Body Che

Studying in Geneva I have occasion to cross paths with the sort of people who work in the supranational bodies headquartered here, including the various branches of the UN. They display a lofty air as they casually discuss their proposals on reshaping global society, dismissing the concerns of ordinary people as a simple matter of “lack of education”. Perhaps if the British had explained themselves more clearly they might still have an Empire? I blame the impenetrable provincial accents and a refusal on the part of uppity natives to learn from their masters.

Anyway, something I’ve come to realise is the more self-righteous and sure of their virtues a person is, the more likely they are to hold moral values ranging from questionable to despicable. I was therefore unsurprised to see this:


You can be sure the people who approved a flattering picture of Che Guevara for display in the United Nations building in Geneva make all the right noises in polite company regarding Donald Trump, Brexit, and gender equality. I have an opportunity to visit this place soon: I think I’ll pass.

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Carp Diem

They just can’t help themselves:

Michael McFaul was the American Ambassador to Russia under Obama when US-Russian relations collapsed to new lows. According to Wikipedia:

As ambassador he was often controversial, meeting with Russian pro-democracy activists and commenting frequently on Twitter in English and Russian

It doesn’t surprise me this idiot didn’t know the difference between diplomacy and activism. After all, his boss didn’t know the difference between politicking and governance. Nowadays McFaul spends his entire time carping from the sidelines about Trump, being fawningly retweeted by elitist tossers like Oliver Kamm.

The fact is, the ruling classes can’t bear to see Trump even attempt something they failed at, let alone succeed. The BBC ran a headline yesterday calling him “the biggest loser” from the collapse of the talks. The sneering is obscene. Nobody has managed to make any tangible progress on the North Korean problem since 1953, and everyone has either tried and failed or ignored it altogether (e.g. Obama). Trump is at least trying something new and, as Natalie Solent points out over at Samizdata, walking away from a bad deal is not a sign of weakness, let alone something to be sneered at.

That said, I don’t like this at all:


I suspect – and fervently hope – Trump is using flattery as a negotiating tactic to try to achieve a breakthrough, and doesn’t actually believe this. While this may be worthy of criticism, his overall efforts are not. That they are subject to such scorn and contempt from establishment figures says much more about them than Trump.

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Loyal Welsh Show

The Welsh seem to be doing pretty well at sport recently. Having thumped England at rugby at the weekend, we also have a Welsh holder of the Tour de France crown. When Aaron Ramsey moves to Juventus next season he will become only the second Brit after Gareth Bale to be playing top-flight football abroad: both are Welshmen.

Unfortunately, such success seems to have done little for Welsh confidence. Last week a celebrity chef did a TV show and got some things wrong about Welsh geography. Welsh Twitter went mental, which is what prompted the Times article I responded to on Friday. This is how one person on Twitter reacted:


This are not the words of someone who is comfortable being Welsh. If a huge part of your identity is dependent on what other people think of you, you’re not very confident as a people. I’ve often thought that if the English suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke, the Irish would have to invent new ones: as Brexit has shown, they simply can’t imagine themselves without referring to the great oppressor next door. By contrast, can you imagine a Frenchman caring that a Brit got their geography completely wrong? Or a Dutchman being cross that nobody seems to know the difference between Holland and The Netherlands? If anything they’d laugh.

Alas, it seems the Welsh have looked at the Irish and Scots and decided there is political mileage in seeking offence and victim-status. Over the course of my Twitter conversations I heard numerous references to English “colonisers”, and Wales being little more than a colony of England, a view which casually overlooks that the Welsh and English have been politically, economically, and socially integrated pretty much since William the Conqueror. It appears the nationalist movement is a lot stronger than when I was growing up, and people like me who are happy for Wales to be part of the UK are denounced as “Brit Nats” (this term was new to me).

