Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Trump: 'A nation that is not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future'

'A nation that is not proud of its history cannot be confident in its future. And a nation that is not certain of its values cannot summon the will to defend them.'

Donald Trump, speaking on Monday, coined a good aphorism.

Germany is an obvious example of the truth of the observation. Compare Austria and Germany today. But Western Europe in general has lost pride in its history. Eastern Europeans have not, but as more and more intellectual Eastern Europeans are educated at Western universities Western guilt and self loathing starts to seep into the previously uncontaminated Eastern half of the continent.


“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”
Bertrand Russell

“Jobs are a part of life. Maybe you've heard of the concept. It's called work? See, what happens is that you suffer through doing annoying and humiliating things until you get paid not enough money. Like those Japanese game shows, only without all the glory.”
Jim Butcher

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
J.M. Barrie

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Douglas Adams

Monday, 18 December 2017

Careers advice

Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Walter Bagehot

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure. Benjamin Disraeli

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle, Old Age a regret. Benjamin Disraeli

Quotations from Walter Bagehot

Dullness in matters of government is a good sign, and not a bad one - in particular, dullness in parliamentary government is a test of its excellence, an indication of its success. 

The habit of common and continuous speech is a symptom of mental deficiency. It proceeds from not knowing what is going on in other people's minds. 

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. 

Twenty Years After

A man in the lift this morning asked me how long I'd been in Romania and when I replied almost 20 years he said: 
'It's a generation. Think of "Twenty Years After" by Alexandre Dumas.'
Yes indeed. I read that book, that had belonged to my grandmother (born in Victoria's reign), when I was 8. The Musketeers in their early 40s then seemed unimaginably old. That was unimaginably long ago.

From one year ago

"All holders of public office will have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values in an attempt to combat extremism. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, said it was not possible for people to play a “positive role” in public life unless they accepted such basic values as democracy, equality and freedom of speech." (The Times.)

I hate the idea of equality, except equality before the law, which is completely discrete from all other uses of the word equality and is a form of freedom. It means fair trials.

I am like Mr. Gladstone, 'an out and out inegalitarian'.

Freedom and equality are antithetical.

And nations are not made of values, but blood and history and shared jokes, but mostly, in the British case, blood.

I am a democrat, but not a theoretical one who thinks universal suffrage is some sort of moral law and that we should have had it in 1900.

In any case, Englishmen should swear allegiance to H.M. the Queen. not to ideas, even good ones.

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Weathermen and their legacy: they won academia

My two posts on the Weathermen, the terrorist wing of the American student radical movement in the era of Richard Nixon, weren't intended as political polemic, although polemic is my strong suit. 

My purpose was twofold. First to bring to people's attention the speech by Bernardine Dohrn about the Manson murders and second to show part of the background to the anti-racist, progressive ideas that have influenced and continue to influence the world so much. 
To recap, Bernardine Dohrn told a Students for a Democratic Society meeting shortly after the Manson murders:
“Offing those rich pigs with their own forks and knives, and then eating a meal in the same room, far out! The Weathermen dig Charles Manson.”
Her audience “instantly adopted” “four fingers held up in the air, invoking the fork left in Sharon Tate’s belly,” according to Mark Rudd, another leader of the group.

And tell sad stories of the death of kings

This morning the queue to see the King lying in state was short (fifteen or twenty minutes) but passing just now at midnight it was hours long.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Why Israel occupies part of the Golan Heights

This, found on the net, is interesting and topical.

Talking in 1976 Moshe Dayan, who was the Israel defense minister in 1967, explained that Syria had not been a threat to Israel before 1967.

"I know how at least 80% of all the incidents with Syria started. We were sending a tractor to the demilitarized zone and we knew that the Syrians will shoot. If they did not shoot, we would instruct the tractor to go deeper, till the Syrians finally got upset and start shooting. Then we employed artillery, and later also the air-force... I did that... and Itzhak Rabin did that, when he was there."
Israel provoked Syria, in Dayan's words, 
"to grab a piece of land and keep it, until the enemy will get tired and give it to us."

1960s student radicalism, the Weathermen and the origins of political correctness

The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) was an important American student organisation in the 1960s known for its activism against the Vietnam War. It split after 1968 over whether to use violence to overthrow the government. This article is in the public domain and sheds light on the origins of the modern left in the USA.

It was at this meeting that Bernadine Dohrn, celebrated the fork stuck into the heavily-pregnant Sharon Tate's belly.
“Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
I draw your attention to this passage:

The logic of that view was expressed in a statement by Ted Gold, a top Weatherman, who said that “an agency of the people of the world” would be set up to run the U.S. economy and society after the defeat of the U.S. imperialism abroad.

A critic spoke up: “In short, if the people of the world succeed in liberating themselves before American radicals have made the American revolution, then the Vietnamese and Africans and the Chinese are gonna move in and run things for white America. It sounds like a John Bircher’s worst dream. There will have to be more repression than ever against white people, but by refusing to organize people, Weatherman isn’t even giving them half a chance.”

“Well,” replied Gold, “if it will take fascism, we’ll have to have fascism.”

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

“The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”

An unnamed “SDS radical” quoted by David Horowitz - I wonder which radical if any said this. I remember hearing this expression back in my 1970s childhood. 

