Lead, follow, or get out of the damned way

This is interesting:

The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer’s invitation to speak at its 2019 conference after doctors complained about a tweet defending Enoch Powell.

Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the cancellation over her “highly controversial views”.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said “Twitter offence archaeologists” were punishing her.

The RCGP said it “promotes inclusivity” and her views were “too much at odds” with its “core values”.

In his conversation with Jordan Peterson, Milo Yiannopoulos made a remark about this story:

Cambridge University has rescinded its invitation of a visiting fellowship to an academic whose views on gender have been condemned by critics.

University of Toronto psychology professor Dr Jordan Peterson had planned to be with Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity for two months in autumn.

But on Wednesday the university took the invitation back after a review.

A university spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Jordan Peterson requested a visiting fellowship, and an initial offer has been rescinded after a further review.

“[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the university’s students’ union said: “We are relieved to hear that Jordan Peterson’s request for a visiting fellowship to Cambridge’s faculty of divinity has been rescinded following further review.

“It is a political act to associate the University with an academic’s work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson.”

Yiannopoulos rather bluntly said that Peterson had set himself up for this by putting himself out there as a dissident while still wanting to take part in polite society. Milo contrasted Peterson with himself (who else?) who accepted some time ago he was not welcome in polite society so refuses to play on their terms. I thought it was a good point, one Peterson had no response to. I expect this is because Peterson doesn’t consider himself a dissident, thinking himself a moderate centrist who only upsets hard-left snowflakes. The problem is the institutions have lurched so far to the left, and so embraced lunatic progressive ideology (or proven themselves utterly spineless in the face of an SJW mob), that Peterson sits out there with Mussolini as far as they’re concerned.

The same thing has happened with Julia Hartley-Brewer. She wants to be considered a moderate conservative, someone who can hold right wing views but still participate in polite society and be invited to speak at prestigious institutions. She’s not yet understood that in this environment you can’t do both: if you want to swan around people with letters after their name giving talks in old buildings, you’d better adopt progressive ideology wholesale or you’ll find yourself on the end of a humiliating rejection. That she didn’t see this coming speaks volumes for her ability to gauge the current political climate, and no amount of bleating in The Spectator will change that.

Milo pointed out in the podcast that when he got picked off, conservatives said nothing. They then said nothing when Alex Jones and Sargon of Akkad got taken down. If prominent right wingers said anything at all, it was to punch right – as Ben Shapiro habitually does. As I’ve said before, those who consider themselves moderate conservatives police the boundaries of right wing political discourse tightly, afraid of being outflanked by proper conservatives and desperate to retain the lucrative label as an “acceptable” right winger who gets invited onto talk shows. This is why Hartley-Brewer fell over herself to condemn Trump on Twitter last April: she thought it would win her points among her enemies and prove she wasn’t a nasty right winger like that Robinson chap. She was wrong, and what she and other conservatives should have been doing is closing ranks against their enemies on the left, not sucking up to them in the hope the mob won’t stop them getting Establishment favours.

Milo warned Peterson in his podcast that thanks to the disunity and lack of courage on the right, the mob will pick them all off, one by one, including Peterson. He reckoned that Peterson has been allowed to build himself up only because his inevitable fall at the hands of the left wing mob will be that much harder. His point was that Peterson and others have no idea of the battle they are in, and that he should snap out of it if he wishes to save himself a grisly fate. I think he might have been onto something, and even if his predictions are wrong he is correct that conservatives need to start thinking and acting like dissidents, not people desperate to be accepted into institutions which are unrecognisable from their former glories save the buildings. Another example of this muddled, unserious thinking popped up this morning from the normally sensible Eric Weinstein:


The IDW refers to the Intellectual Dark Web, a term used to describe a bunch of moderate academics, commentators, and thinkers who have set themselves up as an antidote to progressive lunacy. Their movement, if that’s what you’d call it, has already suffered a casualty as some of them turned on David Rubin for having Lauren Southern on his podcast, Southern of course being the sort of right winger “acceptable conservatives” consider beyond the pale. Now with Weinstein you’ve got another supposed voice of reason publicly dressing down one of his colleagues for the heinous crime of interviewing the elected president of Hungary. These people are not serious, whereas the left, despite their lunacy, are.