I asked a few people what the economic basis of an independent Wales would be. One said that water would be the strategic resource underpinning the exchequer, if only Wales were allowed to charge full price for it. Now I know the giant Welsh reservoirs supply plenty of English homes, but I’m not sure a London government would just cave in to a Dai Putin threatening to turn off the supply; more likely, they’d ship a few economics textbooks to Cardiff and build more reservoirs. Whatever the cost and inconvenience, England will not die of thirst without Wales. Then I got this response:


While it is true that Wales produces a lot of electricity which is sent to England, Siberia produces lots of gas which is sent to Moscow. You produce where it is convenient and you send it to where it is needed. Wales hoarding electricity makes no more sense than Siberians hoarding gas. There’s also the problem that most of the electricity generated in Wales comes from coal and gas-fired stations. Both are imported fuels, so basically Wales serves as the place to house the turbines. This is an interesting definition of a country being “energy rich”. Alas, I expect my correspondents above have no idea how electricity is generated; they’ve just seen that Welsh power stations export to England and think it represents a geopolitical advantage which could underpin an independent nation. That England could build its own power stations (green idiocy notwithstanding) and import coal Australian coal and Qatari gas directly doesn’t seem to have occurred to them.

Having been through the mill of Welsh nationalist Twitter over the past few days, I am happy about the rugby result but I think a chef making a goof on a TV show is the least of their problems.

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Welsh Rabid

An odd thing happened on Twitter this morning. Oliver Kamm posted a link to this article  in The Times:

Anyone can make a mistake but Welsh viewers are entitled to expect media figures to do their homework. It’s not just a matter of pedantry or even manners. There’s a history of incomprehension and outsiders should be sensitive to it.

It is more than half a millennium since Henry Tudor, a Welshman, was crowned King of England. His son, Henry VIII, initiated the Act of Union between England and Wales in 1536. Yet in the centuries since, Wales has not always been perceived as the equal partner it should be.

The media screws up everything it touches, and one of the things that grates me most about what I see of the modern Welsh is how quickly they claim victimhood for the slightest transgression. I was born in Wales and grew up there, and I find it irritating how ultra-defensive the Welsh get if they perceive someone has slighted them in any way. The other thing that irritates me is the narrative that Welsh heritage was ubiquitous, and ignores the fact there were pockets – such as South Pembrokeshire where I grew up – which were as much English as Welsh, and that much of what is associated with Wales is a recent invention: the flag was adopted in 1959, and the national costume dates from the Victorian era. I’m of the opinion if the Welsh want outsiders to take them more seriously – which they do – they need to stop writing their history on the fly. So I made this point:


This caused a riot on my timeline, mainly with people telling me the name Hwlfordd – the town’s Welsh name – is attested to the 14th century. Maybe it is, but it seems to be a corruption of the English name and nobody’s presented any evidence anyone called it that. There are also plenty of other place names in South Pembrokeshire which are English with no historical Welsh translation, but I am told:


I grew up in this place and never heard that; this sounds to me like Welsh history being re-written for an age where everyone must be a victim. What was revealing about my timeline is the viciousness of the responses; the slightest criticism of this increasingly ahistorical narrative about Welsh heritage unleashes a barrage of abuse. Bizarrely, I was then asked to defend the practice of translating Welsh names into English with even a BBC presenter wading in:

One of the things I noticed is the assumption I can’t be really be from Wales because I dare to criticise the dual-naming policy. I can’t find it any more, but I once saw a video of a prominent Welshman in the 1960s expressing his disappointment at the increase of Welsh nationalism. He believed Welshmen should go out and conquer the world, and that the results of government efforts to “restore” Welsh heritage would end up with the country becoming parochial, inward-looking, and ultimately unwelcoming. Was he wrong? I don’t think so.

