Category Archives: elections

Humours of an election

Mid-morning. A few days before a general election. Dalrymple and a confederate are at his mansion in one of the prettier small towns — as yet unbesmirched by the socialist planners — of the English midlands. The pair have enjoyed a large traditional English breakfast including beefsteak, washed down with pints of Burgundy (from the well-stocked cellars of Dalrymple’s château near Alès), and are now sharing a very decent bottle of port. There is a knock at the heavy oak door. Dalrymple directs a liveried footman to open it. An opposition candidate, with her unpleasing 20-year-old son in tow, present themselves at the threshold. They have come to canvass the doctor’s vote.

CANDIDATE’S SON: (mutters something incoherent and derogatory about the incumbent Member of Parliament, who is standing for re-election.)

DALRYMPLE: The Member* came out very well in the expenses scandal — he didn’t claim a penny.

CANDIDATE’S SON (assuming that the word ‘rich’ is a moral accusation): That’s because he’s a rich man.

DALRYMPLE: Is that not an argument for having only rich men in parliament? Better a parliament of rich men than one of men who enter parliament to become rich.

[Exeunt, amour propre wounded, the candidate and her son.]

DALRYMPLE (turning to his confederate and chuckling): Poor young man! I was only teasing him a little, and getting him, still a student, to exercise his mind and escape for a moment from the clichés with which that capacious instrument has probably been filled from birth.

CONFEDERATE: An oafish youth, to be sure. But what in fact is your view on the matter, doctor?

DALRYMPLE: Rich men, provided they start their political careers in their 50s at the earliest, are the best suited for political life. They are more likely to accept the rôle of servitor of their nation than master of it.

Canvassing for Votes, Hogarth, Humours of an Election series (1755), Sir John Soane’s Museum

*Dalrymple’s home when he is in England is in Bridgnorth, and his representative in the Commons is Philip Dunne, Member of Parliament for the Ludlow constituency (covering the district of South Shropshire, and the district of Bridgnorth wards of Alveley, Bridgnorth Castle, Bridgnorth East, Bridgnorth Morfe, Bridgnorth West, Broseley East, Broseley West, Claverley, Ditton Priors, Glazeley, Harrington, Highley, Much Wenlock, Morville, Stottesdon, and Worfield). Dunne is one of the 50 ‘saints’ — MPs who minimised their (taxpayer-funded) expenditure. In Dunne’s case, his parliamentary expenses were minimised to zero.

Cameron, conjurer of terrible political problems out of thin air

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.51.15The re-election of the British prime minister David Cameron, writes Dalrymple,

solves nothing of the crisis of political legitimacy in Britain (constitutional legitimacy is something else).

With turnout of 66 percent

and the British party system balkanised, Cameron won re-election with the suffrage of 24.7 percent of the adult population. A vote for the Scottish National Party weighed nearly 150 times more heavily as far as representation was concerned as did a vote for the United Kingdom Independence Party. (It took 25,974 votes to elect an SNP member of parliament, 3,881,129 to elect a Ukip one.) A vote for the SNP weighed 25 times more than a vote for the Greens. The SNP won 50 percent of the votes in Scotland but 95 percent of the seats.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.18.10The British now live, Dalrymple points out,

in an unrepresentative democracy.

Cameron

promised a referendum on membership of the European Union, a promise that would be difficult even for Houdini to escape; and if it goes against membership, the Scots, who are Europhile but anti-English, might declare their independence and try to remain in the European Union.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 08.15.47Nor would independence

be without potential for creating deep divisions, bitterness, and conflict in Scotland itself. The potential for chaos north and south of the border is enormous.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 07.58.05One of Britain’s prevailing assets has been its political stability. But that stability

has evaporated, probably for good—with potentially disastrous results for its financial sector, upon which it so strongly (though foolishly) depends.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 08.05.05Terrible political problems

have been conjured out of nothing except the ambition of politicians.

And

the country’s deeper problems—its low productivity, its abysmal cultural and educational levels—remain not only unanswered, but unremarked.

Britain’s election disaster

Lynton Crosby: political engineer

Winner: political engineer Lynton Crosby

The worst possible outcome for the Greece of the North Sea

Examining the results of the 2015 UK general election, Dalrymple notes that now,

to all Britain’s intractable problems — low productivity, abysmal cultural level, addiction to debt — have been added political instability and the prospect of chaos.

The poll, he writes, was both one of the most important, and one of the most boring, for many years.

