Did you vote for a Hard Remain or a Soft Remain?

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If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that at some point in our lives most of us have been sore losers. In fairness to some of the remain die-hards I doubt I would have given up if the referendum had gone the other way – even if it had been an overwhelming defeat. I do understand the feeling of losing out on a democratic vote, particularly when you feel strongly about something. As a very young voter I remember my shock at the defeat of Neil Kinnock and the Labour Party by John Major’s Conservatives, I simply could not accept the fact that millions had rejected Labour, it seemed such an obvious moral choice. To my mind by voting for the Conservatives people had chosen self-interest over kindness and humanity and it took me a number of years to finally accept that for all his charm and decency Neil Kinnock was unable to convince the nation that his party could be trusted with power. It took me longer still to appreciate that people who have a different political outlook are not by definition heartless sociopaths.

Demonising millions of other people who voted differently is a sin I have been guilty of in the past so I cannot complain too much when I am on the receiving end of it. I do get it, I do understand the emotion at play. Yet there is a world of difference between the frustrated rantings of a nonentity like me and the expressed views of politicians and recognised political commentators and the reverence their sneering attitude is given by the elite media. My ability to make fun of millions of people is a faint murmur drowned out by the megaphone mocking passed off as humour by a trained cadre of globalist comedians, the jesters of the Dark State, that the BBC loves to pour out across the airwaves night and day, unchallenged.

The efforts to demonise me have certainly succeeded if the plan was to divide our society, but if the plan was to make me change my mind it has failed dismally. My heart has hardened further, I can think of few issues in my life where I am so certain I am right. For too long now a self-declared ‘Liberal’ elite has automatically assumed that only they should control the levers of power. They have become too accustomed to having things their own way, too fond of dictating to the lower classes about how the future is shaped, and they are unwilling to share power. Now their ambitions have been checked and in their fury their mask has dropped and I can see them for what they are. Now I want nothing more than to see a world where a small elite are never given so much control again and my determination to see that happen grows daily.

The vilification of leave voters will continue to sow division in our society but in itself will not halt our exit from the EU. Assuming we remain as a passable democracy it is difficult to see how the vote can be overturned. Whenever I hear that the vote should be ignored no remain ultra has ever provided me the answer when I ask exactly what country do they expect to live in if that happened? No government could ever claim any legitimacy, social cohesion would break down, there would almost certainly be civil disobedience and quite likely wide scale civil unrest in a country where 17.4 million people have been told they are second class citizens, that their votes don’t count.

Fortunately we live in a country where people are a decent bunch on the whole, so a lot of credit must go to the vast majority of people who voted to stay in the EU but have accepted the outcome of the referendum. I not only admire their dignity in defeat, in time I believe it will be seen that it is their sense of fair play that saved our democracy. I believe our political establishment has made this realization, so if the vote cannot be overturned then what options are there within the democratic process to somehow keep the nation in the EU? Step forward the second referendum – disguised as the vote on the final deal.

The opening gambit to this is the constant refrain from remain ultras that we leave voters didn’t know what they were voting for (we did, the choice was binary, stay in the EU or leave it) – the implication being that we didn’t vote for a hard Brexit. To a degree this is true, I always felt we could have swiftly left the EU by dropping in to the EFTA arrangements and plotting a leisurely course to independence from there – but this does not mean my second preferred option is to remain in the EU.

Yet let us examine this hard / soft Brexit narrative by flipping it. Let us say remain ultras continue successfully with their drum beat for a second referendum. What is the referendum to be about – since we have already voted to leave the EU? Is it about a soft remain where things go back to how they were in early 2016, and has the EU agreed to that? Do we maintain every single opt out and agreement? Well if it is the case (which I very much doubt) all you will achieve is to delay Brexit by a few years, there is an act of Parliament that ensures there will be a further referendum on any future transfer of powers. This would be a referendum you would almost certainly lose, there is a world of difference between a vote on membership of the EU and a vote to transfer more powers to an unelected bureaucracy. A soft remain is a dead end, a similar limbo to Brexit in name only.

Hard remain is the only game in town, the remain where the truth about the European project has to be explained to people. You will need to explain how, why and when more of the powers Parliament exercises on our behalf will be transferred to Brussels. You will need to explain how the little influence we have over our lives in general elections will be further diluted. You will somehow have to make the case that democracy will be protected (good luck with that one). You will need to explain to people how the legal framework we all operate within will be increasingly designed and developed by people who do not live in our country, know little about our way of life and the impacts their decisions have on us. You will need to explain why our service men and service women may be called upon to shed their blood fighting for an EU Army under a battle flag most of us resent.

Finally you will need to tell people the truth about the single market, I think many remain supporters are under the impression that the single market is a thing in itself, it is not, the single market is a stepping stone to the unified market and this is the thing that is being concealed from everyone on both sides of the debate. The unified market is the ultimate destination and sees the total free movement of goods, services, people and money irrespective of national boundaries. A nation state will have no real purpose in a unified market, nor will you.

So if there is a second referendum please be absolutely clear, is this a hard remain or a soft remain you are asking people to vote for?

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The Forgotten Working Class Of The West

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A few days ago I was in Dublin to visit some old friends. Over a pleasant home cooked meal, (complimented with lashings and lashings of lemonade) the conversation took its usual turn as it has done since the referendum vote, me having to once again explain why I campaigned to leave the EU. Readers of my blog who live in London are all too familiar with this theme, it is unspoken but for some reason I must atone for what I have done and apologise for being a rabid racist/xenophobe/probable Trump supporter. To say I am weary of having once more to reject this caricature is an understatement. Sam Hooper – one of my favourite bloggers has written at length on this very subject, his analysis of my own experiences was that the reason I draw so much attention is that in all other ways I fit the remain profile, I am an educated professional with a good job, well travelled and clearly a beneficiary of Globalisation. As such I just don’t easily fit with the stereotype that supporters of the EU prefer to have in their world view, I create some form of cognitive dissonance for them.

I am well practiced now in this piece of theatre and once I can sense this cognitive dissonance is beginning to escalate into a row I have found it is easy to bat it away with the line “look you are a friend so I am not going to lie to you but if you don’t like the answers stop asking the questions, play a different record”. Sometimes you have to repeat yourself but in a polite group someone will take the hint and change the subject.