UPDATE

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a BBC presenter is being disingenuous in ascribing to me an argument I have not made:


 

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Kitchen Sink

Few things look more obviously fake than millionnaire politicians doing a photoshoot to show they’re really just like us. In 2015, then-Labour leader Ed Miliband did a photoshoot of he and his wife relaxing in their kitchen:

Which raised a few eyebrows given the house was worth about £2m. Turns out it was a second kitchen used for preparing snacks, and the real kitchen would have been rather more grand. Oddly enough, holding a photoshoot in the butler’s pantry to demonstrate his earthly connections didn’t work out too well for Miliband.

A couple of days ago Democrat presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand invited photographers into her large, pristine Washington, D.C. kitchen to watch her prepare the family meal.

Unkind Twitter users were quick to point out the sharp crease in her apron, freshly bought for her that morning. Others wondered what the hell she was trying to do with that fish. Don’t you normally cut it before putting it in the frying pan? The lit gas burner with nothing on it didn’t go unnoticed, nor did the solitary mushroom looking rather lost beside the steaks, wondering where the others might have got to. I think the dog’s face tells us what we already know: this woman has never cooked before in her life.

Is there anything more cringeworthy than fake attempts to appear down with the masses? One of the most endearing things about Jacob Rees-Mogg is he’s uber-posh and wears top hats and is utterly shameless about it. One of the reasons Trump gets away with so much is he behaves exactly like you’d expect from a brash, New York billionaire. At least you know what you’re getting. People might not like posh or rich, but they really hate insincerity and, as Miliband and Gillibrand attest, faking sincerity is hard.

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Empire State of Mine

This is a revealing statement by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex regarding her campaign to prevent Amazon setting up a headquarters in New York:


On this issue AOC sounds like a celebrity reading a list of raffle prizes she’s not seen, and it’s obvious she’s being fed responses to those querying her plans to spend the $3bn Amazon tax break on other stuff (yes, really). But look at that first line again:

There was little in the fuzzy proposal that guaranteed jobs for actual NYers

So who would have got the jobs, then? Out-of-towners? Foreigners? My guess is unions objected to the fact that Amazon’s 25,000 workers would not be unionised (and maybe not even American). Fine, but why is it okay for foreigners to take American jobs but New York jobs must only be for New Yorkers? It’s funny how parochial these open-borders advocates become when it’s their own interests under threat, isn’t it?

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Homologic

So the Trump administration decides to launch a global campaign to decriminalise homosexuality:

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, is leading the effort, which kicks off Tuesday evening in Berlin.

Yes, the notoriously homophobic Trump regime which inspires fake attacks on Jussie Smollett and causes the Canadian actress Ellen Page to complain about the US vice president not approving her lifestyle choice has appointed an openly gay man as ambassador to Germany. Trump really is turning out to be the lamest Hitler ever.

Anyway, here’s how those at Out, a magazine catering to gay folks, reacted:

Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.

The plan has reportedly been spearheaded by the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is also the administration’s top-ranked gay official, in response to news that a young gay man was hanged in Iran recently. Grenell has had his eyes on Iran for some time and just a week ago, he was trying to get several European nations to pass sanctions on Iran, unrelated to the country’s stance on homosexuality, to no avail.

Thank goodness for those enlightened European nations who defied Trump trying to impose sanctions on a regime which hangs men for being gay!

Homosexuality has been illegal in Iran since the theocratic 1979 Islamic Revolution. By at least one Guardian account, since the exit of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, enforcement of anti-gay laws has softened somewhat. Homosexuality, according to the writer, is an “open secret” and most queer people fear homophobic reaction from fellow citizens more than the authorities.

Didn’t you just say a young gay man was hanged in Iran recently?

The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook.

The conquest of Africa couldn’t have taken place without frantic reports from remote jungle outposts regarding native turd-burglary.

According to the report, the decriminalization campaign is set to begin in Berlin where LGBTQ+ activists from across Europe will meet to hatch a plan that is “mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.”

The American plan for achieving hegemony over Iran features an auxiliary army of European LGBTQ+ activists part of which will head to the Caribbean from an HQ in Berlin?

