The above version recorded only a decade before the Soviet Union collapsed…
This week, political journalist John Rentoul managed to tie with me. 7/10. Well done.
I did not know the answers to questions 3 and 10, and the answer to question 5 slipped my mind (well, after all, he is hardly Maurice Oldfield…).
On this day a year ago
A preliminary look at the upcoming Erdington by-election
The sitting MP for Birmingham Erdington, Jack Dromey, having died, there will be a by-election at some point, probably in March or April.
I shall blog in detail later, when the candidates have been declared. For the moment, it is possible to sketch only outlines.
Birmingham Erdington is considered a safe Labour seat, though not quite rock-solid now. The last non-Labour candidate was elected in 1936 (Conservative Party).
The lowest Labour vote since 1983 was recorded in 2010 (41.8%). However, that vote increased to 45.6% in 2015, then 58% in 2017, before slipping back a little to 50.3% in 2019. Dromey was first elected in 2010.
As for the Conservative Party vote-share, its high-water mark was back in 1931 (68.1%). It was closest to success (since the pre-WW2 era) in 1983, when Labour, with 39.8%, narrowly beat the Conservative candidate (39.2%), a majority of only 231 votes.
During the Blair era, the Conservative vote slumped well below 30%, but has recovered since: 32.6 % in 2010, 30.8% in 2015, 38.4% in 2017, and 40.1% in 2019.
In 2019, Brexit Party put up a candidate who scored 4.1%. While one cannot say that that 4.1% would otherwise have voted Con, it is more likely than not, putting the Conservatives maybe within a couple of points of Labour. However, recent opinion polling has shown that Conservative Party support, nationwide, has been sliding.
The potential level for any social-national candidate is hard to gauge, but in view of the fact that there presently exists no credible social-national party in the UK, my assessment of the likelihood even of a saved deposit for any candidate of that type is low. The BNP achieved 5.1% and a saved deposit in 2010, and achieved that, moreover, despite the existence of both UKIP (2.4%) and National Front (0.6%) candidates. Had only the BNP stood, then it is possible that its vote might have totalled over 8%, and —who knows?— even over 10%. Still modest, of course.
UKIP, not social-national but somewhat (conservative-) nationalist, achieved a creditable third place on 17.4% of the votes cast in 2015.
This is not Liberal Democrat territory. The LibDems have lost their deposit in every election since 2010 (16.2%).
I imagine that the by-election will attract a host of minor and joke candidates.
In years past, there would been little point in blogging about a by-election such as this. However, this time it is worth speculating about, and then seeing the result. The interest lies in seeing whether former Labour voters’ apathy, and/or dislike of Keir Starmer and/or Labour generally (with its pro-mass immigration stance and “Covid” obsession) can result in a great upset.
Labour is sliding fast in the affections of the voters, but so is the Conservative Party, which talks big on immigration yet not only does nothing to stop it but is actually inviting millions of Hong Kong Chinese to live here, is inviting tens of thousands of Afghans to live here, and has done absolutely nothing to prevent the cross-Channel migration-invasion.
This looks like being a straight Conservative-Labour fight. I cannot see the LibDems mounting a successful third-party bid. At the moment, I should say that Labour are still favourites, but only just. I do not rule out an upset.
Labour Party in the Cold War
I am reading Against the Cold War; the nature and traditions of pro-Soviet sentiment in the British Labour Party 1945-89, by one Darren G. Lilleker.
A fairly interesting book-length study (a doctoral thesis), but I have already found flaws in the bit I have read so far, such as:
“Lee, identified as Will Owen, was solely
interested in financial reward. According to [Josef] Frolik he demanded free holidays and money
and in return passed information of the “highest importance.,… This description of Owen
seems somewhat dubious, Owen was not party to important information, and the fact that
he was acquitted from a treason charge on the 9th May 1970 substantiates these doubts.”
Well, Owen was tried at the Bailey, true, but not on a charge of treason (in the strict legal sense). The charge was one of “communicating secrets” contrary to the Official Secrets Act.
A basic error like that is not one that I should expect to see in the thesis of a Ph.D. candidate, frankly. There are already noticed one or two similar errors. Also, one is acquitted of (or maybe on) a charge, not “from“. Also, it is claimed, in the thesis, that the MP John Stonehouse was engaging in homosexual behaviour (which laid him open to blackmail by Czech Intelligence, though his main motivation for spying was financial).
