. Whatever principles these organisations adopted got jettisoned a long time ago, and we should remember that whenever they’re cited as a moral authority on anything.

Anyway, I’d just finished listening to the Delingpole podcast when I saw on the news that Robinson had been released after appealing his most recent sentence. The full judgement is here, and it makes for grim reading if you’re someone who wishes to convince others that Britain isn’t becoming a banana republic. Consider this:

The appellant, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who uses the pseudonym Tommy Robinson
for political purposes, was committed to prison for a total of 13 months on 25 May 2018
for breach of an order made under section 4(2) of the 1981 Act.

Imprisoning someone for 13 months for contempt of court is unprecedented and, as Levant explains in the podcast, Robinson was moved from HMP Hull to HMP Onley, which is notorious for its Muslim prison gangs. Why he was moved and who authorised it is not public knowledge, but in a country where the process is the punishment, it is impossible to rule out vindictiveness. As such, Robinson had to enter solitary confinement for his own protection; I doubt anyone will be held accountable for this.

Now I don’t have the legal knowledge to do a proper analysis of the appeal court judgement, but this is pretty damning:

At no stage were particulars of the alleged contempt put to the appellant for him to accept or deny them.

For some years now people have expressed deep concern that employees or students suspected of wrong-think have been subject to a Kafkaesque process during which the accused was never told what they did wrong (the case of Lindsay Shepherd is a good example). This method of getting rid of non-conformists is becoming ever-more common, and I’d even argue it’s standard in many large corporations; it certainly seems to be the case in universities. Am I therefore surprised the British judicial system has followed the same path? Given the direction of travel, no I’m not. With people like Blair, Cameron, and May running the country it was only a matter of time.

That hearing began with reference to the appellant’s antecedents and was followed by mitigation.

It seems the judge had already decided Robinson was guilty and all that was left was his counsel to argue mitigation. This is important because many of Robinson’s detractors in the media and elsewhere thought they held a trump card because he’d plead guilty to contempt of court. Turns out, he did no such thing – nor was he even given an opportunity to do so.

Which brings me onto our old friend The Secret Barrister, whose pomposity and sneering at Robinson and his supporters was overlooked by those willing to do so on the grounds that at least the legal analysis was sound. The entire premise of The Secret Barrister’s original post was that objections over Robinson’s treatment were the ill-informed ravings of knuckle-dragging racists and he, a respected barrister with impeccable anti-racist credentials, would explain why they were wrong and it was all above board. But as I said at the time, the purpose of the post was not so much to inform as to signal the author’s virtue, and now he’s been found out big-time. He’s written a post following the appeal court ruling, and if you have the patience to wade through more than four thousand words you finally get to the bit where he says he was wrong:

So I hold my hands up – imperfect information makes for imperfect predictions. But is there a wider issue here, among me and other legal commentators? Were we too quick to dismiss the case with a “nothing to see here” wave of the hand, blinded by the unappealing nature of Robinson’s supporters and the organised maelstrom of fake news stirred up here and abroad? Maybe we were.

Not maybe: you were, and you owe them all an apology. Now either you knew this case stank but you pretended it didn’t, which makes you dishonest. Or you didn’t know what a blind man a mile away could see, which makes you incompetent. Which is it? Sadly, all we get is this:

I’d suggest, self-servingly, that an inaccurate but well-meaning prediction – such as we all make in the courts every day – is lesser a social evil than the deliberate, racially-tinged misinformation campaign that we do our best to counter.

Translation: “Good people like me defending a horrendous perversion of justice that saw a man jailed is less of a social evil than the objections of lower class oiks who were right all along.” And I think that sums up The Secret Barrister and his ilk rather nicely; all those who cited this charlatan’s post as a basis for their own views on Robinson’s imprisonment ought to take a long, hard look at themselves.

On the wider point, what disturbs me most about the actions of the judge who treated the case as a criminal matter, rammed the whole thing through in five hours without due process and tossed Robinson in jail, is that he must have known exactly what he was doing. He must have also known that, should Robinson appeal, he will come in for some heavy criticism. Despite this, he did it anyway, brazenly and blatantly, confident he will face no repercussions and that he will have the full support of the establishment, the media, and the chattering classes. The judge and those whose instructions he was following probably knew Robinson would get out on appeal, but believed the process would be enough of a deterrent for Robinson and others who might also consider embarrassing the ruling classes. And if he got himself beaten up or killed in prison, so much the better. This is not a justice system worthy of the name, and heads should roll. They won’t of course, and the authorities will be better prepared next time they need to silence an inconvenient voice. One lesson they will have learned, much to their delight, is they can count on the full support of a huge number of British people for whom maintaining middle-class sensibilities is more important than justice. I fear we’ve not seen the last of these cases, not by a long shot.

