Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Housing crisis in England

[London] Times headline today: 'The solution to our housing crisis is to copy the Victorians and increase density in areas where people actually want to live'.

Actually, the medium term solution is for Great Britain to stop mass immigration.

Right-wing women are sexier than left-wing ones

A study has found that attractive people have a tendency to be more right-wing.

I think everyone has noticed that sexy women tend to be more right wing than plain ones. Partly because they have a vested interest in status quo. Partly because they mix with richer men than poor girls. Partly because right wing is intrinsically sexy - as are brains, which right wing people usually have more of.

I don't mean you have to be stupid to be left-wing, but that being conservative means thinking for yourself.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Would the UK rejoining EFTA but not the EEA be the solution?

The German Ambassador to the UK, in a valedictory interview, says sanctimoniously that Germany has a bad experience with building walls. He forgets the obvious point. Keeping people in is bad. Keeping them out is good. The rest of his points were equally foolish.

If the UK joined EFTA without joining the EEA we might benefit from many ready made trade agreements. This Icelandic historian explains how that would work. His article, which makes good sesnse, was tweeted by Daniel Hannan and later deleted. I wonder why.

Why don't people discuss this option?

Monday, 29 January 2018

Old town scene, Octav Dragan

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Roof scene, Octav Dragan

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Bunny Sheffield:

12 years ago. I remember swimming in the sea at dusk. Off slipped the band on my left hand, into the soft endless sand below that sucked it up greedily. I employed a small party at the beach to look for it and when we finally gave up they told me that it didn't mean anything. But I knew it did. Everything means something, there is nothing that means nothing. A friend said yesterday that she stopped asking for signs, because they always told her something she didn't want to hear, she couldn't see it and then unsee it. I know, I said, how it feels to ask for a sign and then not like the answer, when it's hard or uncomfortable or doesn't match your plans. I also know how it feels to try to ignore the signs, like driving through red lights with your eyes closed, bracing for a crash.

17 Emerging Travel Destinations for 2018

Here are '17 Emerging Travel Destinations for 2018'.

I have been to half of these. I cannot recommend Lvov, Albania, Georgia or Mozambique too highly. I haven't been to East Timor but Portuguese colonies appeal, except Goa and Macao which have been ruined.

I love Israel but it is a surprise to me that it is 'emerging' - it has been a tourist place since forever, full of Americans and they never go anywhere edgy.

The sad truth is that the whole world is starting to feel like 'plant' for the tourist industry, rather than somewhere you buy a train or air ticket to and nose around.

Darkest Hour

Audiences burst out into spontaneous applause when Churchill delivers his 'fight them on the beaches' speech in the new film Darkest Hour.

There are lots of reasons they would. It's a wonderful speech and reminds us of a time when the British were alone, without Europe or America, and when alone meant backed by the Dominions, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and the colonies. 

A fairly recent but very different, unglobalised, unfeminised, pre-socialist, class conscious, all white England.

But I certainly won't go to see a film that pretends Churchill would have used the tube. 

One cannot suspend one's disbelief that much.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Carl Jung's thoughts on America

How much closer America now seems in our imagination to Europe than when Jung visited. His first visit was in 1909.

To a keen European eye there is an indefinable yet undeniable something in the whole makeup of the born American that distinguishes him from the born European. [This is very true today.]

There is no country in the world where women have to work so hard to attract men’s attention. [Women have told me that this is still true.]

More quotations

'Theresa May rarely looks at ease around human beings. She approaches them hesitantly, anxiously, as if uncertain how they might react. She has the air of a small child, gingerly reaching out to pat a horse’s nose.' Michael Deacon in today's Daily Telegraph.

'Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervour.' Benjamin Disraeli

Quotations of the day

If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of. Bruce Lee

If you write, someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that's all. Stephen King

In the liberal worldview—and you see this magisterially embodied in the philosophy of John Rawls—the state exists in order to allocate the social product. The rich are not really rich, because they don’t own that stuff. All goods, in liberal eyes, are unowned until distributed. Sir Roger Scruton

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Fake news from Syria

It is astonishing how inattentively many read what I call the papers but which are better called the 'old media'.

