1942 All Over Again

There is an interesting article in this weeks speccie by Europhile (shock horror) Fredrik Erixon in which with more honesty than you might expect he looks at what the rise in (so-called) populist movements across Europe might mean for the EU.

Summing up he writes:

... we have centre-right parties spooked by migration and the borderless Europe. Meanwhile, the left is focusing its attentions on the single market, and would like to see scores of new policies introduced that restrict the freedom to do business across borders. For these parties, the ‘four freedoms’ are problematic. They worry about Polish plumbers fixing the pipes in France and Hungarian truck drivers delivering Amazon packages in Germany…Without the introduction of new social rights, or taxes and regulations on labour that would ‘level the playing field’ between EU countries, the left threatens to disavow the principle of free trade inside the EU… So the supposed torch-bearers of ‘ever-closer union’ are losing faith in key foundations of the whole European project. Even they want a different Europe, with stronger borders, weaker rules, and more power for nation states.

He points out that this is not so different from David Cameron’s ill-fated “renogotiation” that led to Brexit, and goes on:

Paradoxically, Brussels’s rigidity is a sign of internal weakness — not of strength. … Even if no other country is looking for the exit, many want to have more flexible arrangements … For some, it is about allowing more subsidies for failing industries or bigger fiscal deficits; others want less demanding rules about cutting carbon emissions or about refugees seeking asylum. If the EU gives much ground, the result will be a disunited Europe.

However his analysis is rather let done by this:

An era of never-closer union may be about to begin.

It is here that I think he is completely wrong.

That is completely not how the EU works, it is against its founding principles. The history of the EU since its foundation has been one of unrelenting deepening, and that institutional inertia is not about to change.

We have seen with the Euro that the internal inconsistencies are ignored by Brussels until they become an existential threat, at which point a band aid is applied to buy a little more time.  It has been clear for years that its internal struggle between debt sharing and further loosening (which is really a struggle between common sense and German intransigence), is nothing less than a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.

The political tensions described by Mr Erixon are now on track to become a second irresistible force.  The difference here is that the new power struggle is between two pillars of the EU’s fundamental structure – the Platonic executive and the nominally (at least) democratic parliament.

Given the staggeringly poor quality of the political leadership in Brussels it seems to me that the end must be approaching even faster than before. However given the political will to keep going it is likely that it will keep struggling on, running on willpower alone.

In historical terms we are still only in late 1942. The inevitability of the final outcome is starting to take shape – German troops are outgunned and outnumbered in front of Stalingrad, the US has entered the war and the flow of arms and materials to Europe is accelerating. The battle of the Atlantic has turned. Hitler kept going for another two and a half years despite the increasingly obvious facts, thereby sentencing millions more people to death.

How long will Selmayr’s will hold out?

Hearts Of Oak

So it would appear that some off duty sailors have been very naughty boys and have got drunk and got in a brawl.

Splendid news.

I’m afraid I was thinking after that embarrassing episode in the gulf of Iran back in 2007, that the Navy had gone the way of the Police, the BBC and most everything else the government touches ie. been taken over by leftard girly boys.

But no, it would seem that some at least of these fine chaps still have the stuff to do what sailors down the ages have done best.

Splice the mainbrace all round lads.

Celebrating 20th July

The Americans have July 4th.  The French have July 14th.

And not to be left out, the Germans have 20th July.  Not perhaps celebrated with quite such enthusiasm as the other two; but, desperate to bury the national shame of her recent past Germany celebrates the attempt by Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg to murder Hitler and take control of his hideous regime with his co-conspirators von Tresckow and others.

The legend that has been allowed to grow over the years is that these brave men, sickened by the attrocities committed against the Jews in Poland and Ukraine they have begun to learn about, are determined to do something about the monster who has taken control of their country and effectively enslaved its people, tragically the plot failed, Stauffenberg and others died heroes’ deaths and the war continued until the German people were liberated from the Nazis by the allies.

I read a brilliant and timely article in the Speccy this morning in which historian Matthew Olex-Szczytowski comprehensively debunks the myth.

Uncomfortable truths (the plotters were a tiny band, most had been Nazis or enthusiastic supporters) … discoveries which the archives are still yielding…show the full extent to which key players, such as Stauffenberg himself, were full-blown Nazi criminals before they ever came to oppose the regime…A reckoning with such facts will be tough. After all, the Ministry of Defence is in the Stauffenbergstrasse in Berlin, the army schools officers at its Stauffenberg barracks in Dresden, and the Bundeswehr runs global missions from the Tresckow base near Potsdam.

