Corporate Punishment

About 18 months ago, some lonely voices on the dissident right in the US began warning of the worrying antics of large tech and financial organisations with respect to political wrongthinkers. The ZMan was particularly vociferous on this, citing the case of some obscure neo-Nazi website having its domain name yanked without any transparency or due process. Within months of that we saw alt-right figures being denied hosting and other web-based services such as Cloudflare, which prevents DOS attacks. These actions at the time appeared to be the result of Antifa mobs piling pressure on the service providers and finding sympathetic (or scared) managers within who would do their bidding. As usual, the traditional right did nothing except help the enemy by holding aloft their principles; I’ll come onto that in a minute.

Pretty quickly Antifa worked out they could get anyone from the alt-right booted from social media and their contracts with web service companies cancelled, and that’s precisely what they did. As I wrote here, I thought Antifa would overreach and put people in a position where they had little recourse but to violence:

Ordinary people suddenly found a handy source of income has been cut off simply because the tech giants were unable or unwilling to stand up to a gaggle of hard-left thugs. It’s only a matter of time before ordinary Americans find themselves denied access to the website or payment processing platform their livelihoods depend on, without ever knowing the reason why. If that happens, people will start throwing their support behind whichever outfit professes to be on their side and against the people responsible, regardless of how nasty and thuggish they are.

The ZMan took it one step further, and said these tactics were endorsed by the ruling classes, happy to allow Antifa mobs and social media companies to enforce the censorship they are forbidden by law from imposing directly. He was one of the earliest voices to warn that political censorship and punishment was being meted out via compliant social media giants and other corporations, and it appears he was absolutely right. Look how quickly we’ve gone from Antifa mobs getting Nazi websites shut down to this:

Facebook and PayPal accounts used to organise “yellow vest” protests that have seen MPs verbally abused in Westminster have been deleted.

Organiser James Goddard’s Facebook profile disappeared amid calls for police to prevent the group from “harassing” politicians, journalists and pro-EU protesters.

His PayPal account was disabled a short time later on Tuesday afternoon.

The reason this chap’s PayPal account has been deleted is because he upset Anne Soubry, and someone made a call to PayPal to tell them to inflict the standard punishment. If it were you or I being abused, or even knifed on a London street, nobody would be interested. But attack a member of the ruling class and suddenly services on which you depend are cancelled without warning. Where’s the transparency here? Where’s the due process? And where’s the consistency? When Nigel Farage was attacked by a mob in a pub, the media classes thought it highly amusing. Plod didn’t seem much interested either, simply because their masters don’t like Farage very much.

Now the conservative right have thus far defended the actions of the likes of PayPal and Facebook on the grounds private companies should have the right to do business with whomever they please. I have two problems with this: firstly, businesses don’t have a right to do business with whomever they please as whole rafts of anti-discrimination legislation attest. There’s not much point in defending a principle which hasn’t been upheld in these lands since flares were in fashion, unless as part of a philosophical discussion. Secondly, whereas it may be reasonable for a restaurateur to refuse service to someone who can eat next door, how does this work with PayPal? And where does it stop? Credit card providers, banks and insurance companies are already coming under pressure in the US to refuse service to those who own guns or wish to buy one. How long before Mastercard (who’s politics are evident) decides it’s going to cut people off without warning? Well, you just switch to Visa, right?

Not quite: as we saw when three or four social media companies all banned Alex Jones within hours of one another, these actions are coordinated. If one company bans a wrongthinker, it’s almost certain their peers will follow suit. There are many restaurants in town, but only a few credit card companies. If they collectively decide to blacklist you, you’re screwed. Now the dimmer free-market fundamentalists will say “If you don’t like it, start your own service, market forces, innit?” Which again is a great topic for discussion in an Ayn Rand convention down the local pub, but the average person is not in a position to start their own bank. And where does this stop? There used to be a principle that utility companies such as electricity, phone, and water providers had to supply all customers regardless of who they were. Nowadays people are just as dependent on credit card, banking, and insurance services yet they appear to be allowed, thanks to a few lines of font 4 text in 18 pages of terms and conditions, to just immediately halt services without warning and without explanation. “Don’t like it?” say the free marketeers. “Well, start your own insurance company, then!” If the right can’t come up with a better response than this, they deserve the left’s foot on their necks for the foreseeable future.