An intelligent schoolboy (I use that 'gendered' word to annoy people who deserve to be annoyed) can see in a moment that the siege of East Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, from where we read harrowing stories of children starving or denied hospital care, is not simply a story of war crimes by the Syrian government, aided by the Russians. 

The people under siege are obviously being held hostage. 

The people holding them hostage are the Jaysh al Islama group, part of Al Qaeda.

Life is

Life is made up of the most differing, unforeseen, contradictory, ill-assorted things; it is brutal, arbitrary, disconnected, full of inexplicable, illogical and contradictory disasters which can only be classified under the heading of 'Other news in brief'. 

Guy de Maupassant 

Cameron: Brexit has turned out less badly than we thought

It's nice to know that David Cameron thinks Brexit is 'a mistake, not a disaster' and has turned out less badly than he first thought.

In this clip he seems like a boy, a clever student politician, rather than a man. A bit like when he told the Mayor of New York that the Queen purred when he told her that Scotland wasn't leaving the UK. That was after another of his referendums. 

Without Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and probably Boris Johnson, the referendum result wouldn't have happened, but no-one but David Cameron would have called a referendum on the issue - at least, not now or in the next decade. He has therefore only himself to blame. 

Only George Osborne understood how hard the referendum would be to win for Remain. David Cameron always seemed to me a clever man (though Michael Gove doesn't agree), but George Osborne is cleverer by a way.

Four quotations

"The problem with treating other people as casual sexual partners is that you also treat yourself that way simultaneously and I don't think that does you any good."
Jordan Peterson

“The most insidious power that the news media has is the power to ignore.” 
Chris Plante

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Anthony Burgess on Catholic converts

The converted Catholics of modern literature seem to be concerned with a different faith from the one I was nurtured in - naively romantic, pedantically scrupulous. Novels like The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair, Brideshead Revisited and Sword of Honour falsify the faith by over-dramatising it. Waugh’s fictional Catholicism is too snobbish to be true. It evidently hurt Waugh deeply that his fellow-worshipper should be an expatriated Irish labourer and that the typical minister of the Church should be a Maynooth priest with a brogue.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Feminism was imposed from above, but I do not know why

All men are unequal and women too yet instead of freedom, which was what we believed in during the Cold War, equality, freedom's antithesis, is now all the rage.

It's odd how feminism was imposed from above, not demanded from below. 

Englishwomen didn't much want the vote, but it was given to them. Liberals resisted this, fearing women's conservatism.

Macron admits French would 'probably' leave the EU if given the chance

On the Andrew Marr show today, M Macron admitted that the French would 'probably' vote to leave the European Union if given the chance in a referendum, but he said leaving or staying in was the wrong question to ask.

It seems from what he said - in excellent lightly accented English - that a deal can be made with the UK along the lines of the deal with Canada. This sounds promising, though part of me likes the idea of leaving with no deal. But we must be free to get rid of regulations, lower taxes and make trade deals with countries everywhere.

Andrew Marr asked him if he raised the question of freedom of speech with the Chinese leader when they met. He said he had. Why doesn't he raise it in France too and with Frau Merkel?

Friday, 19 January 2018

"All evils are due to a lack of knowledge"

These remarks by quantum physicist David Deutsch, in his recent book, remind me why it is hard to take the views of scientists seriously except when they talk about science.

"What I call optimism is the proposition that all evils are due to a lack of knowledge and that knowledge is attainable by the methods of reason and science. I think the arguments against that proposition are as untenable as ever."

Young men, eternal boys and the war against the sexes

Prof Susan Sawyer, director of the centre for adolescent health at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, writing in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, suggests that 10-24 are now the years of adolescence. She wants council 'youth support' services to be available to people up to the age of 24.

Denis Stone, the protagonist of Aldous Huxley's novel Crome Yellow, is described as an adolescent of 26. He was a sheltered, well heeled young man but nowadays adolescence regularly lasts till 30 and in a few extreme cases 40. 

Jordan Peterson, Critical Theory and the New Bourgeoisie

That interview of Professor Jordan Peterson by Cathy whatever her name is on Channel 4, is causing quite a stir, at least among my Facebook friends and on my twitter feed. 

Might it be a turning point?

