Category Archives: May, Theresa

England’s shambolic economy

The economic auguries for the UK, writes Dalrymple,

are poor, though not only, or even principally, because of the European Union’s hostility. Britain is unlikely to be able to take any advantage of life outside the European straitjacket because its own political class is in favour of straitjackets that are no better, and quite possibly worse than, the European ones.

The present prime minister, Theresa May,

is very much a statist, indistinguishable from European social democrats.

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, who has a strong chance of taking over from May,

is an unapologetic admirer of the late Hugo Chávez.

In light of this, Dalrymple notes that

it is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will place much trust or confidence in an isolated country whose next government might very well

  • weaken property rights
  • impose capital controls
  • increase corporate taxation in favour of supposed social justice

It would not take very long, Dalrymple points out, to turn England into

a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.

Dalrymple lists some of Great Britain’s economic weaknesses:

  • a large and persistent trade imbalance, because Britain does not produce enough of what the world wants and cannot easily be made to do so
  • a large national debt, about the same size as that of France, but without a highly functioning infrastructure such as France’s to show for it
  • household debt which is among the highest in the world

For many years, Dalrymple comments, UK economic policy

might as well have been presided over by Bernard Madoff.

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Courage in an evil cause

Dalrymple writes that English

is said to have the largest vocabulary of any language.

So in a way

it was an achievement on the part of Theresa May to have found exactly the wrong word to describe the Parsons Green bombing (2017), namely, to say that it was ‘cowardly’.

The attack, Dalrymple notes,

was not a cowardly action: it was evil as well as stupid, and many other things no doubt, but it was not cowardly. Planting a crude bomb does not require, perhaps, quite so much bravery as it does to blow yourself up, but no one with any imagination can suppose that placing a bomb in a public place is an undertaking for a coward, or that it requires no courage. On the contrary, it requires considerable courage to do such a thing; if it did not, it is probable that there would be many more bombs and terrorist attacks than there already are. To place a bomb like this, one must face the risk of premature explosion and mutilation, the risk of being set upon by witnesses, and the likelihood of being caught and spending years in prison. These are not risks that most of us would care to take.

Does it matter, Dalrymple asks,

if a word, uttered in the heat, or nearly in the heat, of the moment (though surely by now, May must have rehearsed in her mind what to say in the event of a terrorist outrage) is wrong? It would be impossible to estimate with certainty or exactitude the harm done by the misuse of words in these circumstances. But nevertheless there is an unpleasant corollary to May’s statement: if even part of what is wrong about leaving a bomb in Parsons Green station is that it is a cowardly thing to do, then a terrorist attack that is more direct, and hence less cowardly, must be better, from a moral perspective. Are we to admire terrorists who stare their victims in the face, or put themselves directly in self-harm’s way? Bravery in the promotion or defence of a bad cause does not make the cause better, or a heinous act any more praiseworthy.

Dangerous populism of May and Corbyn

Dalrymple writes that the British socialist politicians Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn tout their policies as ones of fairness, equality and social justice, while Nigel Farage presents his policies as being in the name of democracy and national sovereignty. Yet it is only Farage who is branded ‘populist’. In fact, Dalrymple points out, the instincts which they all rely on are equally well able to serve sadistic purposes if extended far enough; economic egalitarianism has caused at least as many violent deaths as nationalism.

Waarom is meneer Corbyn geen populist terwijl meneer Farage een populist is? Het moet zijn, denk ik dan, dat zowel mevrouw May en meneer Corbyn hun beleid presenteren in de naam van eerlijkheid, gelijkheid en sociale rechtvaardigheid, terwijl meneer Farage zijn beleid presenteert in de naam van democratie en nationale soevereiniteit. Maar in feite zijn de instincten waarop ze allemaal een beroep doen net zo goed in staat om sadistische doelen te dienen indien ze ver genoeg worden doorgetrokken; economisch egalitarisme heeft minstens evenveel gewelddadige doden veroorzaakt dan extreem nationalisme.

A nullity’s nullity

Even if she were replaced by palace coup, writes Dalrymple, it would only be, most likely, by another nullity.

McDonnell and the Glastonbury mob

Dalrymple points out that the most recent demagogic statement by John McDonnell, described as the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, proves that he is

unfit for public office.

It was

a grossly inflammatory, as well as erroneous, thing to say; no doubt he would defend it in his own mind as conducing to a Leninist heightening of the contradictions.

McDonnell has, in his career, been

at the very least equivocal on the subject of political murder; the question for him appearing to have been who is being murdered and who is doing the murdering.

