Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Couple Of Names For Glasgow's Jihadists To Conjure With

A Sharp Lesson

In a breathtaking display of moral cowardice, Mohammed Sarwar MP has already been quoted on BBC News 24 as saying we mustn't jump to any conclusions.
I imagine that, right now, many of my fellow Glaswegians are joining me in expressing sentiments along the lines that Mohammed Sarwar should go fuck himself. 
This is an extremely sharp lesson for all those in Scottish public life - that no matter the devil's bargain, the devil always, always comes to collect.
Let Glasgow Flourish.
And God Save the Queen.

Items Wanted

Morally serious politicians for small country within easy reach of London shopping.
Candidates should combine the mind of Talleyrand with the heart of Lafayette; not the other way about.
Some nation-building might be required, so candidates should be familiar with the life and career of Otto von Bismarck. Some knowledge of the lives and careers of other 'loyal reformers' such as John Hume, Patrick J. Buchanan, Margo MacDonald and Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes is preferable, but not essential.
Apply within.

Islamojacobins

In today's 'Times', John Gray comments on the threads connecting the terror of yesteryear with the current terror du jour.
One can take issue with some of his points - as Islam is, as we all know, a 'religion of peace', it must be incapable of provoking those who claim to confess it to violence; European state-sponsored massacres such 'The Reign of Terror' or the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' have all had their roots in the secular religion of the Scottish Enlightenment - but for the most part he's quite sound.
Indeed, given that Islamic terrorists share the ferocity of those Frenchmen who sent their countrymen to the guillotine with such panache, one wonders whether or not the correct name for Islamic terrorists should be 'Islamojacobins'.
The life of Maximilien Robespierre should provide the serious student of history with at least two useful lessons.
The first is that no political leader should ever place their willingness to lay down their life for their cause at the core of their agenda; one day, inevitably, somebody will call your bluff.
And the second is - well...
Never underestimate country solicitors.

Sentence Of The Day

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Away For A Few Days

Back next week.
By that time, hopefully I'll have woken up, it'll be 1997 again and it will all seem like a bad dream...
For if Brown's opening address on the steps of Downing Street is anything to go by, he sounds like a late 19th century Boys' Brigade battalion commander warning his charges against the hazards of beastliness...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Abide With Me

Gordon Brown will become Prime Minister tomorrow.

I feel the eventide falling fast, even as we speak...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Work To Do Tonight...

Manana.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Men Of Bronze

"The real Master to whom all is permitted storms Toulon, makes a massacre in Paris, forgets an army in Egypt, wastes half a million men in the Moscow expedition and gets off with a jest at Vilna. And altars are set up to him after his death, and so all is permitted. No, such people it seems are not of flesh but of bronze!”
"Only one of the London partners at KKR, the private equity giant taking over Alliance Boots, is a UK taxpayer....
KKR partners, are not accused of doing anything illegal in structuring their tax affairs, merely taking advantage of Britain's generous tax regime. A source close to KKR defended their tax status: "All of the others [except Hollick] are foreign."

Johannes Huth, KKR's -German head of Europe, works in London, but is one of those not believed to be tax-domiciled in the UK. Neither is Oliver Haarmann who covers the telecoms sector nor utilities partner Reinhart Gorensos.
(A) private equity insider said: "If you are not a UK citizen why would you bother being UK tax domiciled?"
Why indeed? When here in New Poland you'll always be guaranteed to find another sucker to parrot out the old 'the growth of the black economy is also surely a function of increased regulation and taxation' fannies?
Men of bronze, indeed.

A Couple Of New Descriptions

Developing a theme from yesterday's post, from now on the words 'British citizens' will not appear on this blog.
No doubt some of our elites consider spreading the rights of 'citizens' amongst the people to have been a mistake. Successive British governments of whatever hue have consistently followed the Duke of Wellington's maxim that Britain needs strong government for no purpose other than to keep the British people in check.
The elites are petrified of the people. It is doubtful that any other so-called 'civilised' or 'Western' nation is led, and has always been led, by individuals who hate the people with such a venom as has been the case in Britain.
They treat us not as civic equals, but tenants; accordingly, the phrase 'The National Tenantry', paying taxes instead of rents, seems a rather more fitting title for those who live in these islands.
And from now on, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will henceforth be be described as 'New Poland'.

A Good Scots Word

"Knockdunders".

Example here.