Note what’s interesting in this latest incident is the ruling classes don’t even need the Antifa mob any more. No, all it took was 50 MPs writing to Plod and PayPal got the message loud and clear. The Antifa mobs were useful in terms of testing the water, seeing if these companies would knuckle under and do as they’re told, but now they’re surplus to requirements. Bear in mind all his has happened in less than two years, and try to imagine where we’ll be in another two. We’re rapidly heading into a situation where the ruling classes can effectively cut you off from services on which you depend as punishment for stepping out of line. People are making lots of noise about China’s social credit system, but at least the CPC is open about it. Our ruling classes are doing the same thing while claiming it’s nothing to do with them because we live in a free society. Free for whom, exactly?

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Time to get serious

I’m disappointed but not surprised to wake up this morning to find Theresa May is still leading the Conservative Party, having seen off a vote of no confidence by a 2:1 ratio. In my opinion Theresa May is an appalling prime minister even if you disregard Brexit: she’s a nannying, authoritarian, dimwit with no vision, no principles, and no charisma who sees the British population as little more than a nuisance. Add to that her handling of the Brexit negotiations – which appear to be a mixture of devious cunning where Britain’s interests were concerned, and incompetence and capitulation in front of Barnier et al. – resulting in a deal which nobody is happy with, and she is likely to go down as the worst PM anyone can recall. That nobody among the ruling classes can mount a challenge to her, either within the party or from the opposition benches, almost beggars belief.

But like I said, I’m not surprised. The yawning chasm that’s opened up between the ruling classes and the majority population has been evident for some time, and that 200 Tory MPs have given their blessing to Theresa May and her Brexit deal merely confirms the people’s parliamentary representatives have no intention of representing anyone’s interests but their own. In some ways, last night’s vote is a good thing in that it may ram  home this point to those who for some reason thought differently. How anyone still believed it having watched Blair and Cameron rule Britain for a combined 16 years is anyone’s guess, but here we are. In short, May winning the vote demonstrates how utterly bereft of talent and competence Britain’s ruling classes have become, and it’s interesting to look at why.

Those 16 years I mentioned earlier explains a lot about where we are now. Both Blair and Cameron epitomised prime ministers for whom the big decisions over governance were solved by a combination of a collapsed Soviet Union, unprecedented wealth due to globalisation, and a handing over of major policies to the EU. Neither man had to tackle a single, difficult domestic issue: even the NI peace process was mostly wrapped up by the time Blair took office, allowing him to claim credit for it. From 1997 onwards, Britain was rich, peaceful, and faced no serious threats – except, in hindsight, from its own government. This allowed people like Blair and Cameron, who lacked any principles save for a desire to be in power, to tinker and meddle and make changes on the fly, many of which had devastating consequences down the line. Where previous prime ministers had to deal with the Soviet-backed communism, independence of the colonies, general strikes, deindustrialisation, and the oil embargo Blair and Cameron busied themselves banning foxhunting, creating thousands of new petty crimes, foisting political correctness on critical institutions, and micromanaging people’s lives. And while they did this, the majority of the population didn’t weep with despair and head abroad like I did – they stood and cheered, and said “Ooh, what a nice man!” Until Blair joined in with the wrecking of Iraq, anyway.

The irony is many of those people who voted for Blair and Cameron are now bitterly disappointed at the current situation, both leavers and remainers who think May’s deal is abhorrent, albeit for opposite reasons. Well, what did they expect? The British population allowed the ruling classes to be captured by a bunch of wet, unprincipled, and not especially bright charlatans, and were happy to let them rule provided they were doing all right regardless of the long-term costs. Whenever somebody with even a whiff of intelligence, backbone, or principles showed up on the political scene, the middle classes would clutch their pearls and launch into a frenzy of virtue-signaling (nowadays they just start shrieking about Nazis). And now, finally, the British ruling classes have been given a genuinely difficult, statesman’s task and they are simply not up to it: May has proven hopeless, and her closest rivals can’t even inspire enough colleagues to get rid of her. What does that tell you about the substance of Johnson and Rees-Mogg?

