Category Archives: May, Theresa

Britain will not lift a finger to defend any freedom

London is willing to surrender to violence even before it is offered

England has refused the request of Asia Bibi for asylum. Dalrymple writes:

If ever there were a person who needed and deserved asylum, it was she. Having spent eight years in prison under sentence of death for supposed blasphemy, her sentence was overturned by that country’s highest court; but howling mobs of nasty bearded fools have demanded that she be hanged nonetheless because she is a Christian who refuses to convert. The threats of the bearded fools are obviously to be taken seriously: they do not recognise any legal authority but their own.

Mob rule

Dalrymple notes that the reason given for London’s pusillanimous refusal is that

granting asylum to her might have offended the sensibilities of the Muslims in Britain and caused unrest among them.

This

is an implicit insult to those Muslims.

Theresa May: policy dictated to by howling mobs of nasty bearded fools

If unrest were to occur,

it should have been faced down.

The heartless whore that is the British State

There is, Dalrymple points out, an important principle at stake,

which is why the British government has failed the test with such spectacular cowardice. Its conduct in this matter has been far worse than was Chamberlain’s at Munich. Chamberlain was a decent man who was trying to avert a war, whose horrors he understood, for which his country was unprepared; the current British government has proved decisively once again that it will not lift a finger to defend any freedom and is willing to surrender to violence even before it is offered.

The decision, says Dalrymple,

fills me with disgust and a feeling of impotent rage.

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Nullity made flesh

The British government’s instinct for making the wrong decision is, writes Dalrymple,

almost infallible.

For the moment, the prime minister is a mediocrity by the name of Theresa May, whom Dalrymple describes as

nullity made flesh.

Brexit bungled. Corbyn coming!

New red dawn

Britain braced for full socialisation

Thanks to the Brexit imbroglio, writes Dalrymple, England

could soon be Venezuela without the oil or the warm weather. The stunning incompetence of the last two Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May, might result in a Labour government, one led by Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has long admired Hugo Chávez for having reminded him—though not the people of Venezuela—what governments can do for the poor and the achievement of social justice.

Bungling, gutless May

Does a country get the leaders that it deserves? asks Dalrymple.

If so, what does the present political disarray say about Britain? Or is it that the conditions of modern democracy guarantee the ascension of ambitious mediocrities, leaders without powers of leadership?

From the first in the Brexit negotiations, Dalrymple writes,

Theresa May, the prime minister, who had already proved her weakness and incompetence at the Home Office, showed the vision of a Chamberlain.

He points out that it it should have been obvious to her that

it was essential, in fact a matter of life and death, for the European Union to make Brexit a disaster for Britain because, were it not, then that would be a disaster for the European Union.

A prosperous Britain outside the European Union

would have destroyed the EU’s raison d’être, which was already strongly under attack. Emmanuel Macron even said that if France had held a referendum at the same time that Britain did, the result would have been a bigger majority for leaving than in Britain.

Brexit

was thus an opportunity for European politicians to demonstrate that, however unsatisfactory the Union might be, life would be worse without it.

May’s problem

was that the party she headed was itself divided on Brexit. It was here that leadership was most required and most lacking. Her weak idea was to try to satisfy both wings of her party by compromise, which predictably pleased neither. Now she pleases practically no one, but clings to power—or office, in any case—like a shipwrecked sailor clutching a raft.

Dalrymple notes that

the dangers facing the country as a result of this débâcle are enormous.

The non-entity in Number 10

A politician who excites only contempt

Dalrymple notes that Theresa May, the British prime minister,

has only one clear policy: to remain prime minister.

To be sure, he says,

every politician aims to stay in office as long as possible. Nevertheless, one would still hope that those who attained it had some idea what to do with it. A politician with only ideas is dangerous, no doubt, but one entirely without them is contemptible.

A stranger to strategy and tactics

May, writes Dalrymple,

pins her hope of remaining in office on not offending anyone too deeply, neither to the right nor to the left of her. At a dinner party, this might be a good principle, but politics is not a dinner party. Those who try to offend no one also please no one, and in times of crisis give the impression not of compromise and flexibility but of lack of principle and pusillanimity.

Faced by the challenge of Brexit, May,

who seems like a stranger to strategy and tactics, has opted for an evasive immobility, perhaps in the hope that something will turn up and prevent her from having to make any painful decisions.

Politics is not a dinner party

May days

In 1903, when Dalrymple was still a young man, Joseph Chamberlain suddenly converted from free trade to protectionism. Looking back on those days, Dalrymple thinks that what followed bears comparison with the situation prevailing in England today. He writes:

Though the times were generally prosperous (judged by their own standards), Chamberlain argued that unfair foreign competition was harming, and even destroying, British agriculture and industry. The solution was protectionism within the British Empire. The Conservative party, led (or at least, headed) by the highly intellectual Arthur Balfour, was deeply divided. As Harry Cust put it, ‘I have nailed my colours to the fence.’ Balfour, prime minister, refused to express himself clearly, for fear of alienating one or other of the factions and thereby bringing the government down. He proved incapable of exercising leadership. In the election that followed, the Conservatives were swept from power. Neither free-traders nor protectionists trusted them. For many years, the Conservatives were a party whom its enemies need not fear and its friends did not trust.

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.

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.

The nullities’ nullity

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