The variation on the theme is about the benefits of globalisation and this continued with one of my hosts over breakfast. President Trump inevitably came up and of course my prediction some time back that not only would he win the nomination for the Republican Party he would go on to win the Presidency. Naturally by extension my prediction made me a Trump supporter, Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the proud owner of a veritable arsenal of assault rifles.

Yet I am no political soothsayer; my prediction was simply based on an experience I had whilst travelling in the States. Whilst the primaries were taking place I was in Northern California for a hiking holiday in the giant redwood forests (I didn’t find Big Foot but the locals assured me they have all seen him). It was on the long drive back to San Francisco I had to pull off the highway to fill up with petrol; this took me into a real backwoods town. It was here I saw it, the forgotten white working class people of America, the ones that live in between the staunchly ‘progressive’ Democrat cities. Everywhere I looked there were banners and flags proclaiming Trump, this in California, a Democrat stronghold. It was at that moment I sensed he would win, he offered these people hope, not more of the same globalist dogma we all seem to get no matter how we vote.

Returning now to my conversation with my host. She had lived for a number of years in the States on the east coast and bemoaned the attitude of these very same people. Of course she observed, I want to live in a multi cultural society. I responded but what is so wrong with not wanting to live that way, after all, what is in it for them? This of course produced the usual boiler plate liberal responses but I kept pressing, what is actually wrong with that? Now my friend is one of the kindest people I know, with a generosity of spirit I admire greatly but it was clear that she could not answer my question and since she realised I was going to keep pressing the point we decided to change the record.

Over the next few days my thoughts on the subject crystallised. This is for me the essence of what Trump and Brexit is all about. I grew up in a very working class environment, both my parents were shop workers. I was raised on a council estate, not a dreary one, the people that lived there were decent working class people, it was a safe secure environment to grow up in. One aspect of working class life often sneered at by ‘educated’ middle class people is how socially conservative working class people are. An example being their attitude to crime, personally I abhor the death penalty and always have done but when you live amongst people that are the most affected by crime you understand what drives the mentality that crime should be punished severely. After all when you have very little, theft can have very drastic consequences.

Another unfair stereotype of working class people is that they are xenophobic. The most ‘casual’ racism I have heard has come from middle class people who seem to feel that if you have dark skin for some outlandish reason you have to be patronised with special social programmes when all that was asked was to be treated equally. I would argue working class people are more accepting of people from different races, it was certainly the case when I grew up, the skin colour might be different but we still ate the same crap food at school, watched the same TV programmes and wore the same clothes our Mums bought from a catalogue. Social policy now seems more about finding what divides us rather than what unites. Given the number of Afro Saxon friends I have, I would observe that shagging is a pretty good indicator of what unites but I guess you need to get a PhD in diversity studies to conclude that the best way to integrate different races is to tell them they are all different and must live in ghettos.

So why am I stating my working class credentials? Well there are those of us like me who have benefited enormously from globalisation but can see the cost. The cost as I see it is that the working class have not benefitted at all from globalisation, their wages suppressed by mass immigration and their stable communities destroyed by the same pathology. Add into this mix the poisonous ideology of identity and gender politics coupled with having a sinister alien cult inflicted on them is it really any surprise that they reject the current direction of travel?

So next time you hear the mantra of how wonderful it is to live in a multi cultural society challenge it. Ask the question, why? What right do any of us have to change other people’s lives in such a fundamental and irreversible way? What if we are wrong and they are right? There isn’t a delete button here. As for globalisation – what’s in it for them? Don’t deflect, answer the bloody question.

I do believe a multi racial society can eventually be made to work but a multi cultural one will become increasingly divisive. A great crime is being inflicted on the working class people in this country and across the West in the name of globalisation and its handmaiden multi culturalism. Brexit and Trump were a plaintive scream from them, if we continue to ignore their voice all of us who have stood by and watched the destruction of a social class whose sole guilt seems to be their existence should hang our heads in shame.

The ‘crisis’ crisis

One of the topics I like to write about is the way language is used to manipulate the way we think. To a certain extent we all do this, most of us have had to deliver bad news to someone we care about. At this level the ability to soften a blow is a social skill, in our professional lives this is often referred to as polishing a waste product.

This useful social skill does however leave us quite vulnerable to lies and deceitful manipulation. I have written a number of blogs about how politicians and the elite media do this to us, my particular irritation being with the BBC. Why do I attack the BBC so much? Well for two main reasons, because we are forced to pay for their manipulation and deceit in a way that I am not forced to pay a particular newspaper or subscribe to a TV channel and because of the almost complete dominance they have over everything we get to see, hear or read.

Some of the recent narrative from the BBC on the NHS and Housing has made me revisit the topic. Specifically the use of the term crisis. Crisis is one of the favourite words in the lexicon of any political party that is in opposition. It is practically impossible to get a Labour MP to say the word NHS without using the word crisis in the same sentence. Oddly enough once Labour get in to power we no longer have an NHS crisis. Natch.

Now politics is a fairly dirty business so I do understand why they do this and in fairness it does make a change from the ‘ we only have 24 months/weeks/days to save the NHS’ Labour party mantra that normally comes out before an election. What concerns me is not so much the predictable games from Labour politicians, it is the way the notion of the NHS being in permanent crisis is readily accepted as somehow a fact and goes unchallenged by most of the elite media and the BBC.

The other crisis we seem to hear a lot about is the ‘housing crisis’ i.e. too many people not enough houses and not enough affordable homes. Again the ‘housing crisis’ is used by Labour politicians to create a narrative against the Government who are clearly driving around in bulldozers raising entire council estates to the ground.

Yet have you not noticed the term ‘housing crisis’ is also an accepted fact across the elite media? Have you not listened in to a talk radio show and listened to the stories of people struggling to get onto the housing ladder, from their point of view of course there is a housing crisis.

But there isn’t a housing crisis, nor is there an NHS crisis. There is however an immigration crisis but of course you will not hear politicians or the elite media tell you this.