This brings to mind the recent emergence of transgender rights as a political issue.

It is interesting to be reminded of the revolutionary fervour of the 1960s, which later transmogrified into the identity politics of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both disciples of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky's book “Rules for Radicals” was originally entitled “Rules for Revolution”.

Calling the gendarmes slaves is against the law

Last month a Romanian, posting on Facebook, called the gendarmes guarding the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) "slaves", reports He has been ordered to pay a fine of RON 900 (about EUR 195) for offensive language.

Calling the gendarmes slaves is against the law.

Eastern Europe is starting to become as authoritarian as Western Europe: in the 1980s I could not have imagined writing this sentence.

Things are even worse in England where a demonstrator was fine for calling his MP a coward. that only made the local paper.

Freedom is a concept that people increasingly no longer even understand.

Genius and dunderheads

The human desire to create a comprehensible narrative out of haphazard events is very strong.  
Do you remember when Jeremy Corbyn was a dunderhead? It was just before he was a genius, which came just before people wondering if he should be doing better. 
Jeremy Corbyn’s period as a dunderhead started while David Cameron was a genius, which came just before he was a dunderhead too.

Daniel, Lord Finkelstein in The Times today.

As Ed Miliband said, after defeat in the 2015 election,
When you win, everything you did was an act of genius and when you lose everything you did was the work of a fool

On my walk to work

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"An intelligent life is all about such emotional positioning to eliminate the sting of harm, which as we saw is done by mentally writing off belongings so one does not feel any pain from losses. The volatility of the world no longer affects you negatively.

Seen this way, Stoicism is about the domestication, not necessarily the elimination, of emotions. It is not about turning humans into vegetables. My idea of the modern Stoic sage is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into information, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking."

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile

'Plan to ban smoking completely in bars and eateries from 2018 scrapped by far-right Freedom Party'

Headline and sub-headline in the Guardian. 

Good for the Freedom Party. It doesn't stop them being accused of fascism or described by the Guardian as far right. 

In fact they represent the long liberal tradition in Austria politics that brought about the 1848 Austrian revolution. Liberals in Austria believed since the 1840s in a liberal Greater Germany with a small state. They are real liberals unlike the British Liberal Democrats or American 'liberals': they believe in low taxes and freedom.

Note the way the Guardian puts inverted commas around freedom as if gingerly handling with gloves something suspicious and repellent

Austria stubs out looming smoking ban in name of 'freedom'
Plan to ban smoking completely in bars and eateries from 2018 scrapped by far-right Freedom party in coalition talks
Mathematicians have said many interesting quotable things. If they were also philosophers. Think Bertrand Russell. But have natural scientists? If not, and I think not, why not?

I can't imagine Newton, Einstein or Stephen Hawkins saying things as interesting as, say, any second rate poet like Sir John Betjeman or third rate novelist like Angela Thirkell. Or any decent Daily Telegraph writer.
Professor Haldane, what has your study of biology told you about the character of God? 

J.B.S. Haldane: That he seems to have an inordinate fondness for beetles.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Global warning prediction

"The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate at Bergen, Norway.

"Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

"Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.
"Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the Gulf Stream still very warm.
"Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.
"Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelt which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

"Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable."

This report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post.

In case, gentle but cynical reader, you think this might be fake news from 1922 it has been fact checked by Snopes.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Facebook tells me that today is Human Rights Day. Rejoice?

Not me.

I would support a day to advance liberty, but not one to advance equality, a malign idea from the American and French revolutions. Human rights are good if they are freedoms, but not if they are extensions of state power.

Googling I find that this day, previously unknown to me, is as I suspected, a creation of that ghastly body the UN. Human rights is a rephrasing of Rights of Man. In other words Jacobinism.


One loves women and countries that capture ones imagination. Life is mostly lived in the imagination, if you have one.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Bernardine Dohrn: "They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”

I wrote about the murderer Charles Manson  when he died two weeks ago. He was one of the increasingly few people who was before my time. 

At his death, the liberal press incredibly tried to suggest that the murderous Manson - a counter culture hero if ever there was one - was a forerunner of Donald Trump. 

I mentioned the debate in the SDS about whether killing white babies was a revolutionary act and quoted Bernadine Dohrn, the SDS and Weather Underground leader, who celebrated the fork stuck into the heavily-pregnant Sharon Tate's belly.
“Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!”
This was at a meeting held just after the Manson murders to decide a strategy for using violence to take over America in the name of Vietnamese and Africans. One of the SDS

Outside the Royal Palace on Thursday

Photograph by Octav Dragan, who comments on it:

Doamna din imagine nu avea telefon cu cameră foto și nici aparat de fotografiat, dar avea pix și un carnețel. În felul acesta a reușit să-și noteze pentru amintire toate mesajele de condoleanțe de pe gardul Palatului Regal. Respect! București, 9 decembrie 2017.

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We're here because we're here, because we're here

Headline in the Wall St Journal today:

U.S. to Remain in Syria Indefinitely, Pentagon Officials Say

The Americans should get out and leave the government, Russia and Iran to sort things out. Syria is a sovereign state and not in the American sphere of interest.

The US, which opposed the pro-Soviet Assad regime during the Cold War, has long wished its demise but now it seems that America for some reason identifies her interests with Israel's, though it originally allied with Israel for fear of Soviet takeover of Gulf - and fears Iran, though Sunni extremism (think Saudi funded mosques) are the threat to the West now, not Iran. 