Jeez, being a Scottish Unionist is hard work, I tell you...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The British Working Class

"Most of the persistent low achievers in England's schools are poor and white, and far more are boys than girls".
That this should be the case is not surprising.
Usually, I have little time for the effusions of Simon Heffer - his Thatcherism is almost risibly Jurassic - yet although he expresses it badly, he is on to something when he writes that...
"..such racism - often white-on-white, as part of our national fetish for self-hatred - that causes boys of 16 to leave school barely literate or numerate, and equipped only for a life of drudgery, unemployment or crime.

As any Marxist will tell you, our white working class has always been oppressed. First (according to Marx) it was by the owners of capital.

Now, though, it is by the white liberals who sit in government, in local authorities and on quangos, and who have made it their crusade to divert the resources at their disposal to helping those with no historic claim on this country. "
I am not a 'Marxist' (by his own admission, neither was Marx); but even a cursory analysis of British history reveals that those who now constitute the so-called 'working class', y'see, are the real dead-enders, the real enemies of the British state; the ones whom British governments, themselves usually nothing more than expressions of the elites' collective willpower, have, for 200 years, been unable to 'better' or 'improve'.
Please, let's once and for all kill the myth that Britain is a liberal society. It's liberal towards the people the elites like - but if you get in its way the British state will swat you like a fly.
The so-called 'working class' who now just aren't up to scratch, don't y'know, are the descendants of the people turned off the lands when the common pastures were enclosed; who refused to emigrate when their landlords preferred to look at sheep instead of people; who were told that they would become more productive by dividing their labour, whether they wanted to or not; who had the temerity to organise themselves into trade unions; who, not once but twice, made the terrible mistake of attempting to ape the mores of their 'betters', following them into and then out of the nonconformist chapels; who've been fed lie after lie after lie about how the whole process has made them wealthier; yet who have remained steadfastly loyal to a system which, over the course of centuries, has done next to nothing for them.
They are the ones with the deepest stakes, the deepest 'claims', in and to this nation; not foreigners on the make, not religious seditionists, not 'refugee' perverts, not African rapists nor Polish murderers. The so-called 'working class' provide the elites with living, breathing reminders of their own failure - being accustomed to being served (and not caring who does the serving), when faced with the consequences of their own failure they behave like a spoiled child who's botched a finger drawing; they rip it up, discard it and try to forget about it.
Even now, the British 'working class' is being subjected to sermons warning against the 'politics of envy' when the scales are falling from the eyes of those of whom they are alleged to be envious.
It would be a good thing, a nice thing, if, just for once, the British elites gave the British 'working class' a sabbatical from history. They've earned it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Harmonica



And so Mohammed Sarwar MP (pictured) is to retire at the next general election.

To spend time with his grandchildren.

Bless his heart.

You know, I must be a real cynic; but I just couldn't help thinking that, having gone into retirement like Cincinnatus, Big Mo might just have one more good campaign left in him.

For, from his point of view, all's not well on Paisley Road West...

A sight more absurd than Mo and Nicola Sturgeon MSP circling round each other in Kinning Park like Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda at the end of 'Once Upon A Time In The West', the strain's of Morricone's 'The Man With The Harmonica' hanging in the air, is difficult to imagine; but consider this - his ultimate acquittal notwithstanding, any hopes he might have had of ever becoming Lord Sarwar of Pollokshields and Punjab were gubbed the minute he was charged with electoral fraud (in this respect, his son's conviction for money laundering is a bagatelle).

So, where else is Mo going to get near places where he can win friends and influence people? In the Scottish Parliament, of course.

The election at which he will stand down should take place in 2009, 2010 at the latest; and Scotland will not go back to the polls until 2011.

Could Labour field a stronger local candidate in Govan than Sarwar? I doubt it.

So watch this space. Come 2011, Sarwar might, just might be back on the electoral trail - along with Bashir Ahmad.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Horrible Graph