Don’t believe me? OK some simple arithmetic, lets say I run a hospital with ten doctors with one hundred beds for a population of one thousand people. That’s a ratio of one doctor per ten beds and one bed for every ten people in the population. Now on top of that lets say the doctors and the running cost of the hospital costs me £1000 per year, one pound per head of population. So far so good. Now I decide that I will maintain this level of funding, in fact I will protect it and ensure the funding allows for inflation, all things being equal things should remain the same leaving you with the sense that I know what I am doing and you can go about your daily business.

However what I did without speaking to you or anyone else to obtain their permission was to add 100 people to the population very rapidly. What is the effect of this? Well now the ratio of doctors to beds remains the same however there is now one bed per eleven people in the population and here is the real kicker, the funding per head of population has dropped from one pound per head to about 91 pence. The doctors have less time for you, it is harder to get a bed and as the population increases less and less will be spent on you.

Over time you begin to notice the deterioration in the service you once enjoyed, this is when I play the blame game, you see it is all to do with an ageing population. My friends in the elite media will now present this to you as a fact.

Now don’t be fooled by the ageing population argument, the population is always ageing, time being a property of the Universe. Whilst it is true that as more of us reach the limits of human longevity, age related illness will increase demand on the system. Yet blaming an ageing population for the ‘crisis’ is pretty dumb particularly when the ‘solution’ is to increase the population. Like er…what happens when they get old? This is the same logic as digging a hole in the ground and then deciding the best way to get rid of the spoil is to dig another hole to bury it in.

It is the same argument for housing, and let us not forget when you build housing you also need to build more roads and other infrastructure such as drains and electricity, water and gas. You will probably also need to build more schools and hospitals and of course shops, petrol stations and all the other things you will need to maintain the population. If you keep increasing the population then repeat the process until such time as you run out of land for things like, say nature, and then sit around and wait to starve to death as you have no land left for agriculture.

This is all so obvious and yet as soon as anyone tries to point this out they are immediately rounded on as though having a reasonable grasp of basic arithmetic turns you into Adolph Hitler. It does not. Having a basic grasp of arithmetic means you can count, do fractions and understand what is finite and exhaustible. Shouting people down and hitting them with a non existent halo doesn’t mean you have made a point although it does indicate very poor numeracy.

I have said a number of times that the struggle we face against the Dark State is waged on many fronts, one of them is the control of language. Most of us that understand the dangers we face have few tools at our disposal to fight back but the control of our language is one battle we can win, one battle you can fight.

So next time you hear someone speak about the NHS or housing crisis correct them politely and say ‘you mean of course the immigration crisis’.

Soft Brexit – the hard choice

One of the layers of complexity to the debate over the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union is the different models we could choose. Sometimes this is framed as the difference between a Hard Brexit and a Soft Brexit. Generally Hard Brexit is understood to mean leaving the EU and falling back on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) framework. Soft Brexit is commonly understood to mean having some form of continued relationship with the EU. Before writing in more detail, for clarity I am on the soft side of Brexit however in this piece I will do my best to explain some of the terms in use and hopefully convince you of why a Hard Brexit is in my view a poor option when we have others.

First up – the customs union. A customs union is a type of trade block, the countries within the trade block can trade freely but they erect a common external tariff. What this means is that someone in Scotland selling agricultural products can do so anywhere within the European Union without having to pay a fee or a charge to sell into that country. There are a number of customs unions in the world, the European Union Customs Union is the one most have heard of but there are others such as the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Customs unions erect what are called common external tariffs; this means that someone outside of the customs union, say an American company selling agricultural products would pay a fee to sell into the customs union. The average EU Customs Union tariff for agricultural products is 11.1%; this means for every $100 dollars of product our American friend sells he must pay a tariff of about $11. Think of being in a queue outside of a glamorous nightclub, you have to pay the bouncer 11% of the entrance fee before he lets you into the queue to buy your ticket. Members of the nightclub are waived through by the bouncer.

The European Union  Customs Union (EUCU) is a customs union made up of all members of the EU, micro states like Monaco, territories of the UK such as the Isle of Man and Turkey (which is not in the EU). The customs union was first established in 1958. One of the conditions of membership of EUCU is that the European Commission negotiates trade deals on behalf of all members rather than individual members negotiating their own deals. Technically it is the Common Commercial Policy that prohibits states negotiating trade deals but I think my blog would drift into becoming unreadable if I expanded on that one.

Next up – the Single Market. There are three stages to market integration, the first is what is called a Common Market (remember that). There are a number of common markets in the world, perhaps the best known is Mercosur, the common market that operates across large parts of Latin America. A common market sets up a free trade area amongst its members for free movement of money and services.

The second stage is the single market; this removes most trade barriers for goods and allows free movement of money and labour, enterprise and services. Barriers to free movement such as standards and taxes are harmonised. What is often not explained to people is that the single market is only the mid point to the Nirvana of a unified market. A unified market is the ultimate goal and involves the total free movement of goods, services, people and money irrespective of national boundaries. It is difficult to see how nation states could continue to exist in a unified market – after all what would they have left to do?

Last up – the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The EFTA is a free trade area; its members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The EFTA operates closely with the EU but it is not part of the European Union Customs area which is why EFTA members can negotiate their own trade deals. The EFTA has its own court to oversee compliance with arrangements, unlike the European Court of Justice – the much maligned ECJ, the EFTA court has no ambitions to ever closer union and concerns itself solely with treaty matters.

It is worth noting that the EFTA has a free trade agreement with the EU, also of note countries within the EFTA can limit the number of EU migrants coming to their country i.e. it is not completely free movement and where it happens it is understood to be free movement of labour not welfare. You cannot go to Norway and sign on.

To participate in the single market Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are parties to an agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) regulated by the EFTA court, Switzerland prefers to operate via a series of bilateral agreements with the EU.

This is a very simplistic overview of the models but hopefully I have explained some of the differences. A Hard Brexit means leaving both the customs union and the single market. This means companies that trade with the EU will pay tariffs. So what? I hear you say – we can charge them tariffs as well. This is true but it means our exports become more expensive and the imports we do want become more expensive to the consumer. We are not going to get a free trade deal with the EU within the timescales of the Article 50 process, falling back on WTO rules will be expensive – and lets not forget WTO only deals with trade, it has nothing to say about your rights of access to healthcare when you are on holiday in the EU.