As often happens, the original reasons for things get forgotten.

The reason that Romania was accepted as a candidate for EU membership was because of Emil Constantinescu's support for America in Kosovo (a war public opinion here strongly opposed). By the time Romania joined the EU the reason had been long forgotten. 

Other examples of this forgetfulness are legion.


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"Men are creatures with two legs and eight hands." Jayne Mansfield

"Fools censure wit, as old men rail at sin." Earl of Rochester

"Humans are primed by prudent and rational evolutionary instincts to trust people who look like us"

"Humans are primed by prudent and rational evolutionary instincts to trust people who look like us and to fear those [who don't]."

Dr. John A. Bargh, a social psychologist at Yale University, like most American academics and possibly most Yale and Harvard graduates, doesn't approve of tribes, whereas I and most people do. They are the basis of Europe since prehistory. 

The Brexit deal: the end of the beginning

Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat leader, told his party conference on Wednesday that a new treaty should be presented to member states creating a United States of Europe and countries who oppose it must leave the EU.

England has made her decision.

Martin Schulz lost the recent election badly, but it seems he will once more be Vice-chancellor. This is how democracy works in Germany, thanks to proportional representation and a tradition of consensus politics. All the German parties are social democrats except the Greens, who are crazy leftists, the ex-Communists and AfD.

Mrs. May's Brexit deal sounds worrying, sounds a sell-out, but this insightful article by Andrew Lilico cheered me up no end. Much is till to play for.

On the other hand, I see the UK being forced to remain in something akin to the single market unless we bite the bullet and go back to a hard border with Southern Ireland. A border that will in reality always be incredibly porous, as it was between 1922 and the 1965 Anglo-Irish free trade treaty, agreed between Harold Wilson and Sean Lemass. (They agreed it expecting to join the EEC.) Unless we do so we cannot prevent free movement of EU citizens into the UK (though we can prevent EU citizens who enter the UK after we leave the EU from working legally) or avoid being de facto part of the customs union. 

But although we might get customs posts at the Irish border I doubt that we shall.

Thank God the DUP has the power to prevent Northern Ireland remaining in the Single Market and separated from Great Britain by a customs barrier.

The Western European political classes despise the DUP as they despise UKIP, AfD and all parties that care deeply about Christianity or nations. They dislike the far left parties much less and are relatively unfazed by Sinn Fein/IRA or with leftish pseudo-nationalists like the SNP and the late, unlamented Catalan left-populist government.

One European negotiator is quoted in The Times today as saying
“To see a British prime minister a hostage of people like the DUP is horrifying. Can she get through this? This is the relative easy part, it gets really tough next year and she looks too weak. What we find alarming is the alternative: elections and a possible Corbyn victory. Then it’s game over.”
Theresa May has been helped by her sheer weakness and the probably unfounded fear in Europe (meaning Berlin) that Boris Johnson might succeed her. She has done better, in her terms, than might  have been expected. 

My guess is that Angela Merkel stepped in to save Mrs May and keep her show on the road.

Mrs May should not have agreed to decide the leaving payment and the Irish border before the trade deal, but she has kicked the can down the road. 

But it is still a can of worms. 

Peter Guildford, a former British EU official who runs a Brussels consultancy, pointed out:

“I never realized you could have a border without a border, but I was obviously wrong. Now let’s see how they create a single market without a single market. The wheels have to come off somewhere.”

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson must fight very hard now against the civil service, the diplomatic service, most of the establishment and the cabinet for a hardish Brexit.

I still like the idea of leaving the EU in an orderly way without a deal, and it might still happen. Andrew Lilico tweeted today that there is still a 50-50 chance of it. I doubt that because Mrs May will go to great lengths to prevent it and so would almost any new Conservative Prime Minister who replaces her. 

Another outcome I'd like is a Canadian type deal plus a deal on services, which are not covered in the Canadian agreement or the WTO rules.

This is, as Mr Lilico says, a moment when the Conservative Party should elect a new leader and thrash out what sort of Brexit we want.

At least it is clear that we are leaving in 2019 and that the EU no longer harbours hopes that we shall stay. If the transition arrangements end before the next election at least this will have been achieved. 

If they do not, though, and some think that they may need to extend for some years, then it may be Jeremy Corbyn who decides.

 How wonderfully brave my countrymen are (I had no vote but would have voted Leave). What is remarkably impressive is that roughly the same number of people in the UK are Leave now, despite all the propaganda from the pro-EU people. I expected people to get cold feet.

This fact is a great blow to the Remain establishment in the UK and to the EU.

Once more, I hope, to quote Pitt the Younger,  that England will save herself by her efforts and Europe by her example.

We are doing this not just for ourselves but for the good of Europe too.

Christmas markets without armed police are now a thing of the past in England

A great article by Ed West in The Spectator here, talking about the proliferation of machine guns and anti-terror 'diversity bollards' in British streets. The son of Richard West and Mary Kenny, he is a brave, clever and intellectually honest man who gets what is happening, as Douglas Murray does and many other young British conservative journalists like Tim Stanley or Fraser Nelson do not.