Little wonder the right has lost so badly, and continues to lose. I don’t know who will wrest control of western civilisation back from the Cultural Marxists who currently run it root and branch, but I’m confident it won’t be the “moderate” right wingers who still haven’t understood the nature of the fight they’re in. If I were to guess, it’ll be those who understand the battlefield, refuse to play the game on the left’s terms, and don’t set themselves up for humiliating rejections by trying to ingratiate themselves with those who despise them. They might also be quite unpleasant, but winning ugly is probably the only option left at this point.

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Greens too white

This has all the hallmarks of a shakedown:

The mother of Ella Kissi-Debrah – the nine-year-old girl whose fatal asthma attack may have been linked to illegal levels of pollution – has said there is a lack of representation in climate activism.

People living in parts of London with high proportions of black, mixed or other ethnic groups are disproportionately affected by air pollution compared to those in areas with a high proportion of white people, according to research by the Mayor of London.

In the days of industrialised cities it was true that the poor neighbourhoods were situated downwind of the factories so their air quality was noticeably worse, but today? The pollution in London (and I suspect most modern cities) comes from vehicle exhausts and domestic and commercial boilers (.pdf); what’s the mechanism by which this worsens air quality in boroughs with lots of ethnic minorities?

Yet people from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds are often invisible in climate protest, says Rosamund Kissi-Debrah – who is due to speak at the World Health Organization on Monday.

That’s because it’s predominantly a western, white, middle class female movement which ropes in a lot of hen-pecked husbands and their idiotic Millennial offspring. You might as well complain Chinese are invisible at cricket matches and there are no Indian women at bluegrass jam sessions.

Ms Kissi-Debrah, who lost her daughter in 2013, says black or ethnic minority people care about climate change as much as other groups.

Either this is untrue, or the palefaces erect a phalanx around climate change protests to keep out the swarthy hordes demanding to take part.

Echoing Ms Kissi-Debrah’s comment is Professor Akwugo Emejulu – a sociology lecturer at the University of Warwick specialising in women of colour’s activism in Europe.

A professional race-baiter, in other words.

She says the main reason for what she sees as their lack of representation in activism lies in some of the tactics used by action groups, such as Extinction Rebellion.

That group that popped up out of nowhere a month or so back?

One of the strategies adopted by Extinction Rebellion during their 10-day demonstration in April was to get as many activists as possible arrested.

Prof Emejulu says some black campaigners are put off this approach because they fear violence and hostility from the police.

Because it’s impossible to campaign against climate change without being arrested. It’s either Extinction Rebellion and jail, or nothing.

Samantha Moyo is the coordinator for Extinction Rebellion Together – a section within the group that provides training on diversity.

Meaning the group accepts people from Eton and Harrow.

She says it took a lot of effort to overcome her fear of police when joining protest campaigns.

“I don’t know what it is about being black that makes you feel scared around police,” she said.

Their general incompetence?

“I’ve always got a feeling of, ‘they’re going to get me – out of everyone here, they’re going to come for me’.”

And have they? Or is this just paranoid delusion (or flat out lying) on your part?

Ms Moyo says she only felt safe from police at the latest protests because she was “holding hands with a fellow protester, who was white”.

As the great Chris Rock said, “get a white friend”.

She says police could help to reduce the fear sometimes felt by people of colour if they behaved in a more approachable way.

“Something as simple as a smile. Or maybe something like a declaration from a police department, saying: ‘We admit this has been a problem’, that would be quite healing.

I take it this diversity and policing expert has never seen the MacPherson report.

“Or even allowing or creating spaces for people who are traumatised by police to share their stories.

Have you tried blogger.com?

A lot of people of colour are traumatised.”

Two of them being your parents upon reading this article, I expect.

Kids of Colour – a platform for young ethnic minority people to explore identity and “challenge institutional racism” – says climate protests do not always allow for the realities they face.

To be fair, climate protests are pretty divorced from reality full stop.

School students around the world recently went on strike to demand action on climate change, but some at Kids of Colour question how inclusive the protests were.

Greta Thunberg did look a bit white supremacist-y, didn’t she?

“The school strikes have been fantastic to witness, but it is also a privilege to be able to skip school,” says one representative.

