Tuesday, 25 April 2017

CapX: Don’t bet on a Tory landslide quite yet

CapX: Don’t bet on a Tory landslide quite yet


by George Trefgarne



"There are, in my view, five reasons to be cautious about a total rout.

The first is the localised nature of our Parliamentary system. It is all very well citing the Tories’ 25 per cent poll lead, but the ultimate result will depend on where those votes are. Many of them will be piled up, somewhat uselessly, in existing Tory safe seats or in ultra-safe Labour or SNP ones.

By contrast, there are many seats, especially in the West country, in university and spa towns, which were held by the Lib Dems only two years ago and might not be so safe. The polls suggest that a Lib Dem recovery is underway, membership is rocketing, and a leaked memo from the Tory guru Lynton Crosby only three weeks ago suggested the Lib Dems could take 27 seats from the Conservatives.

In addition to which, the use of new technology, such as social media, hyper-localised digital advertising, targeted polling and individually customised mail shots actually mean local factors are more important in General Elections than they used to be. Just look at the rise and fall of figures such as Zac Goldsmith and Douglas Carswell, both of whom relied heavily on social media in their campaigns."

The Secret Barrister: UKIP’s “Integration Agenda” is a masterclass in legal ignorance and shameless racism

The Secret Barrister: UKIP’s “Integration Agenda” is a masterclass in legal ignorance and shameless racism


"By “face covering”, UKIP plainly intends to target the “niqab” (or, as Kippers inaccurately often refer to it, the burkha), in an emulation of the ban enacted in France in 2010. The problem with such laws, as France has discovered, is that in order to maintain the façade that this is not an attack on a particular group of people, rather a general principle, you have to ban all face coverings. Which means prima facie outlawing balaclavas, motorcycle helmets, Halloween masks, gimp suits, zentais (those all-in-one spandex body suits beloved of stag parties abroad) and football mascots, and then working backwards to create exemptions to avoid the law being utterly unworkable. UKIP has today spent significant effort responding to questions as to whether large, face-obscuring hats as worn on Ladies Day will be criminalised, and whether the ban would include beekeepers. Whatever your position on the liberal principles at play, the practical flaws with such laws are obvious."

New Atlanticist: Making the Case for Multilateralism

New Atlanticist: Making the Case for Multilateralism

World leaders must reaffirm the importance of a cooperative international system and the tangible benefits to all stakeholders, Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), said at the Atlantic Council on April 21.

While the surge of populism throughout Europe—in response to terrorism and economic stagnation—means that “renationalization is visible,” particularly in France during an election year, Hoyer insisted that when “the cooperative approach and the multilateral approach is being put into question in an irresponsible way… it is important to explain again the values of international cooperation.”

The Guardian| The doom-mongers got it wrong: the centre is holding in Europe

The Guardian| The doom-mongers got it wrong: the centre is holding in Europe

by Joris Luyendijk

"How many more European elections before Brits and Americans stop projecting Brexit and Trump on to Europe? Ever since British voters stunned the country, the world and – probably – themselves by voting to leave the EU, the British press has all but reduced politics in Europe to the “who’s next?” question. After Donald Trump’s election those parts of the American media still interested in the EU joined the fray: surely if America and Britain can bring populists to power, this must now be a trend that the rest of the west will follow?

But then Europeans started to vote. First Austria chose a Green president over a nationalist one. Then the populist PVV party of Geert Wilders received a paltry 15% of the vote in the Dutch general elections. And now the unapologetically Europhile Emmanuel Macron has come out on top in the first round of the French elections, setting him on course for victory against Marine Le Pen next month. The next European elections are in Germany, where all traditional parties are solidly pro-EU. The new Eurosceptic party Alternative für Deutschland is mired in divisions, infighting and confusion."

Monday, 24 April 2017

The Feast of Saint Mark



O ALMIGHTY God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly
doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace that. being not like
children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established
in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Mark, pray for us, for the city of Venice and for the Christians of Egypt.

Headcoverings?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Feast of Saint George


ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr George with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint George, pray for us, for England, for Georgia and for all soldiers.

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 23rd September




This is war. This is Europe. This is happening today.

National Review: Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Policy Is Dangerous Nonsense

National Review: Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ Policy Is Dangerous Nonsense

by David Harsanyi

"Moreover, it seems telling that many of those who are concerned about illegal immigration also seem intent on lowering numbers of legal and potentially high-achieving immigrants from entering the country. The underlying message is that there is a cultural problem, not merely an economic one. “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the CEOs in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think . . . ,” White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said not long ago in a jumbled explanation of economic nationalism, “a country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.”