My main concern about a Hard Brexit is that it brings such a shock to the economy as well as all the things we got used to in the EU such as visa free travel that the Remain campaign will seize advantage and take us back into the European Union, this time with no opt outs- so be careful what you wish for, a Hard Brexit could well lead to a Euro in your pocket within a decade. A Hard Brexit is an emotive response, I do understand it but I would argue that the pragmatic one is for us to leave the EU and adopt the EFTA arrangements; this will prevent any shock to the economy and provide us time to negotiate trade deals with partners around the world. So that we are clear, I see the EFTA as staging post to full independence not a place of permanent residence.

As an independent nation we need to carve out a new role for ourselves where we are not wedded to monolithic trading blocks and one that does not blindly follow the mantra of the high priests of economics and their depletion models. For more widely we all need to open our eyes to what is happening both here and around the world. An economic dogma is being imposed on nation states across the globe. If you hear the term common market be aware that a common market is a stepping stone, one that leads to the unified market. This is the piece of information that the people of the world are not being told about, the EU and all the common markets around the globe, they are all aspects of the same thing, a drive to end the nation states of our world, our art, our music, our culture and our history all to be burned at the shrine of Moloch and the one true religion of consumerism. A world where we are broken down as individuals with no sense of identity, fed a diet of falsehoods by our media, terrorisedby a Dark Age cult and bullied into silence by the fake outrage of fake campaign groups funded by a wealthy and malign elite.

Brexit for me is not a simple case of leaving the EU, it is the one opportunity for the world to hear a powerful voice say  stop – think about what we are doing, is this really the world we wish to create? Our country, the cradle of the enlightenment is uniquely placed to do this; this is simply too precious to be taking risks with a Hard Brexit, let’s not blow it.

Brexit and the Irish sticking plaster

Last week I had an interesting Twitter debate with one of the more thoughtful Remainers. He raised the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland demanding that Brexiteers provide an answer. Very quickly I replied that a solution is that the Republic also leaves the EU and comes with us. Yet as soon as I sent it I thought more deeply about it, my response was a boiler plate Brexiteer response, but in this case it is not what I really think. I am from an Anglo Irish family, my side of the family is Unionist the other is Republican, I have seen for myself how divisive the issue is, the best we can do as a family is just agree not to talk about it. As for Brexit all I think has happened is that it has lifted a stone that covered up unresolved problems from the past, problems that were always there but we refused to address them.

In a certain sense Ireland has had a number of periods in its history where it has been united. The ancient geographer Claudius Ptolemy wrote about the island as being distinct from Britain, Ireland did not receive the attentions of the Romans but there is much evidence that trade took place between Roman Britain and Ireland. After the Romans left Britain, Ireland consisted of a patchwork of small kingdoms. The concept of a High King of the island began to emerge at the beginning of the 7th Century AD and there were periods where Ireland notionally united under a High King but the role was mainly ceremonial and the holders seldom able to consolidate the small kingdoms into one with any continuity. The complicated rules of succession further impeded the unification of the small kingdoms despite the need to unite in order to fight off the Vikings.

In 1169 the Normans invaded Ireland heralding in the fraught relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland. Over the next few centuries the Normans had introduced a feudal system across much of Ireland which only started to decline after the ravages of the Black Death in the mid 14th Century. Toward the end of the 15th Century Norman (by now effectively English) influence withdrew to a small enclave around Dublin known as the Pale, Irish culture with its Norman influence flourished during this period.

For almost a Century the English seemed to have lost interest in Ireland until Henry VIII decided to recreate the title of King of Ireland leading to the Tudor conquest of Ireland. Complete conquest came about by the late 17th Century. The Kingdom of Ireland merged with the United Kingdom in 1801 with the Acts of Union, with the small matter of the Catholic majority in Ireland being banned from becoming members of Parliament. With remarkable speed the British moved to deal with the discrimination against Catholics – thirty years later.

British involvement during this period was not particularly glorious, Westminster displayed remarkable incompetence and an almost willful lack of care during the potato famine which made it nigh impossible for Ireland and Britain to work as a single entity. A number of unsuccessful attempts were made at finding a model for Home Rule for Ireland but William Gladstone could not gain the required support in Parliament nor resolve the sectarian issues. The resentment of Irish Nationalists towards the rule of Westminster famously manifested itself in the Easter uprising of 1916. Following five further years of low level warfare Ireland was partitioned in 1921 creating an independent Irish Free State – the Republic and the state of Northern Ireland which remains part of the United Kingdom. Almost 100 years later the partition remains, in that period the only positive has been the peace that ended what many Republicans called the Long War with the signing of the Good Friday agreement.

In 2016 the United Kingdom held a referendum on its membership of the European Union, by a small margin the vote was to leave the EU. The partition of Ireland in 1921, the problem that was kicked into the long grass many years ago, has resurfaced. If and when the UK leaves the EU the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland becomes the border between the EU and the rest of the world. The border that was placed there in 1921 as a sticking plaster has come off, it would have fallen off one day in any case but there is no sense in pretending anymore – it was us the British that put that border there in the first place. Put Brexit to one side for a moment and ask yourself did we really expect that border to stay there forever? Did we really think that this problem had gone away? How long are we going to keep on kidding ourselves? Sorry, reality check now – the current situation in Ireland is a dog’s breakfast.

The talks over Brexit will have to find a solution for the border problem – not least because a lot of goods from the Republic of Ireland travel across the UK to get to market in the rest of the EU. Irish exporters have enjoyed this facility for centuries, I find it unimaginable that the UK would even consider denying our Irish cousins this ancient right of way.

Since the referendum Remainers and Brexiteers have used Ireland as a subject to score points from one another. Northern Ireland aside, with few exceptions Remainers and Brexiteers are from mainland Britain and this is what troubles me. Once again we have British people deciding – or rather thinking they have the right to decide the future of Ireland. It is time for us to stop this, both sides of the debate, all that Brexit has done is expose the errors made by people who have long since passed, it was the Normans and not the English that invaded Ireland. It was the actions of a tyrannical monarch that compounded this crime against the people of Ireland. It was the arrogance and incompetence of Westminster that ensured Britain and Ireland did not achieve unity. It was the pragmatism of politicians in the early part of the 20th Century who settled for partition and it was far sighted men and women from both sides who brought us the Good Friday agreement.