“Many young people of colour feel a pressure to succeed in education because society does not work in their favour.”

If your complaint is that only the spoiled brat offspring of wealthy parents get to flunk school with no consequences, I’m right behind you. But I’m not sure this has a whole lot to do with race.

Economic inequality can be another barrier for people of ethnic and minority backgrounds who are affected by climate change, says Ms Kissi-Debrah.

“Can you imagine giving up 10 days [of work] to sit in central London? It is absolutely not feasible for those in low-paid jobs.

Or any job.

“I’m not saying everyone in Extinction Rebellion is in a privileged situation, but a lot of them were in jobs that make it easier for them to take time off work.”

Such as in academia, NGOs, and the public sector.

The Wretched of the Earth, which describes itself as “a collective of grassroots indigenous, black, brown and diaspora groups”, wrote an open letter to Extinction Rebellion asking the group to rethink its tactics.

Environmentalists often warn that climate change will result in bitter wars over limited resources. What they fail to appreciate is the climate change movement has delivered much the same thing by itself.

While commending Extinction Rebellion’s successes, the letter said ethnic and minority voices were missing from the movement and need to be included early on, in order to effectively challenge systems upholding “racism, sexism and classism”.

To think, this article began with a little girl dying of asthma.

Referencing Miss Thunberg’s “house on fire” analogy, the group said: “Our communities have been on fire for a long time and these flames are fanned by our exclusion and silencing.”

How dare they attack an autistic schoolgirl!

People from BAME backgrounds need to be taken into consideration from the very start, says Prof Emejulu.

Especially when handing out money, power, and privilege.

“It’s not about organising in your own terms and then trying to draw people in. You have to be embedded in the communities with the people that are affected by this.

We can’t be bothered organising ourselves, so we demand you include us in your own activities right from the start.

“It’s also about democracy – if democracy isn’t reflected in your activism then that’s a problem.”

Democracy in this case meaning random, race-hustling outsiders get to tell you what to do.

Ms Moyo says Extinction Rebellion is working on taking action to ensure that people of colour are not being left out.

By including their parents’ housekeepers on the roster?

“I’m excited about what we’re doing,” she says, “because we’ll be raising awareness and providing training around racism, colonialism, systemic trauma and other important issues.”

With a pink yacht on Oxford street.

Greens of Colour is part of the Green Party, aiming to represent BAME members. And Friends of the Earth (FoE) has also acknowledged there is a problem with diversity in climate debates.

How diverse are the donors, I wonder?

In particular, says an FoE spokeswoman, groups need to be better at recruitment and “bringing people in that the sector hasn’t done very much to interest”.

Sane people?

FoE now gives potential supporters a variety of ways to join and tries to make sure they see their experiences reflected in campaigns.

A campaign against polar bear extinction from the perspective of a middle class race-hustler from London would be worth watching, I feel.

The spokeswoman adds: “But we own that we have a long way to go.”

And you always will, because it will never be enough. For my part, I’m delighted by this development: the more these idiotic progressives fight among each other, the better. More please, and faster.

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The lowest house

As many people have said over the past couple of years, all the Democrats need to do to win back the presidency in 2020 is to not be insane. It appears to be proving easier said than done:

A US House of Representatives panel has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not releasing an unredacted copy of the report on Russian election meddling.

The judiciary committee took the rare step as tensions rose over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.

Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr, one of Mr Trump’s sons, to legally force him to testify. It is the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family in connection with the investigation.

The Democrats placed a large bet on the ridiculous notion that Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin, and it’s failed to come off. In fact, they probably knew it wasn’t true and the whole Mueller investigation was just the tool with which they hoped something would be dug up which could be used to impeach Trump, but despite his very best efforts, the special counsel came up with nothing of substance. Trump didn’t collude with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential election, and the instances of obstruction of justice contained in the report consist of Trump shooting his mouth off like he normally does (while not following through) in the absence of any underlying crime.

What the Democrats should have done is put this catastrophe behind them and quickly move on. A large number of ordinary Americans were already weary of the Mueller probe and its hampering effect on Trump’s presidency, and in the wake of the report it’s hard to imagine anyone outside a tiny minority of anti-Trump fanatics have the stomach for another year of this pantomime. Unfortunately, rather a lot of Democrat politicians make up that minority, as do their media mouthpieces, and are determined to flog this dead horse right up until the 2020 election. For them, getting rid of Trump has become such an obsession they’ve forgotten the best way to do it is to not come across as fanatical, vindictive lunatics in the 18 months before an election. I suspect most Americans are severely unimpressed by what they’re seeing here.