It’s time the British public got serious. Over the next few months the ruling classes will be found wanting once more, unable to make difficult decisions: May’s deal probably won’t pass a parliamentary vote, and a general election will be called where people are given a choice of another loser Tory or Jeremy Corbyn. This will being about a disaster no matter who wins, and this might – might – bring to the fore a different sort of politician, one we haven’t seen for a long time in Britain. How the population reacts will be crucial, and there will be howls of anguish from the metropolitan elites and a subsection of the middle classes who would prefer politicians stick to banning sugary drinks and shutting down hate speech on Twitter than actually governing. These voices will need to be shouted down with full force if Britain is going to change. But I’m not even sure it wants to.

In short, the public are going to have to start making difficult decisions. The trouble is, like Blair and Cameron, they’ve never had to. Can they learn? Time will tell, but if they can’t they might as well stay in the EU and let someone else rule over them. It’s going to be a testing twelve months.

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Vacuum filled

Via Whiteboard Technician, this story:

Smith and his colleagues at Shirley Street Watch have become the scourge of low-level criminals in their little corner of Solihull in the West Midlands since they started patrols in January. Police credit them with effectively forcing drug dealers away from parts of the suburb and significantly reducing antisocial behaviour.

While Smith bristles at the term “vigilante”, the volunteers are one of a rising number of groups springing up across Britain as crime surges and police officer numbers hit a record low. Added into the mix is the very low and falling detection rate – 75% of thefts unsolved. Victims of crime are willing to take matters into their own hands.

Regular readers of my blog won’t be tremendously surprised by this. As I’ve said before, the role of the police is to protect suspected criminals from the mob by helping to dispense justice; if the police opt out of that role, the mob will take its place. Now this bunch in yellow jackets in Solihull thankfully don’t look like an African mob who suspect a young woman of being a witch, but we’re heading in that direction. And these groups are sprouting up everywhere:

This week Hartlepool was called the town “where the police don’t come out” in reports about a neighbourhood group formed to try to fill the void left by police. On one recent Saturday not a single officer was on duty in the town of 92,000 as all were called to another job.

Perhaps the police were checking Twitter for racism? Or were they busy putting LGBTQ decals on their patrol cars?

A new Midlands-based group, We Stand Determined, has amassed nearly 3,000 members on Facebook in the past week, with splinter groups already forming in Manchester and elsewhere.

I rather like this development, mainly because it’s focusing minds. Unsurprisingly, Plod doesn’t:

The emergence of these unofficial groups, formed on social media, has led to fears among the police that a new breed of “have-a-go heroes” are putting themselves at risk and jeopardising investigations.

I rather think it’s the lack of investigations which are the problem.

Insp Iftekhar Ahmed, of West Midlands police, told the Guardian he was concerned that well-meaning citizens were “hindering the situation” by taking matters into their own hands.

Ah yes, mustn’t do that now, must we Inspector Iftekhar Ahmed? Far better the British people just meekly tolerate criminals running rampage while the police do nothing. What they’re really afraid of is their own irrelevance.

Ahmed runs the force’s Street Watch scheme of 350 volunteers who patrol neighbourhoods under the supervision of the police, who pay for their insurance and provide a basic training course on safety.

I know nothing about these groups, but if they’re subject to the same SJW doctrines as the regular police, they’ll be useless.

He said: “Citizenship is what they’re doing: look, see, report, don’t have a go – that’s the ethos. They’re a vigilant group, not a vigilante group.”

Spy, snitch, tell…but don’t do anything. Ah, modern policing.

Smith said residents were “majorly disappointed” when Shirley police station shut down two years ago – one of 27 West Midlands police buildings closed as a cost-cutting measure.

“We have had a couple of people say: ‘You’re just policing on the cheap.’ But things aren’t going to change any time soon. If you want to make a difference you’ve got to get boots on the ground, you’ve got to get off your arse and do something for your community.”

The fact these groups are being given a sympathetic hearing in The Guardian of all places is illuminating.

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Tasteless but legal

The French might be odd, but they can hold the line when they want to:

A French court has ruled that posters showing a woman tied to train tracks did not promote violence against women.

The posters were put up around the town of Béziers last December to celebrate the arrival of high-speed TGV trains. They carried the caption: “With the TGV, she would have suffered less.”

The ads faced a legal challenge from a number of feminist groups and criticism by France’s equality minister.

But the court said they were legal, despite the questionable humour.

Would a British court have ruled the same way? Maybe, but they’d have found some other way to get the advert removed (as Sadiq Khan did with billboards showing nice looking women on the London Underground).