The money aspect, yes, but is the other true, or not? Wikipedia mentions nothing of it [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stonehouse]. There have been two books on Stonehouse published in the past year; neither (judging from reviews) mentions the “gay” allegations.
Still, I am continuing to read Lilleker’s thesis, which I am finding interesting, overall.
Addendum: the thesis was successful, and the candidate got his (2001) Ph.D. Twenty years on, that candidate is Professor Lilleker of Bournemouth University, no less: https://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/dlilleker#overview; https://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/dlilleker#affiliations.
As for the thesis, it was published as a book, apparently (in 2004): https://staffprofiles.bournemouth.ac.uk/display/dlilleker#publications. I see that used copies in hardback (I rarely buy paperbacks) are as little as £3 on Amazon. I may buy one.
Incidentally, I blogged briefly about Stonehouse last year, when the books about him came out: https://ianrobertmillard.org/2021/07/17/diary-blog-17-july-2021/.
“Intensive care doctor tells Sajid Javid: this is why I’m refusing the Covid vaccine“
“Steve James, of King’s College Hospital, said Health Secretary didn’t seem to agree that he had immunity from being ‘antibody’ positive.”
“Mr James told the PA news agency he did not believe Covid-19 was causing “very significant problems” for young people, adding that his patients in the ICU had been “extremely overweight” with multiple other co-morbidities.“
Cummings, about whom I blogged a few times, is making himself look silly now. As to Boris-idiot, it is hard to think that he could be made to look sillier…(actually, thinking about it, the same could be said of Cummings).
See also: https://ianrobertmillard.org/2020/01/03/dominic-cummings-a-government-of-dystopia-and-lunacy-posing-as-genius/; and https://ianrobertmillard.org/2019/08/10/les-eminences-grises-of-dystopia/.
I should like to believe that the British public would do better, but I do wonder…in the new multikulti “British” land, ignorance is bliss, quite often.
Were we in the USA, we might know a great deal about the composition of the jury, and also about why the jurors decided the matter thus, but since the passing of the Juries Act 1974 [as amended], most of that is not permitted: see https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/23/section/20D#:~:text=%5BF120DOffence%3A%20disclosing%20jury’s%20deliberations&text=(2)A%20person%20guilty%20of,a%20fine%20(or%20both).
My guess? Most of the jury was composed of a mixture of blacks, other non-Europeans, and persons of a generally Labour Party bent. There was no need for a majority direction from the trial judge, so either all jurors voted for acquittal, or most did and the few preferring conviction changed their minds and went along with that.
That Jew should [redacted]…
Of course, I saw through Boris Johnson long ago, about 20 years ago. Unfortunately, I am forced by Fate to be merely (at least so far) a private citizen-blogger. Frankly, and if I myself say it that shouldn’t, I would be a far better head of government than Boris Johnson. Admittedly, many people might echo my words, and with justice.
I was not intending to blog about the present upheaval in Kazakhstan. It is —tempus fugit!— now 24 years since I lived there (I was there for a year), and I have already blogged about some aspects of my own time there, en passant, several times. However, a few words…
Kazakhstan, when I went there, was all but unknown to the UK public. Even educated members of the Bar whom I knew asked “where exactly is that?” when I said that I would be living there.
Despite being the 9th-largest state in the world, more than 11x the size of the whole UK, Kazakhstan was almost invisible to most British people. That is less true today, though most people still know little about it.
At one time, from the 1920s to the early 1990s, Kazakhstan’s population was 20%-45% Russian, peaking at well over 40% in the 1970s. Even when I was there (1996-97), Russians were over 30% of the population, and probably more in the then capital and largest city, Almaty, where I lived.
By reason of Stalin’s mass deportations from other areas of the Soviet Union, there were numerous other ethnic groups in Kazakhstan up until the 1990s (they are still there but in far smaller numbers): Volga Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, Crimean Tartars, Turks and Koreans (former residents of Soviet areas bordering those countries) etc. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan#Demographics.