It is difficult to find a single positive amongst all the British interventions in Ireland, I see no value in further interventions. Few of us alive today have had anything to do with the situation we now find ourselves in but the mainland British amongst us, be they for Brexit or Remain should not use Ireland as a football, our forefathers have done enough damage already. The only people that can resolve the problems of Ireland are the people that live there. A long period of silence from the rest of us would go a long way.

Islamophobic Vehicle Barriers

One of the more pleasant aspects of living in London is the ability to enjoy a walk around the numerous parks. If the weather is fine and I have some time I enjoy taking a stroll in my lunch break through one of the parks. Yesterday I struck out for Hyde Park for one of my favourite walks around the Serpentine lake. I was not able to do all of my usual walk as part of the park has been closed off as they make preparations for the Winter Wonderland Christmas festivities.

My circuit around the park normally ends at Hyde Park Corner, here there is a long road designed for vehicle access and as I strolled I stopped to consider the view to the entrance to the Winter Wonderland for in front of me lay masses of concrete blocks and huge metallic gates. A sense of the incongruous overwhelmed me, behind the hoarding work was taking place to prepare Santa’s grotto and other Christmas activities for children and their families, yet before them lay fortifications probably not seen in this country since the Second World War. I took a picture of what I saw and later on I tweeted the picture and a semi humorous message.

I used humour because it is a better way to get a message across than anger. Yet I am angry, when I was a child Christmas was a magical time, there was no sense of fear or foreboding just excitement and wonder. Back then my parents could take me to see Santa with a reasonable expectation that we would all get home alive. Now fearful parents – if they dare risk it, are forced to take their children through a field of fortifications, security and body searches to enjoy what should be and used to be an innocent life affirming act of human theatre.

I mulled this over further and thought about the drum beat from our politicians and the elite media about the thought crime of “Islamophobia”. The term itself is a portmanteau of Islam and phobia, Islam is the name of a religion, phobia is a Greek word meaning fear or aversion. Wikipedia describes phobia as ‘a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent fear of an object or situation’.

Now I have no doubt that some Muslims have experienced unkind remarks from people and there has been some violence directed against some of them because of their beliefs. Lets not discuss here the relative degrees of the violence on either side, that is not the subject of this post. The violence on all sides needs to be dealt with – we are all equal under the law (at least that’s the way it ought to be). My issue here is how the term “Islamophobia” is somehow being used to stop people from speaking out about what they can all see in plain sight.

The concrete blocks, the metallic gates, the security personnel – they have all been placed there by the authorities, they have been placed there because they fear an attack from Muslim terrorists. Logically this does make the defences placed there by the authorities a consequence of their Islamophobia. If politicians and the media do not wish to use the term Islamophobia to describe this then we must demand of them a term that we can all agree on to describe the dark shadow of hatred directed at us all from one religion.

We do live in an age where we are losing the battle for our language. If the meaning of words is appropriated by one side to mean what they want it to mean then it becomes harder and harder for people to express their views, when the meaning is twisted and corrupted it becomes harder and harder to speak the truth. However it is a battle and one we have to win, the term Islamophobia is not a description of hatred it is a rational response to the violence of Muslim terrorists. If our politicians and media think otherwise and believe there is nothing to fear from Muslims then can they please explain the concrete blocks outside of Winter Wonderland?

So the next time your hear this narrative stand your ground and state – Islamophobia is not a hate crime, it is a rational response to the hatred directed against me and my loved ones. If you do not like that term then please can you provide me and everyone else a term to express our fears? Otherwise please shut up.

This is a battle for language that we have to win and I am afraid we either fight this battle or we are doomed to see more and more concrete blocks, if we are afraid now wait to see how much more fear our silence will bring us.

Charities and the Dark State

Most of us support charity in one form or another. One of the more charming aspects of human nature is the way many of us gather together in a communal effort to raise money for a worthy cause. I have only run one marathon in my life, and I doubt I will run another as it damned near killed me, but taking part in the London Marathon was one of the best days of my life. Having decided earlier on to slow down and allow the elite athletes a chance to win the race, I was able to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the sense of being part of a beautiful act of human theatre and being part of something bigger than myself.

Privately I support a number of charities, sometimes for reasons of selfish altruism – I have a close family member with a serious illness. Sometimes I support a charity because it is the right thing to do – like buying a poppy or giving money to help people that survived a disaster like the Tsunami in 2004 – I guess most of us behave in this way. Whilst not all of us are mad enough to run a marathon, still at some point we have joined with others for a charity walk or bake in, put money in a tin for the RNLI or donate quietly to charities we support.

Somehow though something unwholesome seems to be happening to some of our charities. For a number of years I donated to a charity called Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), I supported this charity as a result of travels in my younger years to poorer parts of the World. I was always struck by the limited access to healthcare most of the human race suffers and how very fortunate we are to live in a wealthy nation where we are unlikely to die from an easily treated infection. I felt that by supporting MSF I would be helping people in the developing world so I was furious when MSF took it upon itself to fund a boat to ferry illegal immigrants across the Mediterranean Sea. My donations were to be used to help sick people in poorer countries, yet MSF somehow decided to use my money for people trafficking. Clearly I cancelled my donations – I think many others did as well.

Yet this drop in donations probably did not trouble MSF too greatly. MSF like many charities receive most of their money from Governments and unseen wealthy donors, since Governments themselves have no money the cash comes from taxpayers. So now we have a situation where taxpayers’ money is used to fund people trafficking and away from what the charity was initially set up to do. These large charities are often referred to as NGOs – Non Government Organisations, yet when you think about it putting the word Non at the beginning does not alter the fact that they are funded by Governments and would act in accordance with their wishes.

Now some would say NGOs are independent and superficially it would appear that way but it would take less than ten minutes of basic research to find most of them are headed by people close to the establishment. You may recall a recent leadership election in the Labour Party, David Miliband was expected to win but his brother Ed pulled off a surprise victory. David was left with a life of humble destitution on a salary of a mere $600,000 dollars a year as head of refugee charity International Rescue. Now I have no axe to grind with David Miliband but I do find something grotesque and even shameless in taking $600,000 a year from a charity. Clearly the refugee game is where the smart money is.