The other problem the Democrats have is the likes of terrorist-supporting Ilhan Omar and Palestinian activist Rashida Tlaib are laying into Israel with little attempt to distinguish their criticism from bog-standard, anti-Jew hatred while the party leadership utters not a whisper of condemnation. That you or I may disagree over whether their remarks constitute antisemitism or legitimate criticism doesn’t matter when an awful lot of Democrat-voting American Jews are listening in horror, first at the comments themselves and then at the silence that follows. It is unlikely that these people will switch their allegiance to Republican but it might cause a lot of Jews to stay at home, unable to bring themselves to vote for a party which not only includes antisemites but actively promotes them. The 2020 election is likely to be a close-run thing, and both sides need every vote they can get.

Two and a half years into the Trump administration the Democrats should have a very strong hand, but they’ve dealt themselves a weak one. They’ve now decided to play it very badly.

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Jess Flips

The British police, in the course of acting as street muscle for their wet political masters, beclown themselves further:

Police are looking into remarks by UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin after Labour MP Jess Phillips accused him of malicious communications.

Mr Benjamin, who is standing in the European elections, tweeted that he “wouldn’t even rape” Ms Phillips.

He has refused to apologise for the remark made in 2016, arguing that “any subject can be the subject of a joke.”

I’m not going to defend the remark, but it is three years old. The reason Phillips is blubbering to the police now is because Benjamin is running for political office at the same time her own profile is increasing. Launching police investigations in order to sandbag anti-establishment political campaigns is nothing new, but they were previously confined to tinpot nations. Secondly, when is saying you wouldn’t commit a crime now a crime? Is it all in the context? Because when Count Dankula was found guilty, it was ruled that context doesn’t matter. Not for the first time are the British authorities demonstrating they’re happy to just make things up as they go in order to protect the ruling classes.

Ms Phillips told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she “cried in the street” after hearing a video by him.

She said that until then she “had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope”.

So the remark wasn’t even made to her face. To think, there are credulous fools out there who think this thick, weak, vulgar harridan who conforms to all the stereotypes foreigners have about British women is future prime minister material.

The Birmingham MP has called for people who “promote rape and sexual violence” to have a lifetime ban from running for elected office.

Frankly, I’d rather have an established Ministry of Raping, Pillaging, and Looting* than see citizens banned from running for office because they use unapproved words. Benjamin’s remark was distasteful in the extreme, but what Phillips is proposing here is something straight out of the worst dictatorships.

The MP for Birmingham Yardley told Victoria Derbyshire she did not fear for her physical safety, but worried for her mental health after thousands of messages from Twitter users attacking her in the last year alone.

“Sometimes I would rather someone punch me in the face than the constant degradation you suffer as a woman in the public eye,” she said. “It is constant, it constantly belittles you, it makes you blame yourself.”

It’s not because you’re a woman, it’s because you’re a nasty piece of work.

On Mr Benjamin, she said she could not understand how a person who wrote the comments online was allowed to run to be an MEP.

This itself should disqualify her from public office. When people talk about the decay of political morality in Britain, Carl Benjamin is probably a symptom. Jess Phillips and her ilk are very much the cause.

* We could just rename HMRC, I suppose.

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Master and Apprentice

I don’t see what the problem is here, frankly:

Turkey’s electoral body has been condemned for ordering Istanbul’s local elections to be re-held after an opposition victory in March.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party had claimed there were “irregularities and corruption” behind the opposition CHP’s slim win.

But CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu, who was confirmed as Istanbul’s mayor in April, called the decision “treacherous”.

The vote, which will be held on 23 June, has sparked protests in the city.

Maybe the good citizens of Istanbul didn’t really know what they were voting for? Or perhaps the election was merely advisory? Maybe people were lied to (was there a bus involved)? As Erdogan says, there were “irregularities” and now everyone is better informed, isn’t it only right they go back for another vote “just to be sure”? After all, it’s a big decision and people have a right to change their mind. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it?