But the far-right mayor of Béziers, Robert Ménard, defended his campaign, accusing critics of “political correctness” and pointing to a history of such images in old films and cartoons.

After the French court threw out the complaint, Mr Ménard tweeted that the case had been “an inquisition in petticoats”.

Quite right too. Now I don’t know whether M. Ménard is actually far-right given the label is nowadays meaningless, but if so it’s rather illuminating that this is who we now rely on to advocate freedom of speech and push back against corrosive third-wave feminism.

The court in the southern city of Montpellier said the posters had been designed to provoke a reaction, and did not encourage violence against any specific group, including women.

Good. As I said after the Charlie Hebdo attack:

Nothing highlights the cultural gap between France and Britain more than the uncomfortable suspicion that Charlie Hebdo would not have lasted more than a year in the UK before being hounded out of business by the state and its backers in one form or another, as this article makes clear.

I have no confidence this advert would have been displayed in the UK. There’s a good chance anyone posting it would be charged with a hate crime.

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Questions not asked, public not informed

From the BBC:

A British PhD student has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of spying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Matthew Hedges, 31, of Durham University, always denied the charge saying he had been conducting research.

A court in Abu Dhabi has declared him guilty of “spying for or on behalf of” the UK government. His family claim the verdict is based on a false confession.

The PM said the UK was urgently seeking talks with the Emirati government.

Theresa May said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was “seeking a call with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed”.

Mr Hunt said he was “deeply shocked and disappointed” by the verdict.

I read the entire article hoping to discover the details of his arrest and what the UAE authorities thought he was doing, but alas it’s comprised mainly of people saying how unjustly he’s been treated. To get further details you have to follow a link:

Mr Hedges, 31, a PhD student at Durham University in the UK, was convicted by the Federal Court of Appeal for attempting to procure sensitive information during a trip to the Emirates this year.

Mr Hedges was first arrested at Dubai International Airport in May after an Emirati man told police he had been asking for sensitive information.

And from an earlier BBC report we learn:

His family said he had been researching the impact of the Arab Spring on the UAE’s foreign policy and security strategy when he was arrested.

So what form did this research take? Who did he approach, and what information did he ask for? Clearly he was after something which couldn’t have been obtained sitting at home on the internet. Frankly, if you’re going around the Middle East asking individuals about their country’s foreign policy and security in the wake of a series of violent revolutions in neighbouring states, you’re likely to annoy the wrong people. And why are we relying on what his family is saying?

Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Stuart Corbridge said the conditions Hedges was held in “breached his human rights”.

“[And] this judgement has been delivered in the absence of anything resembling due process or a fair trial,” he said.

“There has been no information given on what basis Matt was handed this sentence and no reason to believe that Matt was conducting anything other than legitimate academic research.

Then why not elaborate on the form of this research? And did the university not warn him of the dangers of poking your nose into government affairs in the Middle East?

I’m reminded of the case of British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (see here and here), who trained Iranian journalists on behalf of the BBC, found herself in jail when she went back home, and all our media could do is obscure her activities and declare she was innocent. Now she might be, and Matthew Hedges might be too, and I am certain neither has had a fair trial. But can someone ask some basic questions before we start wrecking diplomatic relations with yet another country?

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Contempt breeds contempt

Over the weekend a couple of readers alerted me to a video that was doing the rounds on Twitter of what looked like a couple of diminutive British police officers patrolling downtown Mogadishu. Inevitably for that part of the world, a bunch of hooded thugs gave the two – a man and a woman – a good thrashing. I later learned that the incident happened in London and the tweet had been deleted. Now we have Plod bleating:

Violent suspects could be released by police if officers do not get “backed up” by members of the public, a federation leader has warned.

Given the British government invites violent thugs from abroad to live among us and the justice system ensures they are free to continue being violent thugs in perpetuity, I feel ordinary folk are entitled to ask what, exactly, will change.

Ken Marsh spoke out after a video of officers being attacked was shared widely on social media.

Several cars can be seen driving past the encounter without stopping.

Met Police Federation chairman Mr Marsh said: “We don’t come to work to get assaulted, and if we’re not going to be backed up…then what is the point?”