The losses of Napoleon's Grande Armee, according to location and temperature, in the Russian campaign of 1812-13.
I've recently finished Adam Zamoyski's excellent history of the campaign; it is blood-curdling.
Before the first day of the Somme, Borodino was the single greatest act of slaughter in human history.
The French would not, would not, take the Poles' advice on having their horses wear shoes fitted with crampons.
The Russian countryside was littered with corpses and discarded booty, as veterans of Egypt and Austerlitz tried to warm themselves with dresses and furs they had stolen for their wives, mistresses, sisters and sweethearts.
Zamoyski recounts the story of one Piedmontese, his feet so badly affected by gangrene on the retreat from Moscow that by the time he reached Vilnius there was nothing left of them but the heels, who bore his ordeal with unstinting cheerfulness; but who, upon having had a hot meal and slept in a bed for the first time in seven months, went mad the following morning.
There was also cannibalism...
Learning about it in these times made one realise it has its morals for us. The crook at the left of the graph are the reserve forces of Marshal Macdonald. The great soldier-diplomat Jacques Law de Lauriston was on the campaign. On the Russian side, the Minister for War at the time was one Mikhail Barclay de Tolly.
Just shows, immigrants can be accepted into any society - provided they're willing to integrate.
Or maybe everyone loves the Scots. Go figure.
But there are other lessons as well.
Napoleon always said he didn't want that war - he thought Alexander I would come to his senses and stop playing footsy with the British, and keep to the Treaty of Tilsit, if he was shown just how serious the Empire's intentions were. He wanted to chuck his weight about, but overweight, perhaps ill and with a young wife, he wasn't really serious about the job in hand.
They came to Russia without many maps.
Napoleon made fundamental, and uncharacteristic, political errors, like not emancipating the serfs and the Jews, which might have won him very large numbers of hearts and minds.
They had more men at first, for sure - but fewer and poorer artillery.
In all, it was almost a textbook example of how not to invade a country and culture of which you know little; one wonders how much, or how little, it was studied in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.
A hat-tip to Tim Worstall for the graph; and I'm sure Tim wouldn't mind me pointing out that, slightly eerily, he posted it on the eve of Operation Barbarossa's anniversary.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Train Travel In The West Of Scotland

It never ceases to amaze me how, when presented with a row of three empty seats on a train, the average West of Scotland commuter always seems to sit on the outside - or plank themself right in the middle.
Do they think that, if they sit by the window and let someone else sit down, a demon's going to jump through the window and carry them off?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spot The Difference

















"It's very smoky in here tonight, has another f****** Pope died?".

Donald Findlay QC












"What's the difference between an Iraqi woman and a pilchard? One's oily and greasy with f*****g bulging eyes, and the other's a fish.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Old Ones Are Still The Best

In today's 'Times', Tim Hames writes that,
"...for six decades the essence of our foreign policy has been to play Robin to the American Batman. This has been pursued by a succession of Labour and Conservative governments. It is a wholly rational stance because it maximises our international influence."
This is rubbish. What 'influence'? Since the Empire went we haven't had any independent 'influence'; there's a not insignificant school of thought that believes we never had much even when we had the Empire. Hitler was most certainly not cowed by the thought of taking on the Empire On Which The Sun Never Set.
Mind you, neither was Mussolini. Nor Hirohito.
So we're still 'influential'? It would be nice to think that; but no, we're not really.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why Reference To The Negative Effects Of The Smoot-Hawley Act Is Now Meaningless

"Seventy-seven years ago today President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill; he and the Congress thereby raised tariff rates to unprecedented heights. Here's a summary:

But while the tariff might not have caused the Depression, it certainly did not make it any better. It provoked a storm of foreign retaliatory measures and came to stand as a symbol of the "beggar-thy-neighbor" policies (policies designed to improve one's own lot at the expense of that of others) of the 1930s. Such policies contributed to a drastic decline in international trade. For example, U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334 million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from $2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by some 66% between 1929 and 1934. More generally, Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster trust and cooperation among nations in either the political or economic realm during a perilous era in international relations."
Given the very negative way in which most (but not by any means all) economists refer to tariffs, and the Smoot-Hawley Act in particular, one can only imagine that some must even resort to using it as a bogeyman -
"If you don't eat your greens and tidy your room Smoot-Hawley will come and get you!"
The economic community's hysterics over this old bill are, of course, absurd, for the very simple reason that at the time it became law, France and Britain were still imperial powers and thus very much greater players on the world trade scene than they are now - they had leverage that is no longer there, and the EU, although imperial, has the unique distinction of being an imperium established by committee; it's gone straight to the 'Decline and Fall' stage without the distinction of ever producing a Romulus.
If Julius Caesar tried to establish the EU he'd suffer death from a thousand papercuts. Or end up sending himself to the Mamertine to be strangled.
Right now the US has no real competitors - not even the Chinese, who hold so much American paper that if Bush told the Politburo to don tutus and dance the Can Can round Tiananmen Square they'd probably do it; and with both their political survival and personal enrichment riding on their ability to sell stuff to Americans, that position is unlikely to change for the forseeable future.
The very size of the modern American economy means that the USA has now achieved a status unique in the history of trade; it is able to dictate with whom it trades, and on what terms it trades, with a strength that not even the British Empire could muster.
A tariff will come when Congress finally gets the message that men whose aptitudes lie in bashing steel really want to make their living bashing steel, not serving doughnuts; and on that day, China cries.
Smoot-Hawley is proof that putting cost above nation and calling it 'free trade' has hazards; and its real lesson is that free trade is a dangerous policy to start, because pulling back from it when you have to can have dangerous consequences.
And Don, it's, like, 77 years old...the world changes, dude...you know? History and all?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The 'Honours' List