The European Parliament also said the decision to re-run the election would end the credibility of democratic elections in Turkey.

The EU has always encouraged Turkey to catch up with the rest of Europe. Maybe this is what they’re doing?

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Who’s the new girl?

A reader alerts me to the existence of a listed company called Regeneration Rethought – U+I. Aside from having a name which makes ChangeUK The Independent Group sound catchy, we learn they are:

a property developer and investor focused on regeneration.

with:

a £9.5 billion+ portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community focused regeneration projects including a £145.7 million investment portfolio in the London City Region, Manchester and Dublin.

So they’re a multi-billion dollar property development outfit. Okay, fair enough. On 3rd April 2019, they appointed a new non-executive director, Professor Sadie Morgan. Here’s what the press release said:

The role will oversee delivery of U+I’s commitments to community engagement in PPP projects, as well as also oversee the establishment of a workforce advisory panel, in accordance with new governance regulations, to support employee engagement and membership of an internal design panel – all intended to reinforce U+I’s commitments to talent, creativity and community.

Ah, so this company is big into PPP – public-private partnerships – whereby the government gets capital expenditure off its books by signing dubious long-term contracts with favoured companies to provide government services.

Prof. Morgan is a founding director of dRMM Architects and Stirling prize winner. And she is Professor of professional practice at Westminster University. She chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed 2, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, and is one of ten commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission. Prof. Morgan is also one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates for the Greater London Authority.

Ah yes, High Speed 2, that shining example of slick project execution and sound financial stewardship. And how handy that someone so close to government decision-makers in the fields of property development and planning should find themselves on the board of a large private property developer! So what will Prof. Morgan bring to the table in return for her undoubtedly hefty pay packet, aside from a direct line to the decision-makers in local government?

“I am delighted to be taking on this ground-breaking role. I was brought up in a co-operative community in Kent that had been set up by my grandfather, and so I grew up with a real sense of inclusion, purpose, community and responsibility. This appointment allows me to help U+I turn those beliefs and commitments into action involving what will, I am sure, be major schemes of huge importance to the communities involved.”

Paragraphs of leaden, jargon-filled corporate-speak which reads as though it were churned out by an algorithm created by someone who grew up in locked shed with a nothing but a pile of local government newsletters for entertainment. But it’s not all bad news: we don’t need to worry ourselves about human trafficking or slavery:

U+I believes that the detection and reporting of slavery and human trafficking is the responsibility of all employees. During the year all employees were required to undertake specific training with regards to Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking. In addition, all new employees are required to complete this training as part of their induction process. Should any employee have a suspicion of slavery or human trafficking in any part of the business or supply chain they are encouraged to raise this at the earliest opportunity.

Why do I get the impression this is more serving the interests of those giving the training than anyone being enslaved or trafficked?

We are committed to ensuring that human trafficking and slavery play no part in any activities carried out by U+I or our supply chain.

That’s a relief, but why use slaves anyway when you have taxpayers?

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Refusal Accepted

It appears Jeremy Corbyn has refused to attend a banquet with Donald Trump when he visits the UK in June, leading to a lot of tweets like this one:


This is the wrong approach. As I’ve written recently, there is no point in trying to shame the utterly shameless or point to the hypocrisy of people with no principles whatsoever. Nobody who currently supports Corbyn would care if he was caught stealing jewelry from the museum cases at Auschwitz, and they’d bend over backwards to excuse him.

The better response would be to say:

“Why do you assume Trump has any interest in meeting you? Does he even know who you are?”

If we had a Tory party that wasn’t gelded, someone would say this in parliament.

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Articulated Laurie

This tweet from Laurie Penny is interesting:


For all her pretensions of being a rebel, Laurie Penny – the private school and Oxford educated darling of the left and writer for New Statesman – is very much part of the Establishment. Almost every institution in the land has been captured by those whose views she shares, or which sit further to the left than her own. The polyamory, the red hair, the profanity, the hardcore feminism, all point to dreary woke conformism rather than rebellion, which is why she gets invited onto the BBC and other mainstream media outlets that wouldn’t touch genuine dissidents with a barge pole.