Furthermore:

For Stauffenberg and Tresckow, the charge sheets might have started in 1939 when, as senior military men invading Poland, they aided the SS Einsatzgruppen squads in murdering thousands. Stauffenberg’s division was implicated in burning 70 Poles and Jews alive in a barn; his people were there when the Germans staged a pogrom to ‘celebrate’ Yom Kippur; he welcomed ethnic cleansing and German colonisation. Tresckow was directly involved in atrocities too. During and after the fighting, 20,000 Poles and Jews were unlawfully put to death, but in the classic accounts Stauffenberg and Tresckow noticed nothing…From late 1940 to early 1943, Stauffenberg was a key aide to the head of the army’s high command, General Franz Halder. The future frondeur shaped the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. This saw the German army run mass executions, starve more than three million POWs to death and support the Einsatzgruppen in shooting 1.2 million Jews and 800,000 others. In 1942 Stauffenberg planned compulsory labour culminating in the induction of
3.6 million Soviet civilians — men, women and children — into slavery in Germany and Austria. Tresckow helped lead the Army Group Centre, the largest force to invade Soviet-run territory, so shared in myriad army crimes. We know his people murdered and helped the Einsatzgruppen to kill. By the end of 1941 he had presided over the death of a million Soviet prisoners left to starve and freeze.

Far from being disgusted by these crimes it is quite clear that the plotters in the general staff were steeped in blood to their elbows, and were motivated entirely by  the growing realization that Hitler’s increasingly demented and disastrous running of the war was leading to certain defeat and they aimed to replace what they saw as a failing regime with what they believed would be a more successful one, involving themselves enjoying the fruits of power.

… they concocted reactionary schemes which were either risible (for Germany’s internal governance) or ominous (for continued German rule over Europe)… Albert Speer might have been a minister, Tresckow would have run the police.

These facts have been known for some time and more is being unearthed all the time.  Olex-Szczytowski rightly asks why Germany is so reluctant to confront this truth?  And concludes that given the continued interest in this history in Germany and the activities of the revisionists will lead to a reckoning:

Only last month the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland party … caused uproar by pooh-poohing the impact of Hitler when seen against the country’s 1,000 years of achievement.

Quite what these 1000 years of achievement consists of I’m not so sure.  Germany didn’t exist as a unified state untl the 19th century when their single greatest statesman, Bismarck, merged a motley collection of independent duchies and principalities into a militaristic giant which fought a won a series of wars of conquest against its neighbours culminating in a shocking victory over France in 1870.

Germany’s most important contribution to human wellbeing was the invention of protestantism but even that only led to the enlightenment after it had transplanted to Great Britain.  Plus they had some very great writers and composers, as did other nations.

Germany’s military adventures in the 20th century are too tragic to mention save to say that we are all still living in the baleful afterglow of the conflagration.

And after the inevitable but agonising and costly defeat we have the economic miracle, funded largely by the Americans and by default on her debts.

A generally unknown fact pointed out by James Holland in his outstanding book “The War In The West” is that compared to the western allies (excluding the USA) at the start of the war Germany was very weak in terms of motorisation.  Even quite late in the war an awful lot of men and materiel were moving on foot or horsedrawn.  The excellent but overworked railway system could not make up for this.  The rather small British was far better equipped in terms of motor transport, this being the result of a conscious decision to replace men with machines as far as possible.

I think it is for this reason that the German motor industry is such an important thing for modern Germany.  The Germans are always fighting the last war.

All the important technical innovations  in the 20th century were made by the British or the Americans.  In the first there was the tank.  In the second there was overwhelming logistical dominance.   It seems that the understandable desire to win the peace has led to this enormous industry being the cornerstone of their economy.

But globally the economy has moved on.  Modern economies are not based on massive manufacturing plants.  However much Grauniad columnists and Labour Party MPs might deplore the fact, modern economies are mixed, flexible, and post-industrial.

In the last decade Germany’s astonishing dominance of the euroland economy has been based on control of a currency rigged in its favour, and at the expense of her southern neighbours.  She has built up a Target 2 imbalance of a trillion euros which she might as well write off now as it will never be repaid.

Viewed from the lofty heights of Castello Italicus it is clear that Germany, far from winning the peace has in fact hoist herself with her own petard and in fact the German people are in for a very serious economic reaming at some point in the next decade or so, when this whole mess collapses under the weight of its own internal contradictions.  A reckoning is coming and it won’t be pretty.

