Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dreary but true

Malcolm Stevas

"'If you think that Labour is currently performing even tolerably well as an opposition, stop reading now - because this column is based on a premise on which we might as well agree to disagree. As I see it, Ed Milliband has yet to set out his stall - on anything... lacuna of an effective English narrative of democracy and ... There ought to be an identifiable alternative national narrative... the most important arguments of the ...It is always bad when that adversarial challenge is lacking...there are legitimate, fundamental...The Loyal Opposition has a part to play. I think we should all hope that they soon start playing it.'

How important is all this? Arguably it ought to be fundamental, but really, how important is it in practice? Earlier this week a couple of major polls (assuming one believes their findings to be accurate/useful) confirmed yet again that Labour is doing remarkably well, apparently outstripping the Conservatives in support. This suggest to me yet again that an awful lot of one's fellow citizens have either very short memories or a complete inability to appreciate very basic economic facts of life; that the entrenched voting bloc for the State and its handouts has become exactly the impermeable barrier to economic liberalism which we all predicted & feared; and that the political idealism inherent in Alex Dean's post is all for nothing. Reason and rationality are redundant; psephology consists now of pushing the right buttons to see which policies will provide short-term comforts to that lowest common denominator rump of the electorate whose mindless self-interest governs our lives: the Party offering these will win. Easy. I'll tell my son and his friends to dump their A-levels, get a girl pregnant, sign on, move into a council flat – and vote Labour. Along with many millions of others. Last one to leave the country, etc."

That is effectively a summation of where I am at the moment. The last election showed that for a huge lump of British people, there is nothing to public policy but what I can squeeze from the public exchequer, and by extension my fellow citizens. I will get via the ballot box what I am too lazy to get by honest work or endeavor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From the "We are such idiots" File

'Free Americans, allowing themselves to be treated like prisoners at the county lock-up, just because they want to fly to Granny’s for Thanksgiving. Why?

Napolitano says it’s vital to our security, though nobody can point to a single attack foiled by this fondling. She insists this is a key part of their “layered” approach to air safety.'

We could simply select out the middle eastern, African and Pakistani people travelling by air and give them all the full-on security checks of course. You know, actually do the job properly. But then, according to my old colleague at AP, the islamist one, that would make us worse than the terrorists, and would constitute something worse than murder- racism!!

Our civilisation will disappear up its own arse very shortly. That is what happens when you bend over so far backwards to appear even-handed, just and sensitive. Don't get me wrong- there is a place for even-handedness, justice and sensitivity. Just not when it leads to such obvious stupidity as full-body-scanning children, grannies and the obviously non-psychopathic.

If we had had proper security using profiling like the Israelis use before 9/11, it wouldn't have happened. Neither would the shoe bomber and the panty bomber. Given that the terrorists and the islamists like my ex-colleague hate us and don't give us any credit anyway, why are we still trying to prove that we are whiter than white and more virtuous than a Monastery the day before the Pope visits?

We aren't that virtuous, and guess what, it doesn't matter. We are still vastly above the historical standard, which is fine. But let's not get carried away with it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Its been a weird few days

Two absolutely staggering moments on Newsnight. Obama talking today about the situation in America since taking office. This is a paraphrase 'When I came into office, we had an emergency, and because of our necessary response to the emergency, people are feeling government intruding into their lives'. As a nutshell of what has happened in the last two years, that has to be the most mendacious misrepresentation that this most mendacious of presidents has yet come out with.

The other moment was Stan Greenberg, a Clinton advisor talking about the Tea Party and the Republicans. According to him, Obama is going to be right up against it during the next two years because the Tea Party/ Republicans are insular and obsessed with their own 'cult like ideas'. One thing is right. The next two years are going to be very exciting if most Democrats believe that the Tea Party, which 57% of Americans say they agree with, has 'cult like ideas'. I presume Greenberg thinks the Founding Fathers started a cult....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picking at scabs

I'm sure that conservatives and libertarians have some of the same mental tics, but why is it that Liberals constantly rehash the same flimsy arguments over and over again, like a acne-riddled teen picking at his scabs?

'The Case for Calling Them Nitwits

They blow each other up by mistake. They bungle even simple schemes. They get intimate with cows and donkeys. Our terrorist enemies trade on the perception that they’re well trained and religiously devout, but in fact, many are fools and perverts who are far less organized and sophisticated than we imagine. Can being more realistic about who our foes actually are help us stop the truly dangerous ones?'

This is about the fifteen-thousandth variation on this argument:

Many Muslim terrorists are badly trained -->

Badly trained terrorists are easy to defeat, and often defeat themselves -->

Muslim terrorism is very little actual threat to us -->

Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our huge anti-terrorism apparatus are completely out of proportion to the threat.

Interestingly, the very same people who aver this will also aver very shortly thereafter that even a tiny threat from man-made global warming means we should dismantle industrial society, live like stone-age paupers and send all our money to Bangladesh, but that is bye the bye.

The most important thing to understand about this argument is that terrorists don't stay incompetent. People learn, they develop skills, they mature into much better terrorists. Nineteen mainly Saudi Muslims demonstrated this quite clearly on September 11, 2001.

Left to their own devices, in their safe havens like the FATA region of Pakistan, the southernmost islands of the Phillipines and Somalia, the terrorists will develop skills and weapons which can cause immense harm on an immense scale. They intend to, and will, unless we stop them.