And so Oleg Gordievsky, ex-KGB resident in London, one-time wigs and false beards model, all-round live rat and intimate of Boris Berezovsky who, along with the late Alexander Litvinenko, might have been up to no good less than two years ago in making uncorroborated (and uncorroboratable) allegations against Romani Prodi, has been made a Companion of the Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George for "services to the security of the United Kingdom".
That either St. Michael or St. George were consulted prior to the honour being bestowed is doubtful; and if Putin were feeling sufficiently puckish, or just wanting to inflame Edward Lucas, he might believe that now could be the time to give another gong to Kim Philby.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Question For Alex Salmond

The Oath of a Privy Counsellor(.pdf)

"You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen’s Majesty as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty’s Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen’s Majesty; and will assist and defend all civil and temporal Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty
SO HELP YOU GOD"
Congratulations to The Tartanissimo on being made a PC; but without wishing to seem a killjoy, a spoilsport, I have just one small, almost insignificant question for His Lord High Haggisness on the grand occasion of his elevation -
How can you swear to be 'a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen’s Majesty as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council' when less than two months ago you said in public that your 'primary loyalty' was to 'the Scottish people'?
Does it mean you're a fraud? Or a hypocrite? Or a fraud and a hypocrite?
Or are you just another tedious, oh so bloody tedious Scotch social climber? Just another Jock on the make?
Which is it? I'm puzzled...

War In The Graveyard Of Empires Revisited

Permit me the vanity of quoting myself.
Anatole Kaletsky is a commentator upon whose views I have in the past been ambivalent, shall we say; but he hits the nail on the head with this critique of The War Party's lunatic fixation on bombs and Iran.
Thirty months ago I wrote an article on the prospect of America running to ground in Persia entitled 'War in the Graveyard of Empires'. I finished it by writing,
"Last time I looked, ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ did not begin with, ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of an air strike on Tehran’."
Someone tell the neos.

The Book Project

While trying to keep posting, I am kicking off the process of writing a book - so there might not be as many daily posts as usual.
I will finish it - or it will finish me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Too Tired To Blog

Homer sleep now...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blair On Bloggers

How Boris Berezovsky Stole Aeroflot

"The scam worked like this. Berezovsky and his partner Nikolai Glushkov created two front companies to handle Aeroflot's funds. The first, an unknown Swedish supported outfit called Andava secretly handled Aeroflot's treasury charging a commission of 3.125% on all funds it handled. Further, Andava basically loaned Aeroflot its own money. In 1997 it "loaned" $11 million. The interest rate was unspecified. Who owed Andava? As Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise." Berezovsky and Glushkov owned 37% and 34% of Andava respectively.
The next scam involved another Andava front company called Finansovaya Obedinennaya Kompaniya (FOK). FOK was charged with paying Aeroflot foreign debts. FOK passed these bills on to another font company called Grangeland Holdings Ltd. (The late Paul) Klebnikov describes how the FOK-Grangeland scam worked:
"Say Aeroflot had a $500,000 bill to pay to British Petroleum for jet fuel. Instead of paying the bill directly, Aeroflot passed the bill to FOK in Moscow, which passed it to Grangeland in Dublin. Grangeland paid the bill. The payment was considered a loan from Grangeland to FOK, with annual interest of 30% in dollars. FOK passed this interest expense on to Aeroflot, tacking on a 65% annual interest rate in rubles (since the ruble was declining only a bit against the dollar at the time, that amounted to about 46% in dollar terms). By the time Aeroflot finally paid for the fuel it bought from BP, it was paying about a 90% annual rate (in dollar terms) on its loans. If Aeroflot was getting shafted by the FOK-Grangeland relationship, the Russian tax authorities were left empty-handed as well. According to its confidential 1996 annual report, FOK wiped out 97% of its pretax profits with "foreign exchange losses." (Yes, those losses were Grangeland's gain -- that much is clear from the annual report.)And what is Grangeland? The Dublin address is just a postbox. We don't know who owns Grangeland, except that the shareholders include two Panamanian companies. Grangeland has two directors; both are employed by the small Swiss accounting firm that services Andava."
On June 7 Boris Abramovich Berezovsky, hyperthief, balding Armand Assante lookalike, celebrity refugee and dissident-(s)cum- revolutionary was a panel member on 'Question Time', the UK's premier political discussion show.
I did not receive an invite. Pity. I'd have loved the chance to ask him what he knows about Klebnikov's murder.