Questionable salaries aside what is seldom challenged is how the activities of some of these charities are working against the interests of the people whose taxes they spend. You may have noticed the term Sanctuary Cities being used by politicians and journalists, the term itself seems to have come from the United States. Sanctuary Cities are self declared centres of tolerance for illegal immigrants. Of course the preferred language is ‘refugees’ or ‘undocumented migrants’ but this does obfuscate the fact that being in someone’s country without permission is illegal. Sanctuary Cities take great pride in extolling the virtues of their tolerance, which is odd when you think about it, illegal immigration is against the law but somehow the administration of a city can boast about encouraging what is a criminal act.

Perhaps even more worrying is that no one seems willing or able to challenge the morality of a situation where taxpayer’s money is used to displace taxpayers from their own homelands. Surely if we want to help the world’s poor the best thing is to spend it where it is needed rather than import the world’s poor into our cities and displace our own poor? Maybe its just me but I find spending other peoples money in a way that destroys their communities is just a tad immoral?

The problem of Sanctuary Cities has found its way to our shores. City of Sanctuary is a charity supporting a network of groups across the UK and Ireland who are part of a movement to build a culture of welcome and hospitality within their communities. City of Sanctuary received £50K in funding in 2016/17 in a grant from Unbound Philanthropy (2016/17). Unbound Philanthropy keep the names of the donors secret but seem very active in providing finance to the charity version of people smuggling. This does seem mysterious – why the secrecy and why the web of cross funding and hidden identities of who is behind this?

Large parts of our charity sector seem to have lost their way, I would argue many now are actually doing harm – at least to the taxpayers that fund them. The sector itself – certainly at the NGO level has become a gravy train for establishment figures to maintain an influence over our lives with little or no public scrutiny into their activities or the real purpose of what they are doing. The opaque web of funding itself is of great concern. Whilst I am sure there are many wealthy donors who give money for no other reason than to help their fellow man, the system lends itself to corruption by less scrupulous individuals who seek to shape the world according to their vision. Sadly I feel this vision is a grim one for the people of the West, our own generosity and humanity is being used as a tool against us.

The NHS and how to become a hated tool of the State

 

In 1883 Germany introduced the Sickness Insurance Law, the first system designed to provide healthcare to the general population. The UK followed suit in 1911 with the National Insurance Act which provided a level of healthcare to wage earners. Healthcare provision in the UK was famously extended when the National Health Service was launched in July 1948, the first comprehensive system in the world, many commentators observing that this was a reward to the working class for the sacrifices they had made during the Second World War. Many Western European countries followed suit and within a few decades most developed nations in the world had introduced a system of universal healthcare.

 

In Europe healthcare is funded by a mixture of public and private contributions, some such as the Netherlands rely on compulsory insurance and a form of risk pool between insurers to ensure that everyone, whatever the state of their health is provided insurance. The system in the Netherlands also ensures that there is no financial advantage in providing insurance solely to healthy people since the levy to the risk pool becomes that much greater. The UK funds the health service via a single payer method, i.e. the State is the only source of funding.

 

Systems of healthcare and the methods of funding them are complex subjects and way beyond my level of knowledge to add anything useful to the debate however I do feel that the single payer method is beginning to lead the NHS astray from what it was set up to do and to lead it down the same dark path the BBC has decided to follow. For clarity my concerns are about the NHS as an organisation and not the Doctors (mainly), Nurses, Paramedics and Porters nor the cleaners, the administrators and other support staff that get out of bed every day to provide healthcare to the nation. The rot as I see it is at the top amongst the politicians, senior managers and civil servants.

 

You may recall a few weeks back Theresa May announced proposed changes to the way organs are to be obtained in the future. The current system for most people in the UK is that donors register their willingness for their organs to be used in the event of their deaths. To my mind this is a fine thing to do and I would encourage everyone to register, providing the gift of life to another even when you have passed has a heroic quality to it, we are all familiar with some of the wonderful stories of how this act has provided a level of comfort to grieving families. Theresa May has however proposed to change the way this system works from an opt in method to an opt out one. In other words your organs can be harvested unless you specifically say no. Now I have ethical concerns about this, your body belongs to your loved ones, not to the State. The State has no right to do this, it is an infringement into an area where the State and its agent in this instance, the NHS has any business.

 

There are of course arguments that this will save more lives, possibly – but so would allowing people to sell a kidney and I do not think that is an ethical thing to do either. In any case after the scandal at Alder Hay hospital where the unauthorised removal, retention and disposal of children’s organs was widespread I would certainly not trust the NHS with this kind of power.

 

In the same period the NHS has decided to dabble in identity politics by gathering data on the sexual preferences of patients – whether this is relevant or not. Now clearly in conversations between a GP and a patient this may be highly relevant but come on, I recently trashed my elbow playing cricket, what difference to the outcome would it make to find out if I liked the Scissor Sisters and adored Barbara Streisand? I struggle to understand why the NHS feels it needs this information in most cases – other than to play a bit of identity politics and, well, to be a bit creepy if you ask me. In any case my reading of the Data Protection Act is that there are very clear limits on how you gather personal data and you have to be very clear about why you need this information.

 

More widely I have noticed a more bullying, overbearing tone coming from the NHS, threats to withdraw treatment from people that are obese or smoke are increasing. Now pardon me I thought the role of the NHS was to provide healthcare, that is its purpose, where did it acquire the right to intimidate people? Who gave it this power? I don’t remember any political party offering to give it that authority in an election manifesto. Yet gradually over the years we have seen the NHS wade into the political arena to push its own dogma, the main mantras being;

 

– It is free at the point of service – this is of course not true, it is not free, the taxpayer paid for it upfront.

– It needs squillions of immigrants to function
– only in the sense that as a result of mass immigration we enjoy the correlation that the more immigrants you bring in the more immigrants you have to hire to treat them.