Lefty nuances about what we should call terrorists did not defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq. Lots and lots of squaddies, Marines and special forces hit squads did. Unpopular though this is with many on the left AND right, that is what will have to happen every time Al Qaeda set up shop somewhere- viz Mauritania, Morocco and Burkina Faso.

All the young men who poured into Iraq to fight the Crusaders, who then died in the great meat grinder, are young men who will not be available in the Maghreb, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and the other battlefronts of our war on Muslim terror. They cannot become undercover terror operatives either. And the ones who went back home, having confronted our might, took with them stories of disillusion and defeat.

In this war, victory will come when the enemy learns that his cause is hopeless. Implacable will to fight on the fronts that exist is what will bring that about. Bone-headed flim-flam like this argument seek to disguise both the nature of the enemy, and the conditions of his defeat.

Shall we ask the government of Somalia whether Al Shabab are nitwits? I don't think so. Or the government of Algeria about Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb?

The time is coming very shortly when we will need to send a big ****ing army to Somalia, and destroy Al Shabab root and branch. The alternative? Another Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Calling a political woman a whore is now OK as long as she is on the right

'FORGIVE ME for not feeling great sympathy for Meg Whitman — or womanly outrage on her behalf. The California candidate for governor has gotten ample political mileage from being called a “whore’’ — in a cellphone conversation, recorded and leaked, between her opponent, Jerry Brown and an aide (who did the name-calling). In a year filled with formidable female candidates, this may have been the most gender-loaded dustup, and the most predictable. Whitman claimed the high road, demanded a mea culpa for the women of California, and watched the headlines pile up.'

Gosh, time flies. Just a few months back, everybody on the left, including I'm sure this idiot, were bemoaning the lack of civility in public life. Like a vast horde of Victorian school marms, they wittered on endlessley about how terribly gauche and beastly those TeaBaggers were being.

And now, in the twinkling of an eye, rudeness and incivility have morphed into 'trash talk' which is apparently AOK! All part of the rough and tumble of a merry democracy, dontcha know? She should toughen up, the stupid bitch!

I am sooooooooooooooo bored with the intellectual vacuity of the left, its asinine whining and 'can't remember what I said yesterday' dopeyness.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hell hath no fury like that of an electorate scorned

'"It's a basic, simple message that I think hits the sweet spot of appealing to conservatives and independents simultaneously." To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, it is a message that has the additional advantage of being true.'

'Barone adds: "Liberals who are puzzled by what's happening should take 30 seconds and watch this ad."'

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

Friday, October 15, 2010

First article I ever read about Blair that rings true

'...I have never been able to detect, in his behaviour or speeches, any evidence of bedrock Labour sentiments, and this memoir fails totally to explain why he drifted into the party. There was never any real reason. It was happenstance. Or rather I prefer the Quixotic explanation offered by his former housemaster at Fettes, Eric Anderson and his wife Poppy. Blair was always a consummate actor, and was given the part of Anthony in the school production of Julius Caesar, although not yet a senior boy. He had a startling success in the part, as one would expect. Poppy did the costumes, and dressed the followers of Brutus in blue. Anthony and his men wore red. "And that," she said, "was how Blair became Labour."'

Many is the time I mused on this myself. I, unlike about 97% of the British population, have always liked and continue to like Tony Blair. I didn't like his policies in many crucial respects, but as a man, I found him optimistic, warm and humane. He is confident, but not narcissistic and vain like Obama. He is also a good Christian, in an era where those are as rare as hens teeth. He is also one of very few politicians who seems to understand that with great power comes great responsibility.

The story of British politics for at least the last three or four decades has been one of running away from responsibility and the refusal to weild power in the cause of right and good. Obsessed with pampering the not-very-poor of Britain, most British politicians have paid scant regard to the rest of the world, lest they be seen as 'neo-colonial'. Never, never, never accept the premises of your enemies!

'His admiration for Margaret Thatcher was unbounded and had he followed his father and become a Tory MP he would have been her natural successor.'

What a terrible thought. What Mrs Thatcher (PBUH) conspicuously lacked was a successor. What if Tony Blair had been the one? I say terrible because what actually happened was so vastly inferior to that outcome it hardly bears thinking about. Whatever New Labour was, it had a vast sea anchor hauling it backwards called Gordon Brown.

'Blair's instinctual conservatism expresses itself in various ways. One is his good manners. He has the best manners of any political leader I have come across, here or abroad. I happen to believe manners are important, in theological terms an outward sign of inward grace. They spring, certainly in Blair's case, from a profound love of order, which is illustrated, time and again, in his memoir.'

What a wonderful and original thought. It also reveals another strand of why I like the man. Here is another-

' of the most touching things to emerge from this memoir is Blair's half-formulated desire to be much more ruthless, at a personal level, than he is. But it is beyond him. One cannot see him, like Lloyd George, snarling at a colleague: "I want him dead chicken by midnight" or, like Churchill, marching up and down the Cabinet room, saying aloud to himself, "I want them all to feel my power."'

I wish, as I'm sure millions of others in the country do, that he had been more ruthless with Brown, throwing him under the bus at any one of dozens of excellent opportunities. But he didn't. He soldiered on. But he wouldn't have been himself (he would have been Peter Mandelson) if he had thrown him overboard.

I have always had a lot of time for Paul Johnson, and this is one of the most interesting pieces about Tony Blair I've read.