Cat calling is a hate crime

(London) Evening Standard yesterday:

Wolf whistling or making sexist remarks on London’s streets could become a hate crime. 

The Metropolitan Police today revealed it is speaking with other UK forces to assess whether it is worth cracking down on gender-based hate crimes after a pilot scheme was launched in the East Midlands last year.

Sexual assaults are very serious and wrong. Being wolf-whistled and catcalled in public are neither and usaully flattering. I asked a very attractive blonde friend of mine, Sally, what

Brasov (Kronstadt) under snow

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Democracy was always seen as the enemy of freedom

Democracy was always seen as the enemy of freedom and it was the great 19th century achievement to widen the franchise while preserving civilisation = economic inequality.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Princess Henry/Harry

The New Yorker:

"Might we not claim Harry and Meghan as the monarchs of our hearts? Might they not serve as paradoxical avatars of our own hopes for a more open, more international, more unified, and fairer world?"

Oh dear, oh dear. This sounds like a modern, globalist, multicultural version of 'Heir of Sorrows', the long running romantic serial about Charles and Diana, penned by Dame Sylvie Krin, in 'Private Eye'.

I am very pleased that Prince Henry is in love and hope he is making a wise choice. I must say that I wish the princess to be did not call herself a feminist and activist and list Ban Ki-moon, the last Secretary-General of the United Nations, as one of her heroes. 

Flowers outside the Royal Palace

On my walk to work today along Calea Victoriei in the December sunshine I came across this moving shrine to the King outside the Royal Palace. I recalled how in 1947 the crowds gathered outside the palace, enthusiastic for the King whom they saw as their only hope of protection from the Bolsheviks.

Some of the descendants of those people supported the post Communist governments of the early 1990s. The damage Communism does is very great indeed.

The flowers were moving but not so many plentiful. I think that the deaths of Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson and David Bowie moved more Romanians to tears.

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'Outrage at plans to turn vacant home of famed English author George Eliot into an ARABIC school'

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, but not the other British papers, have a story about George Eliot's house becoming an Arabic school. They found someone who was brave enough to be quoted as being outraged about it.

The Daily Mail is a valuable news source and provides a timid critique of the ideology of England's rulers, is very good on celebrity wardrobe misfunctions too, but it does not expect its readers to have heard of George Eliot or know she was a woman.

There's absolutely no reason why the house shouldn't become an Arabic school. It's an interesting footnote to history though. George Eliot's and Arnold Bennet's Midlands has been transformed and will be transformed much more.

Bismarck's ancestral manor house has been a Polish government building since 1945.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

German pilots refuse to carry failed asylum seekers

Figures collated by the German Left [ex-Communist] Party found 222 flights had been abandoned after pilots refused to carry failed asylum seekers on board.


"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."

Gustav Mahler

"Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free."

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“I want there to be a constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe to be presented to the member states, and those who are against it will simply leave the EU."

Martin Schultz today. 

Things that make me happy

The Tridentine Mass; winter sunshine; Bucharest; looking round churches; good friends; good conversation; good books; good restaurants (Grano, Mesogios, Il Villagio, Tuk Tuk, Zexe); good wine; old films. Mozart. Roquefort. The British monarchy and peerage. Romanian carols. Romanian villages. Romanian common sense attitudes to life. The amazing pizza shop on Lipscani, by the statue of the wolf suckling Romulus and Remus (there are not such good pizzas in Naples).

Sir Edward du Cann was a crook

I blogged about the death of Sir Edward du Cann here. I wanted to add this, which I just read in The Spectator by Charles Moore.
Sir Edward’s longevity proved a problem for me when I was preparing my first volume for the publishers. A paragraph about him (incredibly, he came quite close to being chosen over Mrs Thatcher to challenge Ted Heath in 1974) had to have two versions, one if he were still alive, the other if he weren’t. He lived, so my quotation from William Waldegrave said that Heath’s supporters hoped that Du Cann would challenge because they ‘all knew that he had such a dubious financial record as to make him an easy target’. In the ‘dead’ version, Waldegrave said: ‘all knew that he was a crook’. Those who romanticise the probity of politics in the old days would do well to study Sir Edward’s career.

The King is dead

O good old man, how well in thee appears the constant service of the antique world.
I have been very busy and had simply no time to blog about the death of the King which, even though he was 96 and had been very sick for two years, was a huge sadness to me and almost everyone in Romania. 

The Guardian obituary is here.

When I first came to live in Romania almost twenty years ago I was told that all nice Romanians are monarchists. It is true. The monarchy in 1990 was the rallying cry of the people who rejected the National Salvation Front and the (ex-)Communist structure of power. 

For many years until this century the words Monarhia Salveaza Romania ('The monarchy will save Romania') remained painted on a wall in Piata 21 Decembrie, a remnant from the days in the summer of 1990 when the golani ('hooligans')occupied the square before being expelled with violence and murder by the miners called into Bucharest by the ex-Communist government. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tridentine Mass

The Tridentine Mass blows the mind. I attended a wonderfully well sung Tridentine Mass in Sunday in Rome and it convinced me that the way to reevangelise Europe is to have a solemn sung Mass in the old rite every Sunday in every Catholic church in Europe.

The vandalism and ugliness of the 1960s cannot be described.