What is the point, you say? Funny, I’ve been asking that question for quite some time now. And I love how the police have spent years elevating themselves to special status whereby only they can have weapons, only they can protect you, only they can do X, Y, and Z and ordinary people “must not take the law into their hands” but instead wait for Plod to show up three days later. Yet here they are whining that they don’t want to  come to work if the public won’t join them in hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of feral thugs the very same police forces won’t let us criticise.

However, Mr Marsh added this did not mean he was asking members of the public “to suddenly jump in to assist police officers, because we are highly trained in what we do”.

Yes, your high-level of training is apparent in the video. Oddly, forty-three hours of diversity training followed by a week-long seminar on unconscious racial biases didn’t adequately prepare these two officers for encountering actual diversity and vibrancy on the streets. That aside, what do you want the public to do, other than meekly go to jail where you can keep an eye on wrongthinkers more easily?

A member of the public wearing a motorcycle helmet helped the male officer, but several cars went past without stopping.

So drivers navigating city streets are supposed to be able to asses whether they should stop and intervene in an ongoing ruck they happen to drive by? What idiocy is this? And even if they did realise what was going on, as I said before, why risk it? The potential downsides vastly outweigh any upsides, even if the police were deserving of the public’s support.

Talking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Marsh said: “If the public now think it’s OK to stand and film and mock my colleagues…then we are in very dangerous grounds.

“What I’m trying to get across is the simple fact that society has changed so much lately that it seems to be OK [to be] more interested in mocking us and filming us.”

Sorry, what did you expect? You’ve made it abundantly clear you’re not on the public’s side, so why should they hold you in anything other than the same contempt you have for them? You were warned, time and again, that this would happen and what did your colleagues do? Go ultra-defensive, engage in self-gratifying circle-jerks, and threaten anyone who doesn’t kow-tow to you. You’ve brought this on yourselves.

He added: “We’re going to come to a point where we’re going to start pushing messages out to our colleagues: ‘Risk-assess it dynamically and, if you think you can’t detain a person, just let them go’.”

If the public doesn’t hold you in higher regard, you’ll carry out yet more risk assessments leading you to shirk your responsibilities? Yes, that’ll help turn things around.

A former Met officer, who left the force in 2014, said officers were attacked on a daily basis.

By people who, if criticised on social media, can look forward to the sight of their detractors being arrested by the Met for hate speech. Perhaps you ought to work out whose side you’re on?

Assistant commissioner Steve House of the Met Police said: “Whilst officers should never expect to be attacked as part of their job, a core part of officer safety training is ensuring they know how to respond to volatile situations.

Which is rather hard to do if diversity and inclusion are the driving factors in police recruitment and retention.

“This training is substantial and delivered in accordance with national guidelines and we regularly review it to make sure it is fit for purpose.

Then please explain the scenes in the video.

“Officers are also issued with personal protective equipment to help protect them and the public.

And if they don’t have them, they’ll stay in the car and watch their subordinate get murdered. Yes, we know.

We’re going to see a lot more of this, as we are of this:

Hundreds of residents have formed a ‘vigilante’ neighbourhood watch group following a failed campaign to increase the number of police officers on the streets.

The community watchdog group, known as ‘We Stand Determined’, stage twice-weekly patrols across Birmingham since it was set up on social media three weeks ago.

Members say they are working together to report any dangers the community may face across Britain’s second largest city amid fears crime is spiralling out of control.

Three organisers, only known as Wayne, Tracy and Michael, said they founded the group after discovering a friend had been attacked in his home by thieves armed with hammers.

A corrupt, dysfunctional, politicised police force who treat the public with contempt leading to vigilante groups forming in order to stop ordinary people being attacked with hammers. Britain is turning third world under our very noses.

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So what happens next?

I confess I’ve not waded through the 585 pages of legalese that makes up the draft agreement of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (thanks PCar for the link), but the reaction on Twitter tells me:

1. Free movement of people is ended.

2. The UK remains in the customs union indefinitely.

What’s interesting is Leavers are irate beyond measure which suggests, contrary to their portrayal in the media, they weren’t driven by immigration. If that were the case, they’d not be too disappointed with an agreement which halted free movement. That they are more upset about continued membership of the customs union suggests sovereignty and independence were equally as important as ending free movement. None of this should come as a surprise to those who know any Leave voters.