There are two things happening here: one is a campaign to decriminalise homosexuality and the other is America’s belligerence towards Iran. The author has lumped one in with the other in order to play politics and virtue-signal, which is stupid because he does eventually make a valid point:

That sentence alone should set off several alarm bells. First of all, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean are huge geopolitical entities. Attitudes toward gay people differ greatly among countries and regions within those entities and attempting to gather a room of European activists on how to deal with queer issues in those regions is the definition of paternalism.

Now while I would like to see homosexuality decriminalised everywhere, I think this campaign is stupid and counterproductive: a bunch of ultra-woke activists turning up in foreign to lecture the locals is going to harden attitudes, not soften them. Such changes need to occur organically and domestically, but there is a large and lucrative industry in which European and American NGOs and supranational agencies based in Geneva go to places like Africa and demand society be turned on its head in order to accommodate trendy western ideas on issues such as female empowerment, environmentalism, and homosexuality. The author is quite right to call this paternalistic and liken it to colonialism. The trouble is, I can’t tell if he’s genuinely against this campaign or he’s pretending to be because the Trump administration is now involved.

The other problem is he’s downplaying the situation gay men face in Iran in order to bash Trump. There were many valid reasons to oppose the Iraq War, but a lot of lefties instead chose to whitewash the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Since Trump took office, people have been doing the same with Iran. Criticising Trump’s sanctions on Iran ought not to entail defending a regime for publicly hanging men for the crime of being gay. That a gay magazine should do so speaks volumes about where the priorities of contemporary activists lie. Quite rightly, the article and its author are being monstered on Twitter this morning.

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Gross Domestic Product

One of the main objections to leaving Shamima Begum in the hands of the Syrian security forces is that she is a British citizen and deserves the full protections of the UK government. What few people are asking is how we’ve ended up with teenage jihadis being British citizens in the first place.

The simple answer is that she was born in London to presumably British passport holders. We don’t know much about Begum’s parents, but we do know this about Hussen Abase, the father of another teenager who ran away with Begum to join ISIS:

Mr Abase, who came to Britain as a refugee from Ethiopia in 1999, and now lives in Stepney, east London, where he works as a security guard, added: “I’m very happy the British government gave me refuge here. I hope they will let my daughter back in if she is still alive. It’s been very hard these past few years without her.”

But questions remain over Mr Abase’s own role in his daughter’s radicalisation.

After Amira disappeared it emerged he had attended a protest outside the Saudi embassy in London, in 2013, said to have been organised by the Islamic extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, founded by the extremist cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed.

Mr Abase also admitted having taken her to a demonstration outside the US Embassy, at the age of 12, at which an American flag was burnt.

Also at the rally were the jailed extremist preacher Anjem Choudary and Michael Adebowale, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

The truth is, the Home Office has for decades been allowing foreigners to settle in the UK who are either radical Islamists when they arrive or become radical Islamists later. This has been going on so long we now have a generation of straight-up, homegrown British citizens who are violent jihadists and we don’t know what to do with them. This isn’t surprising: the foundations of modern, liberal societies were built by people who could never have imagined future generations would run an experiment by which violent foreigners are gifted passports and encouraged to raise families who hate the society which hosts them. The reason western countries are now facing this uniquely difficult moral question is because they were uniquely stupid in allowing it to arise.

It’s tempting to blame Begum, her family, and those who encouraged her on this path to jihad, but what did the British government do to discourage her? The authorities bend over backwards to accommodate every whim of militant Islam, they brand anyone who asks simple questions a racist and threaten them with criminal charges, they encourage unfettered immigration while advertising there is no need to integrate while half the country is working overtime to destroy whatever is left of our society because they clearly detest it. As I’ve asked before:

If our leadership – and I use that term loosely – lacks the conviction to uphold the principles which supposedly define the West, why the hell should we expect Muslims to come out in support of them?  I suspect for many, faced with a choice between leaning towards Islamic principles and Western principles, many moderate Muslims are choosing the former because they are unconvinced that the latter even exist.  Hell, I’m not convinced they exist in any meaningful sense any more, so why should somebody who comes from a culture where they have been historically absent?