Monday, June 11, 2007

And The Winner of The Donald Sutherland Lookalike Award Of The Day Is...


my occasional correspondent Tim Luckhurst.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Headline Says It All

"Bush greeted as hero in Albania".

I kid you not.

One Of Us

One would never dare be so bold as to imagine that Oliver Kamm gazes down at this humble blog from Mount Olympus; but after my suggestion of yesterday that Kamm revise his reading of the history of World War One, it appears that the demigod has been doing some research on that very topic - while, of course, 'looking for something else'.
Referring to an article entitled "World War One: Misrepresentation of a Conflict", Kamm writes,
"The misrepresentation Todman refers to is the picture of the war gained from popular historians such as the late Alan Clark and films such as Oh, What a Lovely War (or, more recently, Blackadder), which stress the futility of the war and the incompetence of the British generals. He notes:

The self-reinforcing power of these myths gives them tremendous power. Since the 1980s, a boom in carefully conducted archival investigation has done much to uncover the war’s complexity: how it was fought and won by the British army on the Western Front, how domestic support and dissent were encouraged and managed, and how the war was remembered.

Yet this academic research has had almost no impact on popular understanding. This should not be a cause for despair or disdain. Societies have always misrepresented the past in an attempt to understand the present. "
Without wishing to become a bore on the subject of Correlli Barnett, his 'The Collapse of British Power' makes precisely the same points - that British losses in Europe were roughly equivalent to the German and about half those of the French, yet neither Germany nor France suffered collective postwar nervous breakdowns over their losses as the British did; that the Tommies in the trenches, accustomed to the grinding poverty of Northern slums, came to the front with very much more highly developed physical and psychological survival skills than those possessed by their public school and Oxbridge-educated, nonconformist, teetotal, Themistocles-reading officers; and that the myth of the horror of World War One arose precisely because it impacted so heavily upon the privileged classes, from whose ranks 'The War Poets' were almost exclusively drawn. Barnett uses the tea-on-the-lawn set's hysteria over the death of Raymond Asquith as an exemplar of the kind of teeth-gnashing and garment-rendering in which they indulged themselves.
Asquith was almost the archetype of an Establishment insider - Sir Simon Jenkins, on the other hand, really is the archetype.
Having recently completed Sir Simon's 'Thatcher and Sons', one can say without hesitation that his analysis is crisp and that his conclusion, that over the past 30 years British government has become over-centralised and that a period of returning power to the grassroots is now essential, is very sound. One can quibble about a couple of his suggestions - Sir Simon thinks healthcare administration should be returned to local level while my belief is that, for better or worse, the very initials 'NHS' now hold such a grip over the British consciousness that devolution of healthcare powers would be politically impossible, and that a very much more politically possible devolution would be that of the social security system (in other words, if Birmingham wants a workhouse...); and that it is virtually impossible to believe that a commentator of Sir Simon's stature and experience would attempt to reflect on the last 10 years of British public life without affording immigration considerably more attention than something like the five words he gives it.
But what really jumps put from the book is, well, a sense that Sir Simon is the British Establishment incarnate. He's never been an MP, I don't know if he's ever even run for office, but he's forever making references to having been on the board of British Rail and how he's served on this commission, that committee and the other quango.
Sir Simon is from precisely the same mental stock as the War Poets, and while Kamm describes him as "an urbane and civilised man" he also describes Pat Buchanan as a "demagogue".
I'm still laughing, Oliver...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Blog To Add To Your Favourites

Rough Diamond is a lady with excellent taste.