A lots of good things have been written about it. I liked this article by Uri Harris in Quillette entitled
Jordan B Peterson, Critical Theory, and the New Bourgeoisie.
It contains the insight:
The identity of the group providing the intellectual foundation for both critical theory and the social justice movement are mostly white middle-and-upper-class intellectuals from the political left in advanced Western economies. It may be more illuminating to see this group’s interests as the driving force of

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Japanese Prime Minister arrives but there is no government for him to meet

The Japanese prime minister arrived in Bucharest the day after the Romanian prime minister, and by extension the government, resigned. Japanese officials met with the President a day early and with Romanian civil servants, for want of ministers.

Bad timing by the majority Social Democratic party. Romanians are understandably angry.

I remember when the Slovenian president walked down the steps of the plane at Bucharest while the band played the Slovak national anthem. This led to a lot of Romanian self flagellation, but a Slovenian diplomat said rather sweetly, 
'Don't worry. It happens all the time.'

Daily Telegraph describes Austrian Chancellor as far-right

Every day it seems there's another low point in British political culture. The British conservative quality paper The Daily Telegraph regularly calls Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, as far right.  
Today it described the Chancellor of Austria as far-right.
ANGELA MERKEL yesterday took issue with her far-right Austrian counterpart at their first official meeting. The German chancellor and Sebastian Kurz disagreed on immigration when Mrs Merkel said his country's resistance to taking a share of  refugees was "wrong".
People who remember General Franco and Sir Oswald Mosley know what to think of this.

Jordan Peterson tosses and gores a harpy called Cathy Newman

This interview on Channel 4 with Jordan Peterson is worth watching because Professor Peterson is a fascinating and deep man. He makes the point that you need to grow up to achieve happiness.

This is a harsh truth in a world of pueri aeterni. There are many reasons why men do not grow up these days. One is that suits the liberal state for them to remain infantile and passive.

The interviewer who instead of wanting to learn from such an interesting thinker, is very rude and hostile to him, is a tedious egalitarian harpy. Wikipedia says she was educated

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Quotations from Jordan Peterson

“Women select men. That makes them nature, because nature is what selects. And you can say "Well it's only symbolic that women are nature", it's like no, it's not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can't get more like nature than that, in fact it's the very definition of nature.”

“Of course, my socialist colleagues and I weren’t out to hurt anyone – quite the reverse. We were out to improve things – but we were going to start with other people. I came to

Seen on Facebook

"I'm currently in Australia. The country strikes me as the model future vision of Liberal society. Shiny glass boxes, no history, no culture, no religion. No depth, everything is surface. The perennial present, where one day is exactly like the next. The only thing people talk about is food and property. There is nothing to see or do here bar restaurants. The people are like the drugged-up optimists of Huxley's "Brave New World" except they don't need soma - it comes naturally to them.

"As a Northern European I long for depth and history. Our culture may be broken but I like to take refuge in the shadows of the fallen masonry."


People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.

Milan Kundera

And herein, I think, all the philosophers of the newest age are open to a serious criticism. What they do not possess is real standing in actual life. Not one of them has intervened effectively, either in higher politics, in the development of modern technics, in matters of communication, in economics, or in any other big actuality, with a single act or a single compelling idea. Not one of them counts in mathematics, in physics, in the science of government, even to the extent that Kant counted. Let us glance at other times. Confucius was several times a minister. Pythagoras was the organizer of an important

Monday, 15 January 2018

'Theresa is more pro European than me.' David Cameron in 2015

"There's a spectrum. George is more pro European than me, so is Theresa, then there's me, then there's Boris and you."
David Cameron to Michael Gove, November 2015, quoted by Tim Shipman in 'All Out War', a Christmas present.

Octav Dragan: today in Herăstrău park, Bucharest

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Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Democrats are trying to hang Trump out to dry: I don't think they are succeeding

“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.” Steve Bannon 

President Trump, in a private conversation with congressmen, is said to have used an ugly word, 's-hole', to describe Haiti and African countries. 

A British diplomat seconded to the UN called Rupert Colville has denounced this as racist, which is piffle. 

Handing back Hong Kong

I was just told that Israel takes 55% of its fresh water from the sea. Couldn't Britain have arranged for Hong Kong to desalinate sea water rather than handing it to China in 1997, when the lease on the New Territories, with their water supply, expired?

It is so sad for so many reasons that Hong Kong now belongs to China.