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The last straw? If only.

On the plastic drinking straws ban:

At the center of these conversations is a statistic: Each day, Americans use an estimated 500 million straws. The number has been used to illustrate the scale of the issue and modern society’s reliance on this ubiquitous piece of disposable plastic.

It turns out, however, that the number is imprecise and originates from Milo Cress, a young environmentalist who researched straw usage to come up with the 500 million estimate when he was just nine years old.

As a curious fourth grader who had just started an environmental project to discourage restaurants from providing straws by default, Cress decided to look online to find out how many straws are used each day in the United States. Not being able to find any statistics, he called straw manufacturers directly and estimated the 500 million figure based on numbers they provided him.

What I find most annoying is that the dubious origin of this figure has been known for well over a year, but rarely gets mentioned by those pushing for a ban on plastic straws. Of course, there’s a reason for this: banning plastic straws in developed countries is nothing to do with saving the environment and everything to do with quasi-religious virtue-signalling and prod-nosed busy-bodying. As we’ve seen elsewhere, the pious middle classes have seized upon a product they don’t use and called for it to be banned in order to smooth their passage to whatever they consider an afterlife. Note they don’t campaign for disposable nappies to be banned.

Religious fervour often causes people to behave strangely, and in this regard Californians are trying to outdo everyone else:

The city of Santa Barbara has passed an ordinance that will allow restaurant employees to be punished with up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine after a second offense of giving plastic straws to their customers.

The bill was passed unanimously last Tuesday, and covers bars, restaurants, and other food-service businesses. Establishments will still be allowed to hand out plastic stirrers, but only if customers request them.

And as the article points out:

Oh, and each individual straw counts as a separate infraction, meaning that if someone got busted handing out straws to a table of four people, he or she could end up facing years behind bars.

Bear in mind that California recently decriminilised the act of knowingly infecting a partner with HIV, several cities have refused to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and areas of San Francisco have turned into third-world slums festooned with used needles and human shit.

This business with the drinking straws isn’t an isolated incident, but part of a pattern which can be seen elsewhere. The ruling classes have neither the competence or incentive to tackle serious problems so instead involve themselves with initiatives which solve nothing but make them look useful. They’re further encouraged by a noisy minority of virtue-signalling puritans, almost all of whom work in government, media, or for corporations firmly engaged in moral posturing. In the case of the plastic in the oceans, part of the problem is western countries deciding landfill is evil so encouraging everyone to recycle. Only to get around their own environmental legislation the bulk plastic is shipped to Asia, where a lot of it ends up horsed in the river. Rather than examine their own stupid rules, or put pressure on Africans and Asians to stop chucking crap in the sea, it’s easier to launch social media campaigns clamouring for new laws which further criminalise ordinary people for mundane behaviour. Never mind disabled people rely on plastic drinking straws to consume fluids, as far as Metropolitan mothers groups on Facebook are concerned, they’ll just have to manage somehow.

I see a parallel here with the ludicrous campaign to ban upskirting. This was pushed by privileged middle class women and will consume considerable government resources which could better be spent elsewhere. Like putting a stop, once and for all, to the systematic and widespread abuse of vulnerable young girls in provincial English towns, for instance. Yes, this is still going on and nobody is interested, in part because inconvenient voices are handily drowned out by women demanding special laws because a drunken oaf supposedly took a photo up someone’s skirt in a festival. There is subset of western society which believes the role of government is to intervene on every minor issue over which they wring their hands, no matter how ignorant they are of it. Judging by my own social media feed, a lot this stuff seems to be driven by bored men and women who, lacking the time, talent, or discipline for a proper hobby, jump on these campaigns to give themselves a sense of purpose. Yet at the same time there is far less pressure to solve problems which are certain to have catastrophic consequences: mass immigration, uncontrollable public spending, unaffordable housing, and dangerous social divisions.

It’s often said that a sign of country undergoing improvement is a growing middle class. What I think we’re seeing now is what happens when the middle classes get too big and too comfortable for too long. It won’t end well.

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