Rethinking The Value Of Milton Friedman

The recent fascinating discussion on 'Economist's View' concerning the relationship between economics and psychology brought a comment once made by the late Milton Friedman back to mind.
In 1997, Peter Brimelow interviewed Friedman for 'Forbes'. Peter asked him,
"Talking of isolationism: Congress recently refused to renew fast track [the president's enhanced authority to negotiate further free trade treaties]. On the political right, there's clearly increasing interest in protectionism, for example, voiced by Pat Buchanan. Are you concerned?"
Friedman answered,
"Buchanan's not a fool. But on economics, he's terrible!"
Now, Pat Buchanan is a guy who knows his Schwerpunkt from his Technik, for sure; yet regardless of Friedman's analysis of his skills as an economist, Pat's protectionism has an extremely solid grounding in history - for example, by 1914 free-tradeism had helped the British chemical industry to decline so far that the Royal Navy was importing the blue dyes used in uniforms...from Germany...
Maybe Pat isn't so bad on economics after all. Maybe it was just that when it came to history, Friedman was terrible!

Laughing My Sides Off At Oliver Kamm

Oliver Kamm is not as clever as he thinks he is, yet lacks the humility to recognise it.
His screed 'Bad analogy of the week' works up to the crescendo "Strong resistance, not accommodation, is necessary now in our dealings with the thuggish mediocrity Vladimir Putin and what he represents" by way of the Treaty of Versailles.
He writes,
"A more stringent settlement, still short of unconditional surrender, might have comprised a break-up of Germany (united only since 1871) once more into its constituent parts, French occupation of the Ruhr, insistence that Germany abandon autocracy and become a constitutional state, and internment of the remains of the German army rather than their being allowed to parade home as if they had won a moral victory.

If you think this sounds harsh, consider what such a settlement might have achieved nonetheless. The notion, exploited but not initiated by the Nazis, that Germany had been "stabbed in the back" by domestic enemies would have been impossible to sustain. "
This is, of course, guff.
In 'The Collapse of British Power', Correlli Barnett, a very much more clever and very, very much more accomplished and thorough historian than Kamm, makes the compelling case that what really did more than anything else to abet the Third Reich's rise was the power vacuum left by the departure of the Kaiser.
The Germans were extremely monarchical; and having lost one monarch (through no real fault of their own), they just sort of drifted until they found another. The retention of the German royalty just might have prevented a very great deal of trouble.
One conclusion which Barnett does not state, but which can easily be extrapolated from his thesis, is that, at some times in their past, Americans have been better students of European history than Europeans; if Hirohito had been removed in 1945, it is very likely that a similar social vacuum would have arisen - and although any possible ill-effects would have been mitigated by the presence of occupying forces, maybe the Americans weren't prepared to take the risk of finding out just what a non-imperial Japan might be like.
'Thuggish mediocrity'...och, aye, Oliver, if the cap fits....

The Biblical Curse Generator

Funny.

Via Dave.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Some Thoughts On Motor Sports

"Beneath the trees I lounged at ease
And watched them speed the pace;
They swerved and swung, they clutched and clung,
They leapt in roaring chase;
The crowd was thrilled, a chap was killed:
It was a splendid race.
Two men, they say, went West that day,
But I knew only one;
Geranium-red his blood was spread
And blazoned in the sun;
A lightning crash...Lo! In a flash
His racing days were done.
I did not see - such sights to me
Appallingly are grim;
Bur for a girl of sunny curl
I would not mention him,
That English lad with grin so glad,
And racing togs so trim.
His motor bike was painted like
A postal box of red.
'Twas gay to view..."We bought it new,"
A voice beside me said.
"Our little bit we blew on it
The day that we were wed.
"We took a chance: through sunny France
We flashed with flaunting power.
With happy smiles a hundred miles
Or more we made an hour.
Like flame we hurled into a world
A-foam with fruit and flower.
"Our means were small; we risked them all
This famous race to win,
So we can take a shop and make
Our bread - one must begin.
We're not afraid; Jack has his trade:
He's bright as brassy pin.
"Hark! Here they come; uphill they hum;
My lad has second place;
They swing, they roar, they pass once more,
Now Jack sprints up the pace.
They're whizzing past...At last, at last
He leads - he'll win the race.
"Another round,...They leap, they bound,
But - where O where is he?"
And then the girl with sunny curl
Turned chalk-faced unto me,
Within her eyes a wild surmise
It was not good to see.
They say like thunder-bolt he crashed
Into a wall of stone;
To bloody muck his face was mashed,
He died without a moan;
In borrowed black the girl went back
To London Town alone.
Beneath the trees I lounged at ease
And saw them pep the pace;
They swerved and swung, they clutched and clung,
And roaring was the chase:
Two men, they say, were croaked that day -
It was a glorious race. "
Robert Service, 'Riviera Honeymoon'.
Motor sports killed people in Service's day.
If you think there's sport in anticipating seeing someone die while entertaining you, fine - start a Gladiator school. You're on the same moral level as the people who used to go the Games.
And the competitors would be slightly more honest about the business they're in if they started each race by pronouncing,