– It is the envy of the world
– it is not, no other country has adopted this model, for example, Spain, a country I am very familiar with has a far superior health service and uses a mixture private and state health provision. The NHS and the industrial complex around it has used its dominant position to prevent private healthcare providers from offering taxpayers an alternative.

 

The sanctimonious bullying is now filtering down the organisation, Rachel Clarke, an NHS Doctor felt that she had the authority from the taxpayer to make dark threats to a journalist (Katie Hopkins) via Twitter.

 

FYI Rachel you are paid by the taxpayer to treat people you don’t get to choose who –  period, shut up and do your job.

 

The creeping politicisation of the NHS, the intrusion into our private lives and the adoption of the poison of identity politics is in danger of turning the NHS into another BBC, a once trusted and fairly benign organisation into a dark, sinister omnipresent shadow in our lives. Sadly I fear my concerns and those of millions of others will not be heard and the NHS will go the same way as the BBC, a hated tool of the State.

 

Homage to Madrid

No_pasaran_Madrid

Spain is a country dear to my heart, I have strong connections to the country, I have friends and family there and I own a house not far from the border with Catalonia (which kind of concentrates the mind a bit). I am an admirer of its art and culture, I have a fascination with its rich history and a deep affection for its people who I find to be funny, warm-hearted and full of life, a people as sunny as their weather and joyful in company. So I thought I would write some words on my take on what is happening. As a Brexiteer I am keen to warn others who seek our own independence to be mindful of making parallels, in other words to be careful what you wish for. The break up of Spain would only serve to empower the EU; it has no benefit to us or the people of Spain.

The events in Catalonia over the past few days have saddened me. The story itself is not a new one however; on my frequent visits to Madrid I am used to hearing the locals bemoan the latest outrageous comments from the Catalonian Government. The agitations by politicians of the autonomy for independence have been there for as long as I can remember although for the past decade or so they seem to have eclipsed that of the Basque region – another fault line in Spanish politics.

One of the false narratives from recent events is that somehow Madrid represents fascism, but it is important to note that Madrid held out to the last against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. More recently in the elections Podemos (the left wing populist party) gained control of the city. Madrid is a city I have come to know quite well and I can assure you that the people there may well oppose the break up of Spain – a view that I share, but they are certainly not fascists. One of my favourite ways to waste an afternoon in Madrid is to walk along the Gran Via; as I walk along I like to imagine in my mind’s eye the scene George Orwell described in his book Homage to Catalonia. Orwell marched with the International Brigades along the Via, past cheering Madrillenos and from there into the trenches dug into the slopes of the University district. Against all odds Madrid held out, perhaps the high point in the contribution of the International Brigades and indicative of the nature of the people of Madrid, they are brave and they will not back down.

This is not to say that the people of Madrid agree with the way the Guardia Civil behaved in order to stop the illegal Catalonian referendum from taking place. My friends over there are pretty mortified by the heavy handedness shown by the authorities, one of my friends observing that they could have just shut the gates and locked them in and waited. Most agree that there was no need for the Guardia Civil to crack the heads of old ladies to uphold the constitution, after all the referendum was illegal but voting isn’t. Blame the politicians not the voters is the message I gather from my friends, their sense of gloom deepening as rumours abound of military units being moved to Catalonia in advance of the expected declaration of independence in the coming days.

The other narrative that I feel should be addressed is that somehow Catalonia cannot achieve a referendum through legal, democratic means. This is simply untrue. The constitution of Spain is quite clear, Spain is a nation indivisible. So the only legal means is to change the constitution. This is not beyond the wit of man. So that leaves us with the democratic obstacle, how is a separatist party going to convince the rest of Spain to change the constitution? Well the recent difficulties Mr Rajoy and the Partido Popular (the Conservative party of Spain) had in forming a Government gives a hint of what is changing. The centre right and centre left parties in Spain are finding it harder and harder to gain an outright majority in elections, coalitions and agreements with other smaller parties are becoming increasingly necessary in order to form stable governments, and so it is only a matter of time before political necessity makes constitutional change part of the deal of forming a government.

More widely – until the ham fisted efforts of Mr Rajoy to uphold the constitution by way of thumping anyone who likes Lionel Messi, there was no outright majority for independence in Catalonia, as is often the case; the voice of the people who believe in the nation state was hardly heard. Certainly given the current mood if Spain were to hold a referendum in Catalonia the separatists could well win – but this is not likely to happen now, at least not for a few years and I do sense that in a calmer atmosphere the majority in Catalonia would probably vote to stay part of Spain – albeit through gritted teeth.

So what of the Catalan politicians that brought this to a head? Much like the Scottish Nationalists I remain puzzled as to why they call themselves independence movements since a common theme is to remain in the EU. That is hardly independence since the sole consequence would be to move the capital city from London or Madrid to Brussels and direct rule by EU bureaucrats, yet oddly this obvious fact seldom gets challenged by lazy journalists in the main stream media. As an apropos I am always amused that the term nativism is used as an insult by those who seek to destroy the nation state and the identity of the people that live there, strangely though in the case of these fake independence parties the nicer term civic nationalism is used. Whatever that means.

As someone who trained in science I do not dismiss theories if they provide a good explanation, if the theory does provide this I then look for evidence that supports the theory. The EU is a political project that seeks to end the nation state and thus create a supranational entity that governs the millions of people across most of Europe. This becomes easier to achieve if you break nation states down into smaller and smaller parts, their power becomes weakened and their voices diminished, the people led into a Potemkin’s village of bagpipes and tartan – or Catalan flags and Cava wine foolishly handing over their homelands to the control of people who care nothing for them, their history or their culture.

I am afraid I do see the EU’s hand in all of this, the breakup of Spain fits with their divide and rule agenda much as they sought the breakup of Britain with the Scottish referendum. The evidence for this? Well it came sooner than I expected, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations let the cat out of the bag broadcasting to the world via Twitter:

There is a solution for the situation in Catalonia: reform Spain into a federal state in a federal Europe.

So there you have it, as clear as a bell, the EU has offered to solve the problem by breaking Spain up into smaller pieces to be ruled from Brussels. He even wrote it down for us. Thanks Guy.