My priest friend told me Pope Paul VI expected Europe to become far left, which it has, and that the vernacular Mass was a way to adapt to this which it is not.

When Catholics do not believe in God

When Catholics do not believe in God they know exactly what God it is in Whom they do not believe.

As a Spaniard said to George Barrow, why should I believe in your God when I do not believe in my own Who is the one true God?

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The mystery

'Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery.' Wittgenstein

Two thousand year old wisdom

Mrs. Opimian:  I think, doctor, you would not maintain any opinion if you had not an authority two thousand years old for it.

The Rev. Dr. Optimian: Well, my dear, I think most opnions worth mentioning have an authority  of about that age.

I am rereading Gryll Grange by Thomas Love Peacock.

When and why did we stop revering the wisdom of the past and start assuming that all opinions widely held before 1965 are probably malign?

Dinner in Belgrade


Belgrade seemed tediously Western and modern in 1992.

Now it seems attractively shabby and parochial. Most of all it feels like a free country. People, one senses, say what they like here.

The man I had dinner with said Serbia is in no hurry to join the E.U. She has free trade agreements with the E.U., Russia and China and lots of Chinese, Russian and Arab investment.

He thinks once Serbia joins the E.U. the outflow of people to jobs in the West will ruin the country.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


'God is in the world as the poetry is in the poem.' Les Murray

'If triangles had a god he would have three sides.' 


When Colin Powell stood outside the Security Council meeting room to discuss the forthcoming invasion of Iraq a curtain was tactfully or disgracefully drawn to hide the tapestry version of Picasso's Guernica.

Is ISIS part of the Muslim reformation?

'I find it odd that people often call for a Reformation in Islam, because no one seems more Salafist and bloodthirsty than the men (mostly men) who brought in Europe's Reformation.'
(Christopher Howse, reviewing Eamon Duffy's new book in the Spectator.)
It is possible that ISIS is part of the Muslim reformation.

President Trump (that still sounds odd) causes outrage again

President Trump has caused 'outrage' by tweeting a picture of a Muslim about to smash a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Metro has the headline "anti Muslim: Clip retweeted by President". Islam not Christianity is the victim. 

The press talks about the fact that Mr Trump tweeted retweeted three things tweeted by a miniscule anti-Muslim party in England that has 800 members. Its leaders are being prosecuted for hate speech and the press thinks it is Mr Trump who has acted disgracefully. No one questions the laws that make hate speech a crime.

Decline and fall

I decided that Rome the eternal city is the ideal place to celebrate a birthday and my recent one was a very good one. Lunch and dinner with clever like minded people. Wonderful food and drink, churches and paintings, even the Tridentine Mass. Italy is an economic disaster due to the euro, but Italy is the last civilised country in Western Europe. And Rome is good for introspection which is the point of travel and birthdays.

But Rome becomes more touristy each time I visit. The small family owned shops and restaurants are still plentiful but the souvenir shops grow more. Rome's future is Venice. It is already half a museum and this is the future of Europe.

Rome was taken and sacked by a series of infidels including Arabs long ago, but remains

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

This England

I was fascinated when at a newspaper party yesterday evening, someone I used to know years ago and got on fine with, embraced me, discovered from the conversation he had come in on that I had voted for Brexit, and said: "I'd rather spend an evening with a child molester than with a Brexiteer."

Ruth Dudley Edwards

I thought I would dip my toe in the political waters once again. It has been an interesting and educational process. And I am struck, not for the first time by the unique degree of self-loathing that a certain kind of middle-class Briton has for their own country.

Monday, 27 November 2017

President Hillary would have been a disaster

Susan Sarandon: ‘I thought Hillary was very dangerous. If she'd won, we'd be at war.’
The worst thing about a victory for Hillary Clinton, apart from her being President, a position for which she is clearly not fit and which would have led to tragic and unnecessary wars (she destroyed Libya, remember), is the empowerment her victory would have given to the Republican and Democratic party establishments - and to the American establishment generally. 

Does the sleep of reason bring forth monsters?

“It is not the slumber of reason that engenders monsters, but vigilant and insomniac rationality” Gilles Deleuze
Is this true? It is true that intellectuals and their ideas engender most of the monsters, but monsters are engendered all the time, whether or not reason slumbers, and reason can mean different things. The rationality of Communism and the Nazis is not probably not rational as Goya's generation understood the word. 

Yet yes - it is usually seeking to organise the world on rational principles that engenders monsters.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

How the brown bear became public enemy number one in rural Romania

A year ago the technocrat environmental minister, Cristiana Pașca Palmer, brought in a law to make hunting bears illegal in Romania. She said that under European law “hunting for money was already illegal”, which seems to me undemocratic - why should countries not decide for themselves? 
The idea that hunting was acting to protect citizens from bears was, she claimed, just a cover for money making. 

Foreign conservationists across the world applauded. Romanians who lived in the countryside did not. A lot of Romanians have been killed or maimed by bears.

As a result a movement have sprung up, centring on the Szecklerland, the ethnic Hungarian region in the Carpathians, to make killing bears legal again. This article in the Guardian has the story (seen from the NGO, not the peasant, point of view).

In the 12 months since the ban, a movement calling for the widespread culling of bears has grown and gathered momentum, tipping the bear question over

Why do people applaud mass murderers (sometimes)?