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kommerzkampf

The phrase 'average Thatcherite' is a tautology, I know - but those whose dividend cheques will ony be taken from them out of their cold, dead hands, and who would no doubt spontaneously combust at the thought of government 'interference' in the affairs of 'business', might consider this; headlines such as 'Business will turn its back on Russia unless you reform, Blair warns Putin' make one ask, 'So what?'.
If 'business' wishes to divest itself of Russian assets (formerly known as property stolen from the Russian people), then, if recent trends provide any guidance, Putin would probably nationalise BP and jail assorted junior managers from Shell pour encourager les autres.
And that might not be a bad thing. After being forced to spend six years in a Siberian hole, shaven-headed and covered in lice, you would have a pretty good understanding of the proper role of business in politics.
Liberty's pendulum has swung rather too far away from safeguarding the rights of citizens towards promoting those of joint stock companies, legal fictions which exist solely to enable their members to avoid personal liability for business debts.
Perhaps we need a 'Kommerzkampf', along the lines of Bismarck's 'Kulturkampf'. One of the most successful nation builders of all time, eine uber tariff junkie (who inconveniently showed that they work), Bismarck would probably have given Hayek a good slap to knock the nonsense out of him and then told him to go away.
For all his faults he was not afraid of tackling the very difficult kind of problems that arise when you try to make a new nation stable, secure and prosperous; and he has no current heirs.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gordon Brown's Admission Of Defeat

Gordon Brown's statement that, "It is time to train British workers for the British jobs that will be available over the coming few years and to make sure that people who are inactive and unemployed are able to get the new jobs on offer in our country," is nothing more than a repetition of 'The Great Fergusonian Skills Canard', a gilt-edged admission that every single education and migration policy pursued by the government whose purse strings he has held for the last 10 years has failed.
And in three weeks' time, he's going to be Prime Minister.
Brown is an immature oaf who has never really had a proper job, but who has instead worked avidly to impose his vision of the world onto others with a ferocity borne of nothing else than his sense of his own place in the world - an elitist from the cradle (in Scotland, you don't get more elitist than being the son of a Church of Scotland minister) to university (only a real headstamping go-getter would seek to become Rector - yes, the final two letters of that word are correct - of their university while still attending it; humility has never been Brown's strong suit) and on into Parliament.
He's an arrested development job with his finger soon to be on the button - and unlike George W. Bush, another cosseted booby willing to deploy his fists in order to get what he wants, he can't cite even occasional displays of charm in mitigation.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hewlett Blackguard

Randall Burns reports that, according to the 'Indian Times',
"Hewlett-Packard has named Prith Banerjee as director of its storied HP Labs research unit..."
Another of Randall's links gives some hint at the workings of the inner Banerjee -
"I visit India regularly, and have gone to India almost every December for the past 23 years. I love India, and I love Kolkata. I became an U.S. citizen only recently for professional reasons, but in my heart, I am still very much an Indian. I go to my alma mater IIT Kharagpur every couple of years, and I am in close contact with my professors from IIT KGP. I also serve on the IIT KGP Alumni Advisory Council. "
Although Banerjee's Indian ultranationalism sounds like the sort of guff spouted by Bernie Ribeiro of the Royal College of Surgeons, one can only wonder at the Schwerpunkt of a nation that shares its citizenship with ingrates and twisters who see its grant as just another notch on their resumes.
America has been good for Prith Banerjee - but is Prith Banerjee good for America?

A (Real) Economist Discusses Economics

"It is a puzzle that free traders, who are adamantly opposed to tariffs on the grounds that they result in higher prices and lower consumer real incomes, are unfazed by currency devaluation. An excess of dollars is eroding the dollar’s reserve currency role and undermining its value. As tariffs do, dollar devaluation also confronts American consumers with higher prices and lower real incomes.

The difference is that a tariff would have prevented the loss of jobs, careers, and community tax base to offshoring, which then requires a collapse in the dollar to reverse. The cost of not having the tariff protection is the disrupted lives and hardships associated with jobs offshoring and the loss in purchasing power from a lower valued currency.

Economists cannot understand this straightforward analysis, because economists, like neoconservatives, are not reality-based. Economists are governed by the illusion that America’s post World War II prosperity is based on free trade. It is not. America’s post-war prosperity was based on the destruction of the economic capability of the rest of the world by World War II and communism/socialism. America was prosperous in its trade, because no one else could produce anything."
Paul Craig Roberst, Ph. D. (Whom God Preserve)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cymru Polska

It's guff in any language.