It was important because

Winner: Nicola Sturgeon resembles an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress

Winner: Nicola Sturgeon resembles an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress

it destroyed Britain’s reputation for political stability. This is of enormous significance for a country that is so heavily dependent on financial services, having little else to offer the world, for money doesn’t like political turmoil. Half a trillion dollars has left and might not come back.

It was boring because

all the candidates were boring. Apart from Nicola Sturgeon, who looked like an efficient and dedicated but bossy and unpleasant schoolmistress, all the three main candidates contrived to look the same. They had smooth, characterless faces and often eschewed [neck-] ties for fear of intimidating with smartness the slobs and slatterns who are one of the country’s largest constituencies.

Loser

Loser: conflict and chaos are coming

The candidates looked less like people than

products designed by political engineers.

Neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg nor Ed Miliband ever cracked a joke,

at least not knowingly. No one in Britain can tell any longer the difference between earnestness and seriousness. A joke will only get you into trouble — someone will take it literally and be offended. It is best not to make one, even if you are capable of it, which in these three cases is doubtful.

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 23.59.36Cameron remains prime minister, but that is

not the same thing as political stability.

Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 11.19.59was workable and not grotesquely unfair when there were two overwhelmingly preponderant parties, but with the balkanisation of the political scene, the system is unworkable. The British now live in an unrepresentative democracy which produces gross distortions in parliament.

3.9m votes = 1 seat; 1.4m votes = 56 seats

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 23.58.23The biggest swing was to the UK Independence Party. It received 12.6% of the votes and one seat, compared with the Scottish National Party’s 4.7% of the votes and 56 seats. Dalrymple concludes:

No system that produces such a result can retain its legitimacy.

The system has given the SNP a near-monopoly of Scottish seats, so that

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 00.04.41the representation of Scotland in parliament would be worthy of the results of a Soviet election.

Moreover, for as long as the threat of Scottish independence remains,

stability cannot return to Britain. Chaos and conflict are just around the corner.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 08.18.12Britain’s one

indisputably successful and world-beating economic activity [apart from binge-drinking], namely financial skulduggery, might contract or collapse, because such skulduggery needs an environment of political stability.

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 10.34.06Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 23.18.10

The EU racket: how it works

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 20.55.35Dalrymple answers your questions.

When politico-bureaucrats use cant terms such as ‘ever closer union’ or ‘the construction of Europe’, what do they mean?

The phrase ‘the construction of Europe’ is often used, but never with any reference as to what, even approximately, is being constructed. It is as if the entire population of Europe were being invited on to a magic mystery tour, neither the destination nor the experiences en route having been specified. The population has merely to trust the drivers and the guides.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 20.56.47What is the object of this ‘construction’?

There can be only one aim, one blueprint: a sovereign superstate that, given the modern tendency to centralisation, will leave the leaders of entire countries with fewer powers than governors of the American states.

Why are leaders of nationalisms — Catalans, Flemings, Scots, etc. — that threaten to break up long-established states so in favour of ever closer union?

Those who claim to want independence but who are simultaneously enthusiastic defenders of ‘the construction of Europe’ are enthusiastic place-seekers.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 21.00.49What is the fate of such nationalisms under the European Union?

Ever less sovereignty.

Until that sovereignty withers away?

The respective nations already have such autonomy as they are ever likely to be allowed in the new dispensation to which they claim to be attached.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 21.02.36

Edward Heath (right), the worst British prime minister of the 20th century, and friend

Why are so many members of the French and German élites in favour of the EU?

The European Union gives the French the illusion of power and the Germans a possibility of being something other than German.

Why does the political class of all European countries so strongly favour the European racket?

It gives them the hope of eternal life, or at least of power beyond the normal natural life of a democratic politician. It is a giant pension fund for European politicians.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 21.04.47

Life is good

Does it not give them a bit of a break from chasing votes?

Politicians grow tired of the political game as it is played in parliamentary democracies with its tiresome and anxiety-provoking necessity to be re-elected every now and then, and want to retire to the sunny uplands of the European administration with its large salaries and even more generous expense accounts, where nothing so vulgar as an election ever takes place and where you can be important for ever, avoiding tax in perfect tranquillity and never have to pay for lunch.

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 21.12.47What is going through the minds of the corrupt politicians?

Who, after listening to a conversation on a bus or in a bar, would want to make it his life’s work to solicit the votes of the idiotic participants, or to make sure he said or did nothing to upset them? Such would be a life of hell, of never being able to say what you really think, of walking always on eggshells, of being so afraid of saying something that is out of line that you are reduced to langue de bois.