As for the Stauffenberg plot, had it succeeded, one monster would have been replaced by others and the war might have dragged on even longer.  Let’s celebrate the fact that they failed.

 

Welby Jumps The Shark

The Arch Bish of Cant (careful how you pronounce that) considers that the EU is humanity’s greatest achievement since the Roman Empire.

It is to him:

the greatest dream realised for human beings since the fall of the Western Roman Empire

This is a ridiculous intervention on several levels.

Primarily it is plainly quite stupid for a man in his position to make sweeping statements about matters of contemporary politics which are quite so remotely detached from spiritual considerations.  I don’t recall the noble bish being quite so loquacious on the subject of the Irish referendum abortion (sorry I got those words the wrong way around) where it could legitimately be argued that there is a fairly obvious moral aspect where guidance informed by God’s wisdom and infinite goodness might very well be appreciated.

On the other hand the Bish’s understanding of international commercial and treaty law and convention is probably even less than the abysmal standard set by members of cabinet, the HoL, the press and the BBC to name but some.

For this reason alone a period of silence on his part would be most welcome.

And then there is the mindbogglingly fatuous idiocy of his comment.  The last 200 years have seen the greatest increase in human well being in history.   Economic, religious and political freedom and democracy for all are paid at least lip service in virtually the entire world and in vast swathes of the world are, to a reasonable approximation, also real.

Diseases that in living memory killed millions of babies and other innocents are now treatable and in some cases have been wiped from the face of the earth.

The bish might argue that microbes are God’s creations as well but I don’t think that is what he meant.

People are happier, richer, healthier and live longer, more fulfilling lives than ever in history, thanks to these now widespread freedoms.

But all this counts for nothing compared to the sclerotic, anti democratic, freedom-killing monster that Brussles has become?

I have rarely heard anything more idiotic.

 

 

 

The End Of May?

Courtesy of the Daily Markle we read that the Cabinet have accepted the possibility of the UK remaining in the Customs Union beyond 2020:

Mrs May dismissed claims of an abject surrender after it emerged her ‘war Cabinet’ has signed off on an extension as part of a ‘backstop’ that would avoid a hard Irish border if no other solutions are found…Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are said to have raised objections to the idea – but were ‘outgunned’ by other ministers and reluctantly accepted defeat.

Basically that is all pretty predictable.  May has been conceding ground to the EU team from the start.  Some people choose to interpret that as Mrs May’s strategy failing.

The view from Castello Italicus though is that far from failing, from the point of view of Number 10, the Civil Service and Brussels, everything is going swimmingly.

Starting from the supposition that May (a through and through remainer from the start) has been nobbled by the EU Commission, what she is doing is a perfect timewasting job to eat up the interval to when we arrive at Brexit day in no state to do anything at all other than plead to be allowed to stay in.

That is their plan and it is working.

All the time, energy and political capital they are wasting on bollocks customs plans and max fac shit they are not developing a proper workable EEA based exit, which always has been the only sensible approach, and which the EU dreads, for the obvious reason that it would be guaranteed to work (unlike all the other options) and we’d be miles better off and the EU would be fucked as a consequence.

It is time May was jettisioned. It’s the only way forward.

Boris and Gove have to see this, JRM surely does.  She must be out by the end of May (how very poetic!).

 

Nobody Expects The Spanish…

From the soft pinko rag formerly known proudly as the Torygraph (so in that they pretty well reflect the fortunes of the Party in fact) we read that the Spanish are girding their girly loins to throw a hissy fit about Gibraltar:

Negotiations over the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar are deadlocked on the issue of security at the territory’s airport … Sources on the UK and Gibraltar side of the negotiations said that Spain had touched a “red line” with its demands to have police stationed at the airport which is partially situated on a disputed isthmus that links the territory with mainland Spain.

Something that no sovereign territory would accept of course.

Apparently:

The issue of Gibraltar threatens to hold up any Brexit deal after the EU granted Spain a de facto veto over whether the Withdrawal Agreement applies to Gibraltar…Theresa May has promised Gibraltar will not be left out of the Withdrawal Agreement, giving Madrid strong negotiating leverage to extract concessions from Britain, including over joint control of the airport and creating a level-playing field on tax issues.

No that’s utter bollocks.

May will be out by then, we’ll be down to the short strokes soring our tailored-for-the-UK-EEA agreement, and there will be overwhelming support from the krauts and the frogs for us to tell the bloody Spanish (dear dear people of course, but for fuck’s sake) Government to Just Fuck Off.  Right Off.  Right Now.

 

Inching Towards A Way Out?