As for further evidence, the EU has form in this area, in the early nineties the civil war in Yugoslavia was partly caused by Germany recognising Croatia as a nation state when it broke away. EU interference in the Ukraine has seen the country split in two as Russia moved its military in when it realised the agreements with the West to keep Ukraine neutral were not worth the paper they were written on.

I do see a scenario where on the one hand the Rajoy government is being encouraged by Brussels to take a firm line against the separatists whilst at the same time the EU is back channeling to the Catalans to invite in the EU to broker a solution. The solution will of course be the balkanisation of Spain.

Spanish people seldom get to hear voices that question the motives of the EU or its direction of travel, the media tends to follow the EU playbook that we are all on some fabulous journey with a wonderful destination. Of all my friends in Spain I know of only one who sees the EU in the same way that I see it, an anti democratic, overbearing empire that is doing great harm to European civilisation and simply does not care.

Any Brexiteer worth his salt should see the game being played by the EU here and put aside little digs about Gibraltar, there is something much, much bigger at stake, whatever your views on the behaviour of the Rajoy administration for the sake of Europe, its culture and its people Madrid must prevail or Spain will fall.

I am not prepared to stand by and watch it fall and do nothing. It is up to every Brexiteer to get the message out to the people of Spain, your nation is in great peril, do not invite the EU to mediate in the dispute, it will be the end of you.

At the start of the Spanish Civil War, in July 1936, Dolores Ibárruri delivered a speech that became the battle cry of the Republic against the fascists, ¡No Pasarán! – They shall not pass! There is no march up the Gran Via for me, nor a trench at the end of it but I can try to battle for your thoughts and those of others. George Orwell felt that Spain was a nation worth fighting and dying for as did many men and women from these islands, it still is.

Spain is a nation indivisible and they shall not pass.

¡No Pasarán!

The Diversity Game

Creating the conditions for a level playing field is an admirable endeavour. Most of us suffer some form of disadvantage as a consequence of being born, some of us are born into poor families, some of us are born with a disability, some of us are born into societies where women are second class citizens, some of us are born with a skin colour different to the majority. Any or all of these things can affect your chances in life. 

In the grand scheme of things the UK has been one of the better nations at tackling these discriminations, both race and sex discrimination were made illegal in the seventies. Discrimination on the grounds of disability lagged behind for some years but recent legislation has improved matters although not to the extent of race and sex discrimination laws. Curiously religious discrimination remains legal, a Catholic is not allowed to become King, given the arcane interview process for becoming a Monarch I am not sure any Catholics would apply for the job in any case – but that is not my point.

The UK has made a lot of progress in creating the conditions for a fairer society but some aspects remain stubbornly unfair. I am always struck by how poverty hits women the hardest, an all too familiar story to me is the one of a woman in my social circle who built a life with a partner but never formalised the relationship by marriage or civil partnership, only to find that when the relationship broke down there was no safety net. The situation made worse by having had children and a now unaffordable mortgage all based on trust and a misguided notion of being a ‘liberated woman’. From what I have seen being a liberated woman can come with a very harsh end game. There was a reason gay men and women pushed for their rights under marriage, they are not stupid.

I could at this point drone on about how being born into very modest circumstances and attending a state school for my education limited my life chances, to a degree this would be true but when I add in my own idleness (plus the fact that I was a complete head banger for many years) I have to accept my own role in failing to make the grade as an astronaut for NASA. Besides the one disadvantage I did not really have to contend with was the colour of my skin. As a White Anglo-Irish male I probably still enjoyed better life chances than a Black British one – even one who worked harder and studied more than me. This was not only unfair but for a society it was a pretty stupid thing to do, after all we have no idea where the next Einstein will come from or what he or she will look like, strikes me it is a pretty dumb thing to shut out a certain percentage of your population before they even had a shot at things.

Overall I think the British are a fair minded people and most of us are treated reasonably well, the legal framework for removing discrimination is now fairly well established and most of us have a fairly good grasp of what is right and what is wrong in terms of how we treat one another. Yet despite all this progress we see the march of the diversity and inclusion manager – a well paid professional with the role of ensuring organisations treat people fairly, now you could argue that this is what the law requires them to do in any case but clearly one of the consequences of austerity in the public sector at least is a huge demand for these fine people. A cash strapped NHS seems to be able to find the money to promote the cause and hire a battalion of diversity and inclusion managers. Now the private sector can do as they wish, if their shareholders are content with the need for the company they own to spend potential profit on these managers then fine, its their money, the public sector is however different, taxpayers have little say over how their money is spent and building an army of equality and inclusion managers might not be as important to a taxpayer as erm….curing their cancer?

Admittedly this is not the only area where the public sector can be frivolous with taxpayer’s money but it is one of the most bone headed and discriminatory. Demanding that boards and senior roles of organisations reflect the diversity of the population sounds like a reasonable thing to ask. Yet this is where the cult of quotas shows its innumeracy, boards and senior positions in the public sector at least tend to be made of people in their forties and fifties, this cohort when they started work did so before Tony Blair rubbed the nation’s nose in diversity so they probably do represent their own cohort i.e. they started their careers when there were fewer ethnic minorities in the workforce. Demanding that these people now make room for newcomers actually discriminates against them because of their age.

Not convinced? OK – try this one, I live in London, I am constantly hearing how organisations must reflect society, I have no difficulty with this notion – I have real difficulty with the selective approach. London has now been so successful with diversity and inclusion fewer than 40% of the population is white British (you can guess the future direction of travel), so of course we can now insist that organisation reflect that. But here’s the thing, if a regional council in the West Country where the population is 95% white British insisted that only 5% of jobs could go to ethnic minorities there would be uproar (and quite rightly). Yet this is exactly the discrimination that is being legitimised across our public sector and particularly in our cities, social and housing policy designed to displace the indigenous population followed up by employment policy to ensure the few that are left are further discriminated against.

A self declared Liberal elite are pursuing these nation destroying policies, what they hope to achieve I do not know but the hypocrisy and double standards in their approach become more bizarre by the day. No good will come of this. The way we achieve a fairer society is by dialogue and making people aware of unfairness, training a cadre of people to play identity politics at the taxpayers expense is not the way to do it and I fear will provide fuel for a growing resentment at the way ordinary people in this country are being side-lined.