If you were a young Muslim living in Britain over the last few years, which way would you lean?  Which way is the wind blowing?  When you have elected officials condemning the publication of blasphemous cartoons, and newspaper columnists suggesting Charlie Hebdo was probably at fault, would you stick your head above the parapet and argue that insulting the Prophet is a fundamental right?  When any atrocity is immediately followed by politicians mumbling vague approximations of supposed bedrock principles which they contradict in the very same sentence through use of the word “but”, and fall over themselves to assure you – a Muslim – that this is nothing to do with your own principles and faith, and then an utter headcase is invited for an interview on the state-owned TV channel where he defends the bloodshed and nobody says a peep: which way are you going to jump?

And let’s be honest: the British people voted overwhelmingly for this. The hand-wringing self-hatred may not have been invented by New Labour but it accelerated tenfold under Blair and was happily continued by Cameron. Both prime ministers delighted the middle classes, and if it weren’t for the Iraq War people would be weeping tears of sadness as they stood before twin statues of Blair and Mandela. Had a political candidate stepped forward and proposed taking a much tougher line with immigrants from certain countries and making it a lot harder for them to gain citizenship, the wails of anguish on the streets of British cities would have drowned out the calls to prayer in Whitechapel.

And it’s not like the lesson has been learned, has it? Even now, nobody dare propose any form of robust immigration control for fear of being branded racist. Even today, when we know the consequences, those who the country elects to high office go on TV and broadcast that unverified, undocumented refugees are welcome. Sorry aggregate British voters, but the likes of Shamima Begum are the direct result of your politics and your cowardice in the face of tough choices. If and when you finally decide to get serious, you’ll find the solutions were there all along.

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Brown Girl in the Wringer

Regarding Jeff Bezo’s recent run-in with publishers who have pictures of his tackle, The Zman had this to say:

He broke the cardinal rule of super villains. Never write when you can speak. Never speak when you can nod. Most important, never send pics of you wiener to people. He was cavalier about being recorded and now is the world’s silliest super villain.

Donald Trump talks a lot of nonsense and tweets an awful lot more, but he’s not stupid enough to put it in a document and circulate it. This gives him ample room to backtrack, shift the goalposts, or simply state “No, I never said that.” Like many businessmen and politicians, he’s smart enough not to commit to anything he may be held to.

Over the past month or so several people – notably Scott Adams – have been praising Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her political savvy, and likening her powers of persuasion and reframing the conversation to those of Donald Trump. I agree she does have appeal and is good on social media, but she’s already made her first blunder. As I wrote the other day, she issued this Green New Deal which seems to have been inspired by episodes of The Flintstones. Before the ink was dry, the front-running Democrat presidential hopefuls – Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Brooker, and Kirtsten Gillibrand – had endorsed it. But within hours anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders was having a merry old time tearing it to pieces and hooting with laughter.

Team Ocasio-Cortez sprang into action to say, variously: the document was fake, it was the wrong one, it was only a draft, and it was issued by mistake.


It probably wasn’t lost on most Americans that the person who wants to radically transform the entire socio-economic system from the top down can’t even manage to release a simple policy document without making a pig’s ear of it. And to make matters worse:


The Republicans hold the senate and the deal is non-binding anyway, so there’s little risk in holding the vote from their side. But for the Democrats, they will have to decide whether they go on record backing a document a child may well have drawn up or denounce what their leading presidential candidates have publicly endorsed. I expect they’ll be a lot of abstentions, which will send their own message. Mitch McConnell has played a blinder here, and even more amusing are Democrat attempts to avert this catastrophe:


This is a complete own-goal by the Democrats, and boils down to the fact the half-sensible party leadership hasn’t got a grip on hotheaded dimwits like Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. I found these two tweets explained a lot:


This is the kind of thing you’d expect from schoolgirls under 11, not congresswomen. Aren’t we always being told how girls mature much faster than boys, who never really grow up? It seems modern feminism, consistent with pressing women to adopt the worst behaviours of men, encourages them to remain in perpetual adolescence. I was stunned to discover Ilhan Omar is 37 years old; I had her down for about 25. We keep being told it’s important for the future of society that grey-haired white men make way for multicoloured young women. Okay, but is it too much to expect they behave like adults and show at least some degree of competence beyond that which makes you popular in an American high school? I suppose this is what happens when you go straight into politics without having run so much as a whelk stall. Say what you like about Trump’s outbursts on Twitter, he does have skyscrapers in Manhattan with his name on. Until this week, the only think with AOC’s name on it was a tip jar in a bar somewhere in the Bronx. Now her name is on a hand-grenade rolling around the floor of Democrat HQ with the pin nowhere in sight. Political savvy, indeed.

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Deindustrial Revolution

Yesterday Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled the Green New Deal, her plan to transform America by combining technologies not yet invented with those of Iron Age man, leaving out everything in the middle. If implemented it will make the USA look like the Soviet Union, only run by the sort of people who shop in organic food stores and collect their own stools to spread on the rhubarb.

The FAQ which accompanied the main document reads as though a child has written it:

Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.

Charging stations everywhere, including on top of Mount Rainer. It also intends to:

transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.

A free handsaw will be issued to every household for the purpose of gathering firewood.

we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America

Every building? That’s in the order of 120 million. Although to be fair it’s a 10-year plan, so that’s only 230,000 buildings a week. Where the materials for this will come from is anyone’s guess. And who will pay for it? Pfffffft:

At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.

Better order your yacht now folks, before the manufacturers get too busy. And you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it because the plan provides:

Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.

Count me in!

This plan is probably what you’d expect from Ocasio-Cortez, who has burst onto the political scene with more energy and zeal than the rest of Congress put together but unburdened with intelligence or a sense of how the world functions outside of Queens. Some are saying this shifts the Overton window, but these ideas have been commonplace in the corridors of academia and in environmentalist manifestos for years; nobody’s reading anything new here. What’s happening is more akin to a lunatic Green party member suddenly becoming kingmaker in one of those dysfunctional coalition systems they use on the continent, and all the attention switches to them. AOC doesn’t hold a vital swing vote, but she’s holding everyone’s attention and many are eager to capitalise on her popularity:


This came hot on the heels of:


The Democrat party is out of control, lurching leftwards past the likes of Bernie Sanders to where the buses don’t run, stoked by hotheads like AOC. Once again, the parallels between what’s happening to them and what Momentum did to the British Labour party are obvious. I’ve said it several times recently, but AOC is turning into a real problem for the Democrats. She’s stealing all their airtime and using it to promote swivel-eyed lunacy which has the party name stamped right on it. When she pauses for breath the cameras switch to the scarcely more sane Kamala Harris, or Elizabeth Warren who is fast being chucked under the bus but still insists she did nothing wrong by calling herself a red Indian. What the Democrats are screaming out for is someone who is halfway smart and not nuts, and they’re coming up short. This is telling:

Nancy Pelosi isn’t all that impressed. Asked about the “Green New Deal” in an interview with Politico on Wednesday, Pelosi dropped this amazing bit of shade on it:
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive. The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”

Nancy Pelosi may be several things, but she’s not stupid and she’s been around a long time. She knows exactly how this sort of plan will go down outside New York city and coastal California, not to mention those who underwrite American politics. You don’t get to be worth $29m on a $223k lawmaker’s salary by annoying corporate America and promoting insane socialist policies. But I have a feeling her biggest challenge is going to be putting a leash on the likes of AOC and Harris, and somehow finding somebody who isn’t a lunatic or an idiot to represent the party going forward. Any idea who that might be?

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