It has been said of the US Government that you can always rely on it to do the right thing, once it had exhausted all the alternatives.

Watching Mrs May’s bunch of intellectual cripples bumble around trying to square an impossible circle of their own creation, the best that we can hope for is that the same might eventually be true here.

The problem from the start has been one of a complete lack of leadership.  May came to office armed with a supreme ignorance of what it was she was expected to accomplish, and the confident swagger of one whose underlings have always been around to brush the accumulated shit resulting from errors of ignorance or  political expedience under strategically located carpets at least for long enough to allow her to move on to greater challenges.  Unfortunately for her, and us,  this is the most challenging task facing any UK premier since 1938/39 and her sound-bite based approach is simply not good enough.

As a result of Mrs May’s insistence that we leave the customs union and single market, which she and averybody else seem to conflate into a single entity they are overlooking the best possible solution to their woes.

It seems to be gradually dawning on the commentariat that the EEA would be the way out of our difficulties.

For many brexiteers this solution is derided as BRINO – Brexit In Name Only, but of course that is not the case.  Nobody thinks that Switzerland or Normay are in the EU in any sense at all.  Equally the idea that they are rule takers is nonsense as is the concept of “fax dimplomacy” – these were all insults hurled around in the primordial past before the referendum.  The details of an eventual EEA agreement for the UK would not be necessarily identical to those of Norway or CH as there is considerable scope for customisation.  An important advantage of rejoining EFTA (apart from not murdering our economy needlessly) would be that by doing so we would add very considerably to its political and economic weight which would lead to a massive improvement in decision making in many forums.

As an optimist I have always thought, right since the referendum and May’s idiotic first pronouncements, that we would eventually, around about two minutes to midnight, wake up to this solution.  It’s about five to now, and it is time to start selling this solution to a jaded public which is fed up of the transparent bollocks they’ve been tossed to date.

Peter Hitchens in the mail has seen it:

A tiny gleam of light in the endless, swirling, flatulent fog of the European debate: The possibility that Britain may remain inthe European Economic Area, so getting rid of three quarters of the EU’s laws, while not madly damaging its trade with EU countries, is still just about alive. One day, people will realise what a good idea this is.

 

And In Other News…

Going against the grain somewhat of the inevitable and of course monumentally tedious, hagiographic coverage of Harry’s forthcoming nuptials, we see that the impending bride’s brother has had the decency to remind His Royal Dimness of what many of us have suspected for some time:

36-year-old Meghan is a ‘jaded, shallow, conceited woman that will make a joke of you and the royal family heritage

Check!

He goes on:

As more time passes to your royal wedding, it became very clear that this is the biggest mistake in royal wedding history

Tell us something we didn’t know.

Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you.

or probably for any non-Hollywood A-lister

I’m confused why you don’t see the real Meghan that the whole world now sees

Good question:

Meghan’s attempt to act the part of a princess like a below C average Hollywood actress is getting old

Bingo!

I don’t know Harry of course but he seems a decent enough fellow.  Meghan is a pleasant looking squeeze.

But Harry for fuck’s sake the whole point about being (nearly) king is that you can fuck and forget!

A shag’s a shag, but as Bill Clinton could tell you, a good cigar is a smoke.

 

 

The Gathering Storm

Tim Newman has an exceedingly good post regarding the dangers posed by the abysmal performance of the police dealing with the naked threats of vengeance being made by the supposed family of dead burglar Henry Vincent.  

Such as this from the Mail:

A traveller who knew Vincent for years warned that the dead man’s relatives and friends were out for blood. He said: ‘They won’t get over a death of one of their own and they won’t rest until they get their revenge…‘They’ll go armed with whatever they’ve got – guns, knives, anything that they can lay their hands on. There is nothing that they won’t do to get their own back on this pensioner.’

The police have to get a grip on this before innocent blood is spilled.  The ramifications could be enormous if Mr Osborne-Brooks is hurt by these people.  So-called Travellers (Gyppoes or else Fecking Pikeys to the non-PC among us) have been stoking up resentment for years by their casual violence, thieving and apparent immunity from the decent people of this country, and the absolute reluctance of the police to engage them and protect the innocent and vulnerable who are regularly robbed and defrauded by the likes of the late and unlamented Mr Vincent only make matters worse.

There’s not much to add to Tim’s piece really except to note that, inevitably, the Mail have managed to find an angle regarding house prices:

Leading property expert Henry Pryor, who has been in the property business 34 years, said: ‘Inevitably house prices will be affected.

They never disappoint!