What’s got her worried is she and her ilk thought by capturing the institutions they’d won the war and secured the peace. But just as American soldiers came to learn that taking nameless hilltops didn’t defeat the North Vietnamese, the Establishment is now seeing their fortresses bypassed, overflown, and undermined by guerrilla warfare. They thought they had complete control and under the old rules they did, but the game has changed and power is increasingly moving away from the centralised institutions in the manner Laurie describes perfectly in her tweet. Which is why she’s worried. Who do you think will have more influence in the next decade: podcasters like Joe Rogan or Independent columnists like Laurie Penny?

The bit she’s got wrong is that this is not fascism, it’s a reaction to the wholesale takeover of the Establishment by the forces of the left. She’s calling it fascism because she has no idea how to counter it, and hopes by pointing to imaginary Nazi flags the ruling classes will launch Operation Rolling Thunder. And look how well that turned out. For all Laurie’s self-declared progressivism, she’s actually a reactionary, terrified of losing the power and prestige she’s accumulated under an outdated system whose foundations are crumbling beneath her. The irony is she’s as much to blame for the demise of the old system and the birth of the new one as any.

More please, and faster.

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Greta Morozov

Last week a bunch of posh kids held a demonstration in London under the banner of an organisation calling itself Extinction Rebellion. Their aims are drearily predictable: obtaining political power for themselves to enact sweeping, authoritarian economic and social policies under the pretence of environmental concern. In other words they’re just another unit off an ageing production line, about as unique as a Michelin tyre but not half as interesting.

The demonstration and other stunts caused severe disruption to people trying to go about their daily lives, which the participants justified by saying everyone needs to be made aware of climate change. Several people complained the police just stood idly by and allowed public roads to be blocked, and asked whether Brexit demonstrators would be afforded the same courtesy. The answer of course is no, because Extinction Rebellion demonstrates in support of the establishment viewpoint whereas a Brexit protest would run in precisely the opposite direction. The police are hardly going to be ordered to beat up a bunch of floppy-haired teenagers who want the government to have more power, no matter how annoying they are. Extinction Rebellion’s actions are about as subversive as the May Day parades in the former Soviet Union.

In case we hadn’t been patronised by spoiled teenagers quite enough, British parliamentarians invited an odd-looking sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl dressed up to look about ten to lecture us on how bad we are:

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has described the UK’s response to climate change as “beyond absurd”.

In a speech to MPs, the Swedish 16-year-old criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions.

She was invited to Westminster after inspiring the school climate strikes movement.

There’s a lot to say here, and I’ll say it.

Firstly, there’s a good reason why political campaigners have chosen an autistic child as their front: it makes people reluctant to criticise her. As the past couple of days have shown, anyone challenging her scripted nonsense is shouted down for being mean to a child with mental problems. Whoever put her up to this – and it seems to be her parents – ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is bordering on child abuse.

Secondly, any adult who takes their political lead from a sixteen year old ought to quit whatever they’re doing and seek help. Similarly, adults who find a teenager manipulated into regurgitating boilerplate climate hysteria “inspiring” are probably those who think their own brat’s spelling test results are newsworthy. Politicians are a little different in that they like her for the same reason they support Extinction Rebellion: she is arguing in favour of their being given more powers. Just as young Pavel Morozov‘s narcissism served the interests of Soviet politicians, so this child’s serves the interests of ours.

Thirdly, what she’s actually saying is emotive, irrational nonsense. The UK, and the west in general, has not “done nothing” about climate change, and her predictions for the future ought to have interested a child psychologist long before now. Not a single person has challenged her on this. And if leaving a ticking time bomb for children is a concern, how come her focus is not on the national debt? Realistically, what is likely to be the larger handicap we’re passing down to future generations: a one and a half degree temperature rise or tens of thousands of dollars in debt hung around the neck of every newborn baby? We’re stealing children’s futures all right, but not by driving cars.

Fourthly, her supporters say she is doing valuable work in raising awareness of climate change. They’ve offered the same excuse on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, only I can’t think of a single issue given more prominence in my lifetime. Every aspect of our society and culture, every corporation, every government, every event and every activity comes with some reference or other to climate change. It even has its own UN agency. It’s as ubiquitous as a state religion, and we are constantly lectured on the subject from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, seven days a week with no break even for Christmas. Saying British people need more awareness of climate change is like saying North Koreans need more awareness of the Kim family. We are plenty aware, we just don’t agree sweeping authoritarian socialism is the answer, and sticking teenagers in front of us who look as though they wandered off the set of Deliverance and got lost isn’t going to persuade us any.

