Labour leadership contest
Emily Thornberry, who may or may not go through to the actual election for Labour leader, makes some points about absentee landlords “from China” or wherever.
She is in a slightly embarrassing position, bearing in mind the news, a few years ago, that she herself (with her husband, a High Court judge) owns no less than 8 buy to let properties! True, she is making a different point here, but she is in a rather awkward position all the same.
As for the three others already in the race, Lisa Nandy made a perhaps correct but rather underwhelming point about “left behind” towns in the North;
Rebecca Long-Bailey says that “quality homes” should be built, saying (truly enough) that “Housing is a basic human right and we are not providing our people with that basic human right at the moment”; [The Guardian]
Keir Starmer “said that more houses were required at “rents and rates that people can actually afford”. He said overcrowding in London was having a negative impact on children’s learning and labelled the current situation “disgraceful”. “Don’t see it as a housing issue, see it as a much bigger social justice issue because that’s what it is,” Sir Keir said.” [The Guardian].
The points made by Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey were true in themselves, but we know that the UK population has grown by somewhere between 10 million and 15 million in only 20 years. Most of the growth has been the result of immigration (including births to immigrants). 15 million! Even if you were (generously) to assume as many as 5 persons per household, that works out at three million households! Yet not one of the Labour Party leadership contenders has flagged mass immigration even as a issue (except binned loudmouth Jess Phillips, who is stupid enough to think that mass immigration to the UK is and has been a wonderful bonus for the British people!).
Mass immigration to the UK, and births to those immigrants, poses an existential threat to the UK, not because these non-Brits are terrorists (relatively few are) but because the integrity (not only racial or ethnic, but also cultural) of the UK is strained now. Seriously strained.
It has got to the point where the System (and also the “anti-fascist” idiots etc) try to enforce the point of view that anyone with a British passport is “British” (and even “English”, “Scottish”, “Welsh”), when real British people do not accept that fiction. An example would be the black-clad “ISIS brides”: on paper, “British”, but in reality certainly not. It has put us in the position where British people have lost almost all sense of their own identity.
In fact, it may be that that scrabbling around for “identity” is one reason why there has grown up in recent decades some kind of near-obsession with how England (in particular), and as a sporting nation, is doing in football, cricket, rugby etc. Olympics too (under UK banner). Is it a wish for identity, however shallow?
Just watching The Andrew Marr Show. Impressions:
- Nigel Farage in a rather loud yellow silk tie quite like (maybe the same as) one I used to wear sometimes, years ago (I never wear —or have to wear— a collar and tie these days);
- Farage attempting to talk up Brexit Party as a living entity. How is that possible, after he stabbed all his candidates and members in the back at the height of the 2019 General Election campaign?
- Wuhan: what amazes me is how many UK, French, Australian, American persons have recently been in, or even been resident in, Wuhan. If I am honest, I have to admit ignorance as to Wuhan; I do not believe that I ever heard the name until the coronavirus struck; China does tend to amaze: 11 million people in Wuhan, yet it is merely the eleventh-largest Chinese city!
- Leo Varadkar, the “Irish” PM, says that an alleged diktat from Downing Street, forbidding UK diplomats from sitting next to EU diplomats, is “petty”. I have to agree, but that is what the EU itself did when it disagreed with the election of so-called “far right” politicians in Austria and Portugal a few years ago…;
- Sinn Fein apparently “second” in popularity in Eire (as I often call Ireland), where there will soon be a general election…Well, Marr said second, but the Irish press are saying that Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail are now level in support (24% each, with Fine Gael on 21%) https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/poll-puts-sinn-fein-level-with-fianna-fail-to-win-election-979234.html;
- Dominic Raab (a half-Jew) talking about the proposed immigration points system. All it means is that supposedly “qualified” persons, with a UK job offer at a —low-ish—salary level of about £26,000 pa (e.g. Indians who can work a computer, or who bought a degree somewhere), will come, with their extended families. Those who enter, and their children, will start to breed in the UK…this is a disaster about to happen; it has ruined parts of Australia (another “points system” country), by the way;
- John McDonnell playing (and describing himself as) the “elder statesman”. Ha ha! As I blogged after the election, when he was interviewed in his garden, he looked like nothing so much as a bemused pensioner, tipped out of his wheelchair and mugged;
- Why does Marr not ask John McDonnell why he and Corbyn (and all but about 4 “Labour” MPs) signed up to the fake “International Definition of Antisemitism” (which has been adopted by only a dozen or so countries in the world)? McDonnell has behaved as a doormat for the Jewish lobby for years; he obviously thought that the lobby would help him to become Labour leader. Ha ha! Bye!…
- McDonnell saying that all the Labour leadership candidates are “superb, fantastic…”. He’s a complete idiot! He even thinks that Dawn Butler might lead Labour!