Irish Mist

Radio Telefis Eireann reports that,
"Pope Benedict has declared Blessed Charles of Mount Argus a saint at a mass this morning in a rain-drenched St Peter's Square...

Saint Charles was a Dutch immigrant to Ireland and a champion of the post-famine poor.
President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin led about a thousand Irish pilgrims at the mass.

Ms McAleese described the priest as another lovable immigrant saint in the tradition of St Patrick".
One might have hoped that, in that place and on that occasion, McAleese might have attempted to effect a display of piety, instead of puuting an immigrationist spin on the life of a saint.
For God will not be mocked, Mary.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The National Horns Are Being Drawn In

Sales of some foreign holidays are so poor you can buy them for a fiver.
Given that so much of Scotland's economy is dependent on tourism, one hopes that The Tartanissimo is duly taking note.

Gerard Baker On Russia

Drivel; but as on all occasions when he drivels, one wonders whether Baker is speaking for himself or for The Henry Jackson Society.

The Moral Duties Of One Region Towards Another

According to the 'Daily Telegraph',
"Tony Blair gave warning yesterday that rich countries will jeopardise their own security and "rue the consequences" if they fail to help Africa."
He's about, oh, 80 years too late. From 'Government and the Decline of the Nigerian Oil-Palm Export Industry, 1919-1939' The Journal of African History, Vol. 25, No. 3 (1984), pp. 311-329 -
"Between 1900 and 1925 the British Government evolved a policy concerning agricultural development in West Africa by which expatriate-owned plantations, especially for oil palms, were excluded. This prohibition created as many problems as it solved, for the Nigerian Government in particular faced the problem of competition in the international palm-oil and kernel market from plantations in South-east Asia and the Belgian Congo. In the 1920s the Nigerian Government went to considerable effort to entice British capitalists to invest in palm-oil processing (but not production), but to no avail. In the 1930s the Government concentrated on trying to rehabilitate the oil-palm industry by encouraging the establishment of small, native-owned plantations, improving native methods of oil extraction and controlling the quality of palm-oil and kernel exports. This policy was beset with difficulties of finance, inadequate research and the effects on land tenure systems. It failed, and the Nigerian palm-oil export industry lost its place in the world market. British trusteeship does not appear to have been a positive policy as far as economic development was concerned. It created a dilemma which the colonial authorities were not equipped to solve in the economic and political context of the inter-war period."
In 'The Collapse of British Power', Correlli Barnett narrates how Lord Leverhulme tried to actually, you know, raise productivity...and help the Africans get a bit more money in their pockets, by, you know, trying to industrialise palm oil production in Ghana.
But Blighty would have none of it!
If we hadn't been so bloody liberal then, we wouldn't have to suffer Blair's bloody liberalism now.

Killing The Myth That Productivity Increases Always Lead To Higher Wages




















The Office of National Statistics -

"Average earnings including bonuses rose by 4.5 per cent in the year to March, down from 4.6 per cent in February. The fairly high level in the including bonuses rate is explained by strong growth in January and February in the private sector services sector, driven by higher bonuses in the financial intermediation sector. Average earnings excluding bonuses, or regular pay, rose by 3.7 per cent in the year to March 2007, up from 3.6 per cent in February. In the year to March, pay growth (including bonuses) in the private sector was 4.9 per cent, compared with 3.1 per cent for the public sector. Excluding bonus payments, private sector growth stood at 3.8 per cent compared with 3.1 per cent for the public sector. In the year to March 2007 consumer prices increased by 3.1 per cent, which is below the rate of earnings growth."
























The Office of National Statistics -


"Energy consumption, including electricity, by UK companies and the public sector increased by 10.6 per cent between 1990 and 2005. In the same period output (Gross Domestic Product) rose by 43.4 per cent in real terms. This resulted in a decrease in energy intensity (energy consumed per unit of output) of 22.9 per cent. "

Paul Krugman's contention that "Productivity is almost everything" would seem to indicate that a 43.4% GDP increase over a period of 15 years (a phenomenal hyperleap in productivity for any country, let alone a very mature economy) might produce slightly higher wage gains that 4.9% with bonus, 3.8% without.

Maybe Kelly's Theory of Productivity, that '"In a global labour market the overall gains occasioned from productivity growth equal zero: or, globalisation is productivity dilution" has some legs after all.