Finally, this whole circus is merely a symptom of the political malaise which infests the UK and wider developed world. As with the treachery and incompetence over Brexit, I am reluctant to place the blame for Greta Thunberg’s being permitted to address parliament wholly on the politicians responsible for it; they are merely the representatives of a ruling class who are as incompetent as they are corrupt as they are immoral, backed by a section of the population born into circumstances which never required them to acquire self-awareness or make difficult decisions. This Swedish brat demanding we pay her attention and organise our nation’s affairs in a way which meets her approval is one thing. That our politicians, media, and substantial numbers of adults at large in our society see fit to accommodate her is something else. Serious countries would not involve teenagers in the setting of public policy, especially foreign ones. Serious countries would never find themselves even being asked to.

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Unbecoming

The Independent, perhaps forgetting it’s supposed to report news, runs an advertorial on behalf of Michelle Obama, the feminist icon who would be completely unknown were it not for her husband holding high office.

The former first lady juxtaposed the Donald Trump administration to Barack Obama’s presidency during a wide-ranging interview on Sunday to promote her autobiography Becoming in London, venting her frustrations at the president’s decision to radically overhaul her husband’s legacy.

There was a time when former presidents – and by implication, their wives – refrained from criticising their successors. Michelle Obama doesn’t only criticise the current president, but she goes on a world tour to do it, whining about her husband’s “legacy”. I’m not seeing a lot of that “class and grace” here.

Ms Obama took aim at the billionaire property developer in a series of jibes during which she did not mention him by name. “For anyone who had any problems with Barack Obama, let’s just think about what we were troubled by – there were never any indictments,” she told a crowd of around 15,000 at the O2.

Which is more a reflection on the African-style corruption your husband brought to the US Department of Justice and security services than his behaviour in office.

The Chicago native, who was interviewed by US late-night host Stephen Colbert, jokingly compared the US with Mr Trump in the White House to being a teenager.

I see. “When they go low, we go high” has become “I’ll go low to make some money.”

“We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled,” Ms Obama said. “Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun but then you get sick. That is what America is going through. We are living with divorced dad.”

This is an interesting analogy, and I have an idea why she picked it. Barack Obama is a living, breathing, example of what happens to a boy when his dad walks out on the family. From the desperate hunting for an identity with different names and an ever-changing backstory to writing whole books about him in the hope of gaining approval, not to mention the pettiness of many of his actions in office, I think Michelle might be projecting just a little bit here.

Ms Obama, who has been married to the former president for 27 years, said her family’s life had been profoundly different before entering the White House – describing them as a “normal family” who had no time to “adjust to the rarified air of politics” when they arrived in Washington.

Which explains the entourage of taxpayer-funded servants and lackeys which made the global tours of Diana Ross look frugal by comparison.

“We were always ourselves – the presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” she added in what appeared to be another dig at the current president.

For a supposedly smart woman she’s really bad at commentary. Donald Trump hasn’t changed one jot since entering office: he was a jerk before and he’s a jerk now. Nobody who knew Trump while he was a household name for three decades has noticed any sea-change in character; indeed, the only thing which seems to change is his wife. Whereas what did Obama becoming president reveal about him? That for all his hopey-changey rhetoric he was miles out of his depth, unable to make the leap from community organiser to statesman and from campaigning to governing, leaving behind a country torn apart by identity politics.

“I don’t know if there has been a president who has been accused of not being born in this country? Who has been asked to show his transcripts? Who has been accused of being unpatriotic? There was a lot of stuff that had not happened before that happened to us.”

I don’t know if there has been an American president subject to a rearguard coup by the outgoing administration. Once again, this is more the type of thing you see in Africa. Did you write about that in your book, Michelle?

“For eight years, the president they saw in their country was Barack Obama. He was somebody who people thought was smart and would do the right thing.”

Yeah, and look what happened instead. Michelle Obama is living proof that the left really need cult leaders in their lives, telling them what they want to hear while painting a comforting alternate version of reality. It beats me why they ever stopped going to church.

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