However, Remainers are equally unhappy, presumably because free movement will end along with a whole load of taxpayer funded schemes which prop up swathes of the middle class left. They’ll be joining Leavers in writing to their MPs urging them to vote against the bill when it’s put before parliament. Jeremy Corbyn, who must be relishing this, has already said he’ll vote against it so May is relying on Labour rebels to offset those in her own party. I think this vote will be the most heavily scrutinised in recent memory, with every MP’s reputation for the next few years depending on which way they cast their ballot. I imagine many of them didn’t get much sleep last night. This is how it should be, and for once it’s nice to see the public – both Leavers and Remainers – holding their representatives’ feet to the fire.

Here’s what I reckon will happen. The agreement will be voted down and May will leave; either she’ll resign or will be shoved out by her own party, along with anyone in the cabinet who assented to it. A general election will be called leaving the Tories with two options:

1. Pick a Remain leader and cabinet and we all start preparing for Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn.

2. Pick a Leave leader and cabinet, win the election, chuck the draft in the bin, and start negotiations again.

Much as though I’d prefer to see No. 2 happen, if the Tories had that sort of gumption they’d have done it already. Unless some have been working tirelessly behind the scenes preparing a realistic plan which can immediately be placed in front of Barnier, it’s just going to be more hot air before we crash out with no deal. I’d not be too disappointed if the Tories’ stated intention is to crash out with no deal, but if that’s what happens by default because they’re too hapless to get a plan together, it’s hardly a demonstration of the sort of leadership Britain will need in the near future.

So I suspect they’ll pick a total wet as leader who nobody will vote for and Corbyn will get in. From what I’m reading on Twitter, which to be fair is probably not a great representation, people are prepared to suffer a Corbyn government rather than continue to support the Conservatives, such are their feelings of betrayal. Oddly, I’m half minded to think Corbyn and Co. could negotiate a better deal than May’s managed. He’d certainly not turn up looking to please everyone, and idiotic his beliefs might be he might inadvertently get Britain out of the EU in a way which leaves Brexiteers satisfied.

What I’d really like to see, though, is the Metropolitan New Labour/Cameron remnants who think the EU is wonderful and the referendum an abomination forced to start their own party, in the same way UKIP was founded to represent those who wanted to leave. Thus far, they’ve assumed they can wrestle back control of the existing levers of power against the wishes of the people. Two anti-EU parties contesting a General Election would be the slap in the face they need to show them they’re no longer representative of the wider UK. There’s little that would make me happier than a bunch of whining London-based media types launching a party and seeing their ideas roundly ignored by all but themselves. They could even make Blair their leader.

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Snobbery instead of governance

The BBC, two days late, decides to run a front-page story on Trump and the WWI commemorations (which I wrote about here):

The White House has defended US President Donald Trump’s decision to miss a memorial event on Saturday after he faced a backlash.

Mr Trump, who was in France to mark the centenary of World War One’s end, cancelled a visit to a US military cemetery because it was raining.

Bad weather and “near-zero visibility” grounded the presidential helicopter, White House officials said.

French, German and Canadian leaders attended memorial events on Saturday.

However, Mr Trump was reluctant to bring extra disruption to Paris traffic for a last-minute motorcade, his officials said.

So it was a security issue then and not, as many pretended, that Trump simply couldn’t be bothered because it was raining.

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said, noting the trip was 60 miles (96km) north-east of Paris

Compiègne, the location of the ceremony in question, is situated a little further east of Charles de Gaulle airport and if he were to get there from Paris via motorcade they’d probably have closed the A1. This not only would have caused havoc on the périphérique but might have caused people to miss their flights, so I expect the good citizens of Paris are rather glad Trump decided not to go. Also, there is no acknowledgement that this particular ceremony was a sideshow: the main one took place on 11th November on the Champs-Élysées as normal, and Trump was in full attendance.

From here, it just gets pathetic:

Critics observed how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had travelled 118 miles outside Paris to attend a ceremony – in the rain – at a cemetery in Vimy.

And what is the security operation surrounding the Canadian PM versus that of the US president?

Notable criticism came from British Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood, who took an apparent swipe at the president on Twitter, saying “rain did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job”.

I’ve praised the bravery of Tobias Ellwood on this blog before, but he’s acting like a child here. So is this man:

His comments followed a scathing rebuke from Sir Nicholas Soames, a grandson of the wartime British leader Sir Winston Churchill.