Charles Manson has died in gaol. He was a cult leader who, in 1971, was found guilty of nine first-degree murders including the murder of actress Sharon Tate, murders which were carried out at his instruction by members of his cult.

Paul Berman writes interestingly about Manson here.

"'There were crazy discussions at Flint over whether killing white babies was inherently revolutionary, since all white people are the enemy. Out of this bizarre thinking came Bernardine’s infamous speech praising Charles Manson and his gang’s murder of actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and the LaBiancas. “Dig it!” she exclaimed. “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim’s stomach. Wild!” We instantly adopted as Weather’s salute four fingers held up in the air, invoking the fork left in Sharon Tate’s belly. The message was that we shit on all your conventional values, you murderers of black revolutionaries and Vietnamese babies. There were no limits now to our politics of transgression.'

Quotations from Hegel

An idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.

To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.

Education is the art of making man ethical.


Friendship, “the wine of life,” should, like a well-stocked cellar, be continually renewed; and it is consolatory to think, that although we can seldom add what will equal the generous first growths of our youth, yet friendship becomes insensibly old in much less time than is commonly imagined, and not many years are required to make it mellow and pleasant.
James Boswell's Life of Johnson
When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Starving children in Eastern Ghouta

The Guardian has a harrowing story today about suffering in the siege of Eastern Ghouta in Syria.

The region suffered in the deadly 2013 sarin gas attack that nearly provoked a US intervention in the war, an intervention that might have led to the end, in the long run, of Assad. Ed Miliband's decision to oppose British intervention led to it being defeated in the House of Commons, which led Mr Obama to back down. Things have grown steadily worse since then. Siege Watch, a project that tracks blockades in Syria, has said the area is “on the brink of disaster”.

A story of terrible suffering and I have no wish to defend the Assad regime, but have some questions. Amnesty International says starve or surrender sieges are war crimes, but are they? And why don't rebel troops surrender? I presume inhabitants are being held captive by rebels but Guardian doesn't say a word about this. It reminds me of coverage of Eastern Aleppo.

Russia produces fake news but so does the Guardian, CNN etc.

The Guardian story make no sense. 

Sleeping Beauty ‘fuels culture of sexual assault’

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Inspired by the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, Mrs Sarah Hall, a 40 year-old British PR consultant, was reading a version of Sleeping Beauty to her six-year-old son and decided that it promoted unacceptable non-consensual kissing, reports The Times. She is reported to have said: 

“I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent. It’s about saying, is this still relevant, is it appropriate? In today’s society, it isn’t appropriate — my son is only six, he absorbs everything he sees, and it isn’t as if I can turn it into a constructive conversation."

In the original version of the story the Prince awakened the Sleeping Beauty with something much stronger than a kiss. He impregnated her and she woke during childbirth. The brothers Grimm bowdlerised the story. 

The Prince was committing several crimes at once, in fact. He was a white man, in a position of unfair power in an utterly unjust, unmeritocratic, undemocratic, patriarchal system, first objectifying and then sexually assaulting a woman in a coma.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Laura Perrins: The Tories are the enemy within

Laura Perrins is right to call the British Conservative Party the enemy within. It's now a deeply unconservative party.

As she says in this article:

'The Tories have interfered with the childcare market, causing the costs to rise year in, year out. They want more mothers in work, whether they want to be there or not. They lecture us on what to eat and drink; no detail of our life is beyond government note-taking. Now they have instructed GPs to ask what your sexuality is. This is Nanny turned Nurse Ratched.

Of course Angela Merkel is not finished

Of course that wily fox Angela Merkel is not finished.

She said she'll hold another election in order to get the Social Democrats to return to their alliance with her to save the Republic from AfD.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Brexit is a silly word

A man said to me yesterday, 'We should stop talking about Brexit - Brexit is a silly word - and start talking about independence'.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Today is the Queen's and the Duke of Edinburgh's 70th wedding anniversary

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II's and the Duke of Edinburgh's 70th wedding anniversary. King Michael of Romania attended the wedding, met his future Queen there and surprised the Communists by bravely returning to Bucharest. He was forced to abdicated a few weeks later.

The Queen, the King and the Duke are all with us today but the the King's life is moving peacefully towards its close, in the words that Lord Dawson of Penn, his doctor, used of King George V in 1936. Princess Elizabeth, his granddaughter, was ten then and had no idea that she would one day be queen.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Is the Pope Catholic? Or a liberal Protestant?

A clever, wise, well-known and nice English priest speaking of Pope Francis told me
Don't let him rent space in your head
and I have followed this advice in order not to find myself disagreeing with the successor to St. Peter. 

It hasn't always been possible. I disagree with him passionately when he instructed

Four quotations

"From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Many things will die out with my generation

Many things will die out with my generation, which is to say people born in the 1960s. European ethnic states, Christendom, or at least the idea that Europe is Christian, cash, cheque books, land lines and telephone kiosks, much of the English countryside, high streets, masculine dominance. Free speech is already restricted, except in the USA and Eastern Europe. Mothers who cook each evening. Lard. Smoking, I hope. Newspapers made of paper. Privacy. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Kids are great, you can teach them to hate everything you hate

To quote Homer (Simpson)
"Kids are great. You can teach them to hate everything you hate."
This applies to parents but also to teachers and academics, to nationalistic late 19th century German teachers and left-wing modern British ones.