The shadow chancellor

was not aiming at truth in his statement, but at a kind of incitement: an incitement to a gratifying sense of moral outrage among his audience that would assist his accession to power. He was appealing to an uncritical mob mentality, and it appears that at Glastonbury, where he spoke, he found one.

Dalrymple comments:

A mob mentality is gaining ground in this country, and all that stands between the rest of us and it is Theresa May, a nullity’s nullity; and even if she were replaced by palace coup, it would only be, most likely, by another nullity. Our choice, then, is between people who do not even have the courage of their lack of convictions and dangerous demagogues: not a happy choice, perhaps, but I know on which side I stand.

Theresa May in T&P mode

The immediate response of the British political élite to the Finsbury Park attack has, writes Dalrymple,

been instructive.

He points out that

the first reaction of any British politician to any untoward event nowadays is to shed crocodile tears.

He notes that Theresa May

went straight into her T&P mode: that is to say, her Thoughts and Prayers. She has had to do so much thinking about and praying for victims recently that she must have had little time left over for affairs of state, which perhaps accounts for the mess she is making of them.

I hug the masses. I feel their pain

Competitive compassionate gesturing — and calls for taxpayers’ cash and property

The Grenfell Tower fire, writes Dalrymple,

could not have come at a better time for Jeremy Corbyn.

Dalrymple notes that while the Labour leader is

a natural hugger of potential voters, Theresa May is not. And what establishes the depths of a person’s compassion for victims more indisputably than a hug?

Corbyn, indeed,

senses that he is but a compassionate gesture or two away from occupying No.10.

Time for some good old Leninist expropriation

This Marxist says that he is angry at what happened, which he links to

what is known as fiscal austerity—that is, when government spends only 108% of tax revenue, instead of the much higher percentage that he favours.

Of course, Corbyn

skated over the part played by the public sector in the tragedy.

A Machiavellian minus the cunning

The British prime minister chose her battleground with the perfect eye for defeat

Theresa May, writes Dalrymple,

proved an apt pupil of the David Cameron school of political incompetence. Lacking principle, she was not even good at being unprincipled.

She had

the charisma of a carrot and the sparkle of a spade. As she presented herself to the public, no one would have wanted her as a dinner guest, except under the deepest social obligation.

Consequence of having a pusillanimous, do-nothing approach to a society resting in the stagnant pool of its own mediocrity

Her disastrous campaign

included repeated genuflections in the direction of social democracy. Even after her defeat, moral if not quite literal, she burbled about a society in which no one was left behind — never mind that it would entail a society in which no one would be out in front.

Theresa May: the charisma of a carrot

But egalitarianism

is like Islam: just as a moderate Muslim can always be outflanked by someone more Islamic, so an egalitarian can be outflanked by someone more egalitarian: and no one will ever believe that the Conservatives are more devoted to equality of outcome than Labour.

Theresa May: the sparkle of a spade

So incompetent, she could be humiliatingly outflanked by a man such as this

We will fight them with bromides

Theresa May: ‘enough is enough’, like a silly schoolmistress

Dalrymple notes that after the London Bridge terror attack, the insipid British prime minister Theresa May

referred to the innocence of the victims, as though there were guilty victims lurking somewhere who deserved to be mowed down or have their throats cut.

In post-Diana Britain, Dalrymple points out,

no tragedy or wickedness occurs without the police and other officials saying (as did May on this occasion), ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families,’ when this is most unlikely to be true and is an unctuous platitude that brings no solace.

May said on this occasion that ‘enough is enough’.

Meaning what? That a little terrorism is acceptable, as if the perpetrators were boisterous children finally being called to order after having been given leeway by the grown-ups?

She said that things would have to change,

without specifying which things. To specify would have been to invite criticism, opposition, opprobrium—and just before an election, no less. Best keep to clichés.

The cultural triumph of psychobabble

Theresa May: the little ones shall experience distress no more

The British prime minister, Dalrymple reports, has

spotted an opportunity to demonstrate to her sentimental electorate how much she cares for even the least of them by announcing that she wants to put a mental health professional, i.e. form-filler, in every school.

There is, says Dalrymple, a new social contract:

I will listen to your shallow clichés about yourself if you will listen to mine.

Her

compassion by proxy, at taxpayers’ expense, is typical of the behaviour of modern politicians, who need to show their electorates that they are not the heartless or ruthless ambitious nonentities that they might otherwise appear to be. An uncritically sentimental population is a perfect flock to be fleeced in this way, sheep for the shearing.

May’s project, Dalrymple points out,

is also typical of the process of simultaneous work creation and work avoidance that marks the modern state, a process that turns it into a trough from which many may feed.