- Marr a little too polite to McDonnell. After Leo Varadkar was asked about Sinn Fein about to overtake Fianna Fail and possibly form a government in Dublin, Marr could have asked McDonnell about his previous support for not only Sinn Fein but the Provisional IRA itself. Or would that be too edgy? Yes, McDonnell was pro-IRA long ago, but I bet that if I were on Marr, I would be asked about things I said back in the 1980s or 1970s…;
- Donald Tusk interviewed. He was born in 1957. He graduated in 1980. He came to prominence after 1990. What was he doing for the decade of the 1980s? His long Wikipedia entry says nothing about that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Tusk
The fake charity, “Campaign Against Antisemitism” [CAA] is at last being properly investigated, it seems. It is not charitable in any sense. It is a political pressure group which supports a foreign state (Israel). It is completely political. Its main office-holders have repeatedly been caught trolling (usually using pseudonyms) and offline stalking those they consider as enemies, particularly several women. The latest drunken Jewish triumphalist rant by one Joe Glasman (brother of “lord” Maurice Glasman of “Blue Labour”), posted on Twitter but deleted, is merely one of its latest excesses:
No discussion of the disastrous HS2 nonsense on Marr. £120 BILLION and it could be more! This was another of David Cameron-Levita’s failed policies. Just bite the bullet, cancel it, sack its people, then redirect some of the money to giving both the North of England and the rest of England better rail services, new less environmentally-destructive lines (such as ultralight trains, narrow-gauge, robot trains, inter-suburban trams etc).
High-speed trains are useful in countries which are large (eg France) or very large (such as China) or very long, such as Japan (the same is true of Chile, Russia, Australia, though none of those have high-speed rail).
Japan is 1,900 miles long and the two main islands and others are joined by rail and road tunnels. Even the largest island, Honshu, on its own, is over 800 miles long, i.e. far longer than the UK, and with a number of very large industrial and commercial cities. Japan is developing an ultra high speed maglev line on which trains will run at over 300 mph:
HS2 is just not useful for the UK, even discounting the environmental damage and the huge cost.
I have in the past generally been opposed to Sinn Fein and its military wing (the IRA), but the Troubles were some time ago now. At least the IRA were white Northern Europeans with vestiges of decency, unlike the ISIS barbarians and other enemies of Western culture and life.
I see that Sinn Fein are the likely victors in the current Irish General Election. That being so, and in the spirit of diplomacy…
…and here’s one specially for John McDonnell!
The Jews I met at an oasis
A random tweet just reminded me of when I met a group of Jews in a desert oasis. It happened like this: I was in Egypt for several months in the winter of 1997-1998. I started off in charming Aswan, spent a week or two under canvas in a then-remote part of the Red Sea coast, and then a month or so in Alexandria (an experience recounted, in part, here: https://ianrmillard.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/when-i-was-not-arrested-in-egypt/).