Romania is lucky that here teachers, like poets and priests, are conservatives, not as in England left-wing.

'We Romanians are individualists'

A Romanian friend of mine said to me 

'We Romanians are individualists but not in the way the Irish are individualists. The Irish are a race of geniuses - we just can't stand one another'. 

Good advice for life

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

J.R.R. Tolkien

When the jail sentence comes, it is best to face it with wintry realism, devoid of bitterness or self-pity. 

Jonathan Aitken

It's awf'lly bad luck

It's awf'lly bad luck on Diana 

Her ponies have swallowed their bits

 She fished down their throats with a spanner 

And frightened them all into fits.

Sir John Betjeman

'Awful', 'frightful' and 'terrible' used 
to be emphatic, or in other words as what grammarians call gradable adverbs, were slang invented by British upper class young people (I was going to write youth but that conjured up an image of inner city gangs) in the 1870s. I know this from Trollope's deservedly forgotten novel Is He Popenjoy? Now it seems those words are going out of fashion, along with 'rather' and 'fairly'. If this professor is right. 

He thinks this may be because they sound middle or upper class. I wonder why it's undesirable to sound middle or upper class.

Saul Bellow disliked Romanians using British words like 'frightful' and I even taught one anti-American Romanian friend to say 'frightfully' in order to annoy Americans. But 'frightfully' is very old fashioned and upper class. It went out a long time ago.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Gordon Brown's memoirs sound unpickupable

From Lord Mandelson's review of Gordon Brown's memoirs. 
Modernisation is too often caricatured as privatisation in this book, and fails to grasp that New Labour’s reform agenda was not in opposition to social justice, but the only way in a changing world to achieve it.
I agree with his lordship on this . This is what the people who think Mr Blair was not left-wing fail to understand. He was hugely successful at transforming Britain in a left wing direction because he presided over economic growth and won three landslide election victories. His two great mistakes, from a Labour point of view, were announcing that he

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Three quotations

You must eat life or it will eat you.  Proverb - but from which country?

I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

To the liberalism they profess, I prefer the liberties we enjoy; to the Rights of Man, the rights of Englishmen. Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bridget Jones was Labour

I only know Bridget Jones' Diary in the film version and had no idea till today that Bridget voted Labour.  In this diary entry from four months before Labour took power in 1997, tweeted by someone, she is horrified to find her boyfriend is a Tory. She summarises her political views in a way that seems a little bit topical this week:

Labour stands for sharing, kindness, gays, single mothers and Nelson Mandela as opposed to braying bossy men having affairs with everyone shag shag shag left right and centre and going to the Ritz in Paris then telling all the presenters off on the Today programme.

Many happy returns of the day, Mihaelas, Mihais and Gabis

Image result for mihai gavril lemn icoana

Today is St. Michael and St. Gabriel's Day and people in Romania named after the two archangels receive calls from their friends. Saints' days function pretty much exactly like birthdays. 

King Michael of Romania celebrates his saint's day today. 'O good old man, how well in thee appears the constant service of the antique world.' Many happy returns of SS Michael and Gabriel's Day to His Majesty and all Mihaelas, Mihailas, Mihais, Gabriels and Gabrielas. 1.3 million Romanians out of about 20 million are named after the two archangels.

St Michael's and St Gabriel's day is traditionally the last warm day of the year but this year it doesn't feel warm. 

How nice to live in a country suffused with folk Christianity, where saints' days are universally celebrated, even by atheists. Romania is in many ways more civilised than England.

Shepherds bake a special kind cake today, named “turta arieților” (“the cake of the rams"), today rams are let loose among the sheep and one shepherd – usually the youngest – throws the cake high in the air. If it falls down face-up, many lambs will be born in the spring. If face down, the sheep will have few lambs.

Archangels and angels are not given very much attention these days by the devout in post-Protestant countries like England or America (one exception is this book by Dr. Martin Israel), but in late antiquity they were very much venerated and still are by Romanians, who understand that religion is about the supernatural.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Chaos theory and sexual harassment

Mr. Obama became president because a TV actor wanted sex with his wife outdoors. His own wife, not Mrs. Obama. John Rentoul examines in this article the butterfly effect and the British sexual harassment scandal.

Do not be deceived by Dame Judi Dench exposing herself to Kenneth Branagh and all the other odd disclosures. This witch hunt seems to be about sex but it's really about Theresa May's powerlessness and Brexit.

The British newspapers make no sense today

Press standards in England are abysmal. It seems the information stolen from Appleby, as far as I can see, reveals perfectly respectable tax avoidance not culpable and illegal tax evasion.The papers talk about the need for gun control in America after the latest massacre, but the killer was shot by a brave, armed bystander. There is no intelligent analysis of the Russia-Trump story or the sexual harassment allegations. The Telegraph is almost as bad as the left wing press.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Chancellor of Oxford: Safe spaces at universities are 'fundamentally offensive'

Another story about lack of free speech and Oxford University.