The second part of the order cuts down on waivers and exemptions to President Herbert Hoover’s Buy American law. It instructs agencies to use American-made goods and services rather than saving taxpayer dollars or searching out the best deals they can. This is how we incentivize rent-seeking and cronyism. Until a couple of months ago, this is what Republicans used to call “picking winners and losers.” If you thought General Motors shouldn’t be bailed out because it couldn’t compete in a global marketplace, why would you support a state-impelled “Buy American, Hire American” when it comes to steel, for example?"

Campaigning in Stevenage Town Centre



Yours truly in the middle wearing a bomber jacket.


I was campaigning yesterday with Stevenage Conservatives and Stephen McPartland MP. I've criticised Theresa May and Brexit an awful lot, but I'm too dyed in the wool Tory not to campaign. Strangely, I become a really enthusiastic Tory as soon as I get out and start campaigning.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Baltic Fire Support

Returning to Reality, by Paul Tyson



Paul Tyson, Returning to Reality: Christian Platonism for our Times, 2015 The Lutterworth Press, Cambridge


Paul Tyson makes a case for a revival of Christian Platonism. I think I agree with Tyson that a Christianized form of Platonism is a good thing, though in a number of ways, I found this a frustrating book. I think it would have been helpful for readers for Tyson to have made some more direct comparison between Christian Platonism and other forms of Christian metaphysics, such as Thomism. Tyson spends a good deal of the book critiquing modernity. That is a worthy task, but well read Christians are likely to have read a number of books attacking both modernity and postmodernity, so it felt somewhat tedious.

Tyson makes reference a view times to John Milbank, but otherwise he does not make any mention of Radical Orthodoxy. This is somewhat disingenuous, as it is very clear that Tyson has been influenced by the Radical Orthodoxy school of theology. This is seen most clearly in his identification of Blessed Duns Scotus as the originator of modern thought with his advocacy of the univocity of being. Personally, I am not convinced of the univocity of being, but I am very uncomfortable with the way Radical Orthodoxy has turned Blesed Duns Scotus into a theological Darth Vader. Scotus made many wonderful contributions to theology. Might one not alternatively blame St. Thomas Aquinas' empiricism (and Tyson does hint at this as a root cause later in the book). Tyson does acknowledge that some scholars have questioned the approach he takes to Scotus, but it might have been better if he had avoided that whole avenue of controversial historiography.

What was most frustrating was the way our author connects adopting Christian Platonism with a left-wing anti-capitalist stance. I find it puzzling that he makes the connection between Christian Platonism and radical politics, as the Patristic Fathers did not share his politicized approach to the faith. Many of the anti-Nicene Fathers were positive in their views of the Roman empire and had no interest in political change. The post-Nicene Fathers were even more accepting of the Christianized empire.

I think Tyson is mostly on the right lines, but this book could have been better.

Ukraine Crisis: More than 90% of citizens consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians – survey results

Ukraine Crisis: More than 90% of citizens consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians – survey results

92% of citizens of Ukraine consider themselves ethnic Ukrainians, according to the Razumkov Center survey. 6% of the respondents consider themselves ethnic Russians, 1.5% account for other ethnic groups. It has been the highest recorded rate concerning Ukrainian self-determination since Ukraine gained independence. Russian annexation of Crimea and aggression in Donbas accelerated the self- identification process, say sociologists.

According to 2001 census, 78.8% citizens called themselves Ukrainian, in 2015 (according to Razumkov Center) it was 86%, and today it is 92%. According to the survey, the percentage of those who consider themselves Ukrainian is higher among the youngest audience – from 18 to 22 years old (96.2%). Among those over 60 it is less than 90%.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Feast of Saint Anselm

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Anselm: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Anselm pray for us, and for England.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Bloomberg: May's Latest Brexit Gambit Is Clever But Not Smart

Bloomberg: May's Latest Brexit Gambit Is Clever But Not Smart

by Therese Raphael


"Third, there is something troubling about the way May framed her decision in a Tuesday speech -- something that sounds too close to an attempt to stifle debate.

In defending her decision, the prime minister pointed a finger at the opposition parties (and by extension, those in her own party who are dragging their feet on Brexit). She said division jeopardized the chances of getting a good Brexit deal and accused her detractors, as she has in the past, of playing political games.

In fact, the entire case for new elections was couched in terms reminiscent of the way Winston Churchill rallied the country for a war of survival.

"There should be unity here in Westminster," May said. "Instead there is division. The country should be coming together, but Westminster is not." The upshot: Those who aren't with me are against me, and those who are against me are against the country.

Brexit is historic and complicated and consequential. But it isn't an existential battle against an external foe. It isn't disloyal to question the government's strategy or oppose it. The furniture in the House of Commons is arranged in two facing rows precisely because debate and challenge are central to democracy."

I'm really conflicted by this election. If I'm asked to help campaign with the local Conservatives I will, but it will be with a sense of weariness.

Helicopter Exercises