I left Alexandria to visit the remote oasis of Siwa, in the Western Desert not very far from Libya and South West of the Qattara Depression and only a mile or two from the first great dunes of the Great Sea of Sand:
I lived for a month, maybe longer, in a kind of small concrete chalet in the garden of the very small hotel I used. The hotel garden was sand but planted with closely-situated date palms. I discovered that dry date palm fronds, fallen from the trees, burn easily. Thus I inadvertently started a “tradition” of having a fire around which people gathered and talked in the cool of the evening.
Most visitors to the oasis would arrive on the one bus (a luxury Mercedes coach) in early evening, stay only one or two nights, then return to Alexandria (an 8-hour journey via Marsa Matruh on the coast). By the time I left, I had spent at least a month there and was the longest-resident foreigner save for a Finnish person who did Tai Chi on the flat roof of the hotel (well, maybe you have to be a little unusual to stay long at Siwa!) and an Anglican nun who wanted to set up a Christian centre there (not a very good idea even if the authorities approved it, which was almost inconceivable). Turned out that she knew a man who had tried (unsuccessfully) to teach me Physics when I was at school in the early 1970s. Small world.
I met a number of mostly young people there. I myself was an arguably youthful 41. Apart from the Finn and the English nun, I recall quite a few others who stayed at the oasis for longer than average. Some were more eccentric than others.
There was an odd young man from somewhere near Lancaster. When in the UK, he lived in a caravan on a red squirrel conservancy and had inherited a small legacy (£12,000, I think) from his grandmother. He had lived for eight years on that, in India. He said that India was both cheaper and dirtier than Egypt. I found both statements hard to believe.
Another oddity, also English, was someone about 28, whom I at first took to be some sort of evangelical Christian, but who in fact was a militant atheist. Very militant. He had bicycled across vast expanses (including the Kazakh steppe), using a specially-built bicycle which had water storage inside its frame. He had cycled from Alexandria and was planning to cycle from Siwa to the next oasis, Bahariya, a journey of some 250 miles to the East, on a desert road used only by occasional Egyptian Army patrols, perhaps once weekly. Not a good place to get a flat or run out of water. I wonder whether he made it.
One young lady, a very attractive French girl from Rennes, the capital of Brittany, was rather interested in me, but had a boyfriend with her, a rather pleasant fellow from Montpelier, so our animated conversations did not lead anywhere, or any further…
We temporary “local expats” would eat such as molokhiya, a rather slimy but oddly tasty soup made mainly from green vegetables (jute leaves); more often we might have falafel, and maybe drink helba, a kind of yellow-green herbal tea made from fenugreek (Siwa was dry in both senses).
So what about those Jews? They were tourists from Israel, travelling in a group. Students. There seemed to be about 8 of them. None of them seemed to be overtly attached. The girls were quiet, pleasant, modest; the boys slightly less quiet. Only one was extremely unpleasant, a transplanted New York Jew aged about 25, with beard and carrying at all times a thick and obviously unread paperback about “the holocaust”. I cannot recall the exact title, something about the SS and “holocaust”. This particular Jew was studying at some university at Jerusalem and within minutes had marked me as a probable enemy! My copy of Alan Clark’s Barbarossa probably triggered his interest.
The others in that Israeli group, in discussion with other tourists (including my French “girlfriend” who never became a girlfriend), seemed to be reasonable in that they were not looking for war with the Arab world, but of course the unspoken elephant in the room was the historical basis: the migration of millions of Jews to British Mandate Palestine and later Israel, which displaced the previous occupants.
Still, in that milieu, by the “camp-fire”, one could briefly believe in an Arab-Israeli concordat. Only the presence, at times, of the American Jew Zionist fanatic, disturbed that pacific fantasy. He personified the Zionist fanatics who never quite get around to moving permanently from New York, Los Angeles or London to “Eretz Israel”, yet they are the ones who, as much or more than the “native” Israelis, push the hardline Zionist agenda. Look at the recent film featuring the former heads of MOSSAD, Shin Beth etc. They seem, in principle, less warlike than both the American (etc) “diasporic” Jew fanatics and Israel’s own political leaders.
[I am going to post that reminiscence separately as well]
A quiet end to the day