In the 1990s, Russians started to leave, as “Kazakhization” proceeded. Jews left for Israel. Germans left for Germany. Kazakhstan is now about 65%-70% Kazakh.
Russians were the backbone of Kazakhstan as a civilized and advanced country. The Kazakhs I myself met were (mostly) very pleasant, tolerant people, but badly-led and, after all, basically non-European. Before the late 19th Century, Kazakhs were still all nomadic. Most of them still were as late as the 1930s.
Russia gave the Kazakhs everything modern, from roads and rail, and medical services, and cities, to nuclear poison and labour camps…a mixed picture…
Kazakhstan was once called, informally —and dangerously—, Kazekstan, “zek” being a slang term for a prisoner.
The Russians, in the 19thC, established a fort at a place in the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains, a place they called Verny. There was founded a small town, later called Alma-Ata (“Father of Apples” in Kazakh). When I lived there, there were still a few small apple orchards in the hills within the city limits rapidly being developed into residential and office neighbourhoods.
Alma-Ata became (I have no idea why) “Almaty”, a name both Russians and Kazakhs found odd and somehow funny (they told me).
The few at the top after 1991 effectively stole everything, something that was obvious to me when I lived there. The “elected” dictator, Nazarbaev (resigned recently), was, even in 1996, said (by Fortune magazine) to be the 5th-wealthiest individual on Earth. The oil and gas and other riches under the ground went mainly to him and then to his clan, family, friends and contacts (and to Western oil, gas, and mining companies). Nazarbaev was the first Kazakh leader (even in Soviet times) who had no descent from Genghiz Khan; he was never fully accepted by many Kazakhs.
The Soviet government had tried, in the late 1980s, to install a non-Kazakh, a Russian, as leader. Riots killed hundreds.
I am sorry to see the bloodshed in Kazakhstan, but the country needs a new start.
Look who’s talking! US forces came to the UK by invitation in 1942, but never left! There are still strategically-significant American forces in the UK, not only air force contingents and actual US air bases, but Navy and Army, as well as smaller forces such as NSA, CIA and even US Coastguard (in London, of all places! I was talked with one of their officers).
(When the USA seized the gold reserves of the defeated state of Iraq).
Lenin would rotate in his grave, if he had one! Ha ha!
(nb: Russian Christmas is later than that celebrated in the UK, USA etc, because the Russian Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar).
That is mainly because Europe, particularly Western Europe, is infested.
I have no idea who that rather unattractive airhead is, but the frightening thing is that idiots like that do actually speak for at least a significant minority of the UK population, and that fact is one reason why the secret cabals and ruling circles are not finding it too difficult to drag this country into a future which is already beginning to look like a dystopian nightmare.
I never chose it… I never chose it!
“I never had a choice” [Nietzsche, Also Sprach Zarathustra]
Whatever happens (or is said to have happened) with “Omicron”, the “panicdemic” narrative will continue to be pushed. The endgame has nothing to do with public heath, and certainly nothing to do with any supposed huge “danger” to the public, or the world. It is all to do with the next stage in the conspiracy— the microchipping of effectively the entire population of the world.
Looking at the film (from 1974, though the music dates from 1959), no-one in that film could have imagined that the DDR/East Germany would pass into history only 15 years (officially 16) later. Even when I spent a couple of days in the DDR in 1988, the regime seemed to be in full control, though there was to me a strange feeling about the place (I was in the seemingly almost depopulated Southwest and Southeast), a feeling that —despite all the trappings of a state— this was a kind of facade. I suppose that the feeling might be summed up as “where are all the people?”…
We imagine that a set-up like the UK will go on almost forever, and certainly not disappear or be radically changed within a few years. I’m not so sure of that.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones, and I myself could certainly benefit from some weight loss, but truth is truth…
…and just in the past day or so I have seen one newspaper report about a working nurse forced to sleep in her car because she is “not a housing priority“, and another about an elderly Englishman who froze to death in a doorway because the local council would not help him, yet all stops are pulled out for these backward, useless untermenschen, who are invaders.
I am not usually favourable towards mob rule etc, but Macron should be dealt with in the way tyrants have been for millennia.
Ironic. Had I been Hitler, or in Hitler’s position, I would have done whatever was necessary to secure the future of the European peoples.