The Establishment’s attacks on UKIP are doomed to backfire

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By “the Establishment” I don’t, of course, mean the toffee-nosed, elitist right-wing conspiracy which exists largely in the perfervid imaginations of Russell Brand and Owen Jones.

I mean the new progressive Establishment which has dominated the cultural and political argument since at least the Blair era: the quangos, the seats of academe, the politically correct corporatists, the Eurocrats, the congenitally bien-pensant luvvies, the liberal media from the Guardian to the BBC, the charities, the identikit politicos in the Westminster bubble. They want to destroy UKIP not out of high principle but simply because it represents such a threat to the communitarian status quo. Here are some examples.

The Electoral Commission

In Standpoint Nigel Vinson tells the full, shocking story of how the Electoral Commission deprived UKIP of two MEP seats in the European elections in May – essentially by rigging the ballot paper.

A hitherto unknown party calling itself An Independence From Europe was allowed by the Electoral Commission onto the top of the ballot paper – and went on to claim nearly a quarter of a million votes from confused people who had almost certainly meant to vote UKIP.

The seats went to Green MEPs instead. At the time UKIP didn’t make a big deal of this, presumably because it didn’t want to sound petulant at a moment when it needed to sound exultant. But what happened here was the most extraordinary miscarriage of justice, perpetrated by a supposedly neutral, independent regulatory body which is clearly riddled with bias and is unfit for purpose.

Stand-up comics (aka The Wankocracy)

In the old days, on the Eighties alternative comedy circuit, all someone like Ben Elton would have to do was mention the words “Margaret Thatcher” – or even just “Thatch!” – for their audience to dissolve in smug, consensual, righteously scornful laughter.

Now this role as the butt of every second-rate lefty comic’s crap jokes has been taken over by UKIP. “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally it means they have not a single political argument left,” Baroness Thatcher once said. As her most plausible current heir, Nigel Farage should find this heartening.

The European Parliament

Last week in Strasbourg, the European parliament’s arch-federalist political establishment rigged the rules and gamed the system in a dirty tricks measure which could almost have destroyed UKIP. Christopher Booker tells the story here:

Ever since Ukip last May won 24 seats, the Parliament’s Euro-elite – led by its German president Martin Schulz, the arch-federalist once famously compared by Silvio Berlusconi to a Nazi concentration camp commandant – has been longing to cut Mr Farage down to size. Last week Mr Schulz thought his moment had come. When an obscure Latvian MEP was persuaded to defect from Farage’s group, it meant that it no longer included representatives of seven countries, the minimum qualification to be recognised as an official parliamentary group.

Mr Schulz triumphantly announced that the group was thus disbanded, which would have been for Mr Farage and his colleagues an utter disaster.

Under new rules introduced by Mr Schulz, not only would they instantly have to vacate their plush offices, losing the services of some 