The MP tweeted that Mr Trump was not fit to represent the US and said that he was a “pathetic inadequate” for not defying the weather “to pay his respects to the fallen”.

Here’s what I don’t get about the British ruling classes. Half of them want to suck up to European technocrats which explains their anti-Americanism, but even those that want out of Europe seem to make extra effort to antagonise their most important ally. It’s fine that Britain wants to get out of Europe, but where’s the value in MPs taking swipes at Trump on Twitter over trivial, wrongheaded stuff like this? America has lots of allies and special interests, and Britain needs American support more than America needs Britain. The ruling classes fell over themselves to brown-nose Obama who hated Britain, but even though Trump has repeatedly shown he’s open to warm relations with Britain, the ruling classes prefer to engage in petty sniping.

I expect the answer lies in snobbery. Even the supposedly better Tories prefer to burnish their credentials with other members of the ruling classes by virtue-signaling against Trump’s supposed rudeness and inadequacy than building workable relations with the one country whose help we need once we stumble out of the EU in March next year. Once again, our ruling classes have shown they are utterly incapable of doing the one thing they exist to do: govern. If Britain wants to avoid disappearing into irrelevance, it needs a wholesale replacement of those in charge. The only upside I can see is that I doubt Trump paid any attention to these cretins.

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Hierarchy Confirmed

Rather a lot of people were surprised by this article, which appeared over the weekend:

A Pakistani Christian woman’s appeal to Britain for asylum has been denied because her arrival in the country may stir civil unrest, HuffPost UK has been told.

Asia Bibi, a Christian farm labourer, was released from prison in Pakistan on Wednesday after being acquitted of blasphemy. She had spent eight years on death row after an argument with a group of Muslim women in June 2009.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan overturned Bibi’s 2010 conviction for “insulting the prophet Mohammed” last week, saying the case against her was based on flimsy evidence.

But her acquittal sparked violent protests led by Islamic religious hardliners, and the government has now agreed to try to stop her leaving the country.

On Saturday her lawyer, Saif Mulook, fled Pakistan, saying he feared for his life.  Bibi’s husband, Ashiq Masih, has also released a video message saying he too fears for his family’s safety.

“I am requesting the Prime Minister of the UK help us and as far as possible grant us freedom,” he said.

But campaigners working to secure Bibi’s move abroad said the UK government had not offered her asylum, citing security concerns.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said two countries had made firm offers of asylum, but Britain was not one of them.

“I’ve been lead to believe that the UK government had concerns that her moving to the UK would cause security concerns and unrest among certain sections of the community and would also be a security threat to British embassies abroad which might be targeted by Islamist terrorists.”

I don’t know why anyone’s surprised. For starters, the government is quite correct that moving Asia Bibi to the UK would almost certainly result in violent protests and heightened security risks. In fact, I’d be surprised if she’d last a week if she moved to the UK. This is because Britain contains an alarming number of Muslims who both threaten and practice violence if their theocratic demands are not met, many of whom are of Pakistani origin. What do you reckon would be the result of a poll among British Muslims over Bibi’s fate? Regardless of the moral stance of the British government, it’s practically not a good idea to allow Bibi to settle in the UK unless she fancies spending the rest of her life in protective custody.

The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases.

Ah yes, of course. This is why they can’t answer any questions about returning jihadis and “child” refugees either. Let’s face it, this government and the preceding one has failed every single moral test it has had thrown at it. Whenever a case comes up which ought to be the most morally simple to answer the government has done the precise opposite. It’s tempting to suggest they have no principles, but one cannot operate with such consistency without them. Rather, their guiding principles seem to be drawn straight from university social studies departments which promote a hierarchy of protected classes atop which sit radical Muslims. Asia Bibi ought to be a cause célèbre among western feminists, but it doesn’t matter if you have three aces and two kings when your opponent has a royal flush. So they fall silent on the matter, and instead rail against middle class white men and campaign for new laws on upskirting.

The moral cowardice of the government in the face of violent Islam is consistent with their stance on the Salman Rushdie fatwa, and later the yes-butting over the Mohammed cartoons and the Charlie Hebdo massacre. All these should have been met with a firm response from western governments, and each time they were found wanting. It makes one wonder, not for the first time, what purpose the Conservative party serves, other than to keep a handful of people wallowing in gravy. It’s little wonder people are starting to think a Corbyn government mightn’t be so bad after all. True, he’d serve Asia Bibi’s head on a plate during a Hezbollah rally, but at least we’d know where he stood. It’s the cowardice that I can’t stand.