Sick of tourism

I am so happy to be back and so blessed to live in Romania.

I find Bucharest in the rain in January far more beautiful and moving than any location at the far end of the world. Especially not the tourist choked locations.

I am giving up on visiting touristland. 

Cambodia in all has five million tourists a year. Vietnam has ten million, Thailand has 33 million and Burma almost three million. In each case the number is growing in leaps and bounds. I'd probably go somewhere else if I were you.

Freedom of speech is a memory in England

Northumbria Police carefully investigated all the comments left on its Facebook page about the Operation Shelter scandal, in which young white girls in were groomed, sexually abused and trafficked by mostly Muslim men of Pakistani descent in Newcastle.

They did so after a member of the public complained that a number of posts referred to the race and religion of the 18 people convicted in the case.

The police tracked down six people who left comments “deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal”.

“Following an investigation, which has now concluded, we spoke to two males as voluntary attenders and visited a further four people in their homes, and provided them with words of advice. All expressed their remorse and stated that the intention of their comments was not to cause concern or to be offensive and have acknowledged the words of advice provided. 
"We would also like to take this opportunity to remind people using social media that they should do so responsibly and ensure they do not post anything which could be considered offensive.”

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Universities should be on-line, free and open to anyone

Universities should not be businesses. They should be free, online (a handful of historic ones excepted) and not passports to employability. All undergraduates should be set an exam in major pre-1900 poets.

The world is an airport

Measuring my life in cappuccinos.

The world increasingly resembles the shopping area in a vast international airport. No air or grass or roots but there are worse things. This is in fact the 19th century liberal dream of free trade bringing peace and prosperity. And a shopping area is nothing more than a bazaar but one with the same brands in every corner of the world.

Nations survive as Thai and Mexican restaurants and even a pub, though not the smoky, family-unfriendly pub full of opinionated old men and subversive opinions, loudly voiced, that we formerly knew.

And in the background men (and women) with machine guns.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Marxism a staging post to a purely technological society

Here is an interesting article about Augustino Del Noce, an Italian Catholic philosopher who thought Marxism merely a staging post on the road to a purely technological civilisation. 

He predicted during the Cold War that Marxism would move from concern for the workers to concern for sexual freedom, a freedom derived from a gnostic contempt for the body.

Love is in the air

A Syrian asylum seeker who belonged to Isis has been found guilty at the Bailey of plotting to build a bomb with a woman he met on a Muslim dating site called

There is an offbeat romantic comedy in this, perhaps set to music.

Theresa May is no more conservative (or talented) than Hillary Clinton

So Theresa May's long heralded reshuffle, intended to make her cabinet 'less male and pale', didn't happen when two of her cabinet ministers refused to be reshuffled. 

I am glad that she didn't win a majority at the election. Imagine what this woman would be like if she had a 90 seat majority.

Odi profano vulgus

I have given up on touristland. 

Angkor War (its Hindu temples are beautiful and romantic while comparatively untouristed Bagan's are neither) had seven thousand tourists a year in the mid 1990s. Now a million come many staying in swish comfortable hotels with swimming pools.

As Santayana said, luxury requires an aristocratic setting to make it attractive. Upmarket mass tourism isn't, though it is fun. 

It does bring a lot of money to poor countries like Cambodia, though a lot or most of the money goes abroad, while it does a lot of harm to ancient places too.

As a hotelier told me once, tourism is a branch of the entertainment industry.

Which is fine except that industry means being part of a factory line.

I'll stick to Romania and England in future and other offbeat places. Algeria is perfect for the moment. Georgia and Armenia should still be relatively undiscovered, though the Georgian seaside resort of Batumi went from being 1970s Havana to being Las Vegas in five or six years.
I just met a man who has been to Ethiopia three times and would like to go back. I want to return there too. And to Mozambique, Algeria, Egypt and Cuba, but not to other exotic places I've been lucky enough to visit. Unless exotic includes Georgia and Armenia, which it doesn't really.

I probably won't return to Asia beyond the Muslim world. 

"Yes, Sir; there are two objects of curiosity, — the Christian world, and the Mahometan world. All the rest may be considered as barbarous."
Dr. Johnson's aphorism is out of date, but those are the places that speak to me.