The Chancellor, Lord ('Chris') Patten, addressing the Oxford Union on Thursday afternoon said:

"I was in Hong Kong three or four weeks ago, talking to young men and women who face going to prison because they argue for free speech, and I come back to Britain and I find that people want universities to be full of safe spaces where you can't speak your mind.
"There is a huge difference between having an argument with someone and having a quarrel with them. It's one of the reasons that I find safe spaces at universities or no-platforming so fundamentally offensive.
"It's nothing to do with my view of what university should be like. University should be regarded as liberal, with liberal values of free speech."

The left is the enemy of free speech in China, England and Europe.

But the left includes supposed conservatives like Angela Merkel, who is anxious to prevent free speech on Facebook and Twitter. There are many English equivalents of Mrs. Merkel.

I was shouted down for 40 minutes at Oxford University

Pro-choice students screamed to prevent anti-abortion speakers being heard

Another depressing story. A small meeting of people opposed to abortion in a room at St. John's College, Oxford was in effect prevented from taking place by left-wing yahoos.

Universities should delight in hearing and debating every point of view including fascist and communist ones.

Instead views that were pretty universally held fifty or sixty years ago are shouted down or banned.

Gentle reader, you know all this. What is to be done?

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Why I side with the Spanish government

Various readers have taken issue with my congratulating the Spanish government for its manliness in dealing with the illegal Catalan referendum and half hearted attempt to secede.

After General Franco's long drawn out death King Juan Carlos (why do we not call him John Charles in English?) brokered a settlement whereby the Civil War divisions were put aside. Since the Islamist bombings catapulted Zapatero's socialists to power the left has sought to reopen the settlement and achieve the goals of the Republicans at the expense of Catholic Spain. 

The Brexit referendum did not lead to hate crimes or to murder

This story might interest Romanian and East European readers who have been led to believe that the outcome of the Brexit referendum was the product of anti-East European racism.

As the Daily Mail showed a year ago, there was no rise in "hate crimes" in Great Britain after the Brexit referendum. None at all. Nor was the killing of a Pole, shortly after the referendum, in Harlow, Essex a hate crime. 

Shockingly the verdict in the manslaughter trial did not receive much coverage, very unlike the killing itself. 

Friday, 3 November 2017


Men can only be highly civilised while other men, inevitably less civilised, are there to guard and feed them. George Orwell

Good wood, bad wood - the same smoke but not the same flames. Nicolae Iorga

What we are heading towards is some awful world where everyone is expected to be completely asexual. This is actually inhumane. Laura Perrins

Thursday, 2 November 2017

People who have sex change operations can end up 'badly damaged'

Transgender people can end up 'badly damaged' says Lord Robert Winston

Speaking on Today on Radio 4, he said that 

"Results are horrendous in such a big proportion of cases"


"What I've been seeing in a fertility clinic are the long-term results of often very unhappy people who now feel quite badly damaged."

What Lord Winston is reported as saying about sex change operations is very shocking indeed, except it's not because it is not a surprise. It's shocking too that the Telegraph doesn't know how to refer to peers, but this very much pales in comparison to the horrible consequences of botched or misconceived sex change operations.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Homage to Spain: I love the manliness shown by Spain over Catalonia

I love the manliness shown by the Spanish government over Catalonia. If only David Cameron hadn't given Scotland a referendum on independence Britain could take the same line with Scotland but now a precedent has been created. I wish Mr Blair and Sir John Major had been equally manly with the IRA rather than making peace with them. They were on the point of being largely defeated when the peace process started.

Massacre in New York: Never let a crisis go to waste

I am very sorry about the killings in New York. 

The alleged killer ran down his eight victims with a lorry (The Daily Telegraph oddly uses the Americanism truck). America is at least spared the gun restrictions conversation and might have an immigration conversation instead. Donald Trump, if he is clever, will not let a crisis go to waste.

The suspect was named as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, who moved to America from Uzbekistan in 2010. He is said to have left a note in the lorry claiming he committed the attack on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Theresa May, who always speaks in clichés, condemned the attacks as cowardly, when of course it requires courage to kill people and risk being killed oneself.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cardinal Newman explains why law and business should not be taught at university

‘…When I speak of Knowledge, I mean something intellectual, something which grasps what it perceives through the senses; something which takes a view of things; which sees more than the senses convey; which reasons upon what it sees, and while it sees; which invests it with an idea. It expresses itself, not in a mere enunciation, but by an enthymeme: it is of the nature of science from the first, and in this consists its dignity. The principle of real dignity in Knowledge, its worth, its desirableness, considered irrespectively of its results, is this germ within it of a scientific or a philosophical process. This is how it comes to be an end in itself; this is why it admits of being called Liberal. Not to know the relative disposition of things is the state of slaves or children; to have mapped out the Universe is the boast, or at least the ambition, of Philosophy.

Orthodox clergy ring church bells to protest transgender law

I googled 'transgender' and 'church' just now and got a lot of stuff about the Church of England being accepting to people who change their sex and, by contrast, this news item from ten days ago.
Greek Orthodox clergy ring church bells to protest transgender law
Church bells have rung “in mourning” across a western Greek diocese to protest the passing of a law making it easier for people to officially change their gender.
Under the guidance of Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta, a fiery conservative Orthodox bishop, clerics in his diocese decided that starting Sunday church bells are to ring every day, through Saturday, at noon for three minutes. They also called for the repeal of the “anti-Christian and anti-Greek” law.
Gentle reader, you probably know your views on this.