Hopefully Asia Bibi will be granted asylum in a country governed by people with courage who don’t allow foreign theocrats to dictate policy with threats of violence. Meanwhile, perhaps the British government could partly redeem itself by not hosing any more taxpayer cash at Pakistan. Some hope.

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Clash of Clans

Here’s a story which was doing the rounds last week:

It was an unusually heavy response to a fight in a school canteen: a police helicopter, police dog and 15 police vehicles all rushed to Fir Vale Academy in Page Hall, Sheffield, one Tuesday in late September.

The drama, inevitably, was caught on camera. The screaming in the dinner hall, children climbing on tables to escape. Outside, a teenage girl in handcuffs, face-down on a police car; the man in a tracksuit being mauled by a police dog. A pupil had texted false talk of a knife fight, and parents had been trying to scale the fence to reach the school.

So what was it all about?

[T]he fight had begun when a Roma girl pulled off the headscarf of a Muslim classmate.

An incident which didn’t come out of a clear blue sky:

Angry Fir Vale parents – most Pakistanis, no Roma – shouted at a panel of wincing white council workers about “them”. Their new Roma neighbours. “David Blunkett was right!” yelled one man. “This is a ticking time bomb. If it goes off, you’re going to need the army.”

They refused to see the hijab incident as an isolated scrap between teenage girls. “This is not just a school issue… This is ready to blow up. Bang,” warned one man. “We’ve lived here 35, 40 years and you expect us to sit silently,” said another, claiming that he had 60 cousins ready to provide back-up for what he said could be “a riot like you’ve never seen before in your life”.

I was late to this story, but a lively discussion took place in the comments at Tim Worstall’s, which is worth reading. There are a few things going on here. Firstly, I very much doubt the people are Roma in the commonly understood sense; more likely they’ll be people who until last week were called “travellers”, fifteen years ago “gypsies”, and by nearly everyone in private, even now, “pikeys”. I grew up around communities of gypsies and they were indistinguishable in ethnicity from the locals. But at some point during the Blair years someone realised that classifying them as a different race made a whole new victim group on which public sector careers could be made; you have to do something with all these new social studies graduates, after all. So now a run-of-the-mill British gypsy alongside whose brethren I used to pick spuds and stack straw now belongs to a protected class.

Only on the other side of the battle lines we have another protected class, whose status was so assured that men in the very same locality were permitted to systematically gang-rape underage girls while the police looked on and did nothing. (Incidentally, if I were to guess, I’d say the number of gypsy girls these men abused was precisely nil). So having designated as protected classes two maladjusted, poorly integrated groups thus putting them beyond the bounds of even mild criticism on pain of imprisonment, what happens when they start fighting each other? Well, I don’t know because until now no government in history has been stupid enough to run such an experiment, but we can take a guess.

Firstly, the Pakistanis are more numerous: that chap wasn’t joking when he said he had 60 cousins, and even if some of them are in a village outside Lahore, they can become British citizens and over there in a jiffy. The gypsies maintain large families, but they don’t have an entire nation on which to draw reserves. Secondly, Pakistanis are darker skinned. Gypsies aren’t exactly blonde haired and blue eyed, but even the obese creature with green hair in charge of social inclusion at the local council is going to be hard pressed to deny categorising them as a separate ethnic group was a little fanciful. Particularly so if they’re lined up opposite a bunch of fellows who’d look pretty handy with ball in hand on 22 yards of short-cut grass. Thirdly, Pakistanis are Muslim, and have lobbying power which would make an oil executive kick a barrel out of pure jealousy. By contrast, the gypsies are members of a lesser religion – or perhaps none at all, it doesn’t matter. When designated victim groups have clashed before, it is always those of the one true faith who prevail, and it will be the same this time around.

So the authorities will hold frantic meetings in the Nelson Mandela – Salvadore Allende conference rooms in the local town halls, during which they’ll wrack their brains to come up with a way to blame this on Tommy Robinson. But in the end they’ll be forced to conclude that the gypsies are white after all, and racist to boot. Until they turn up on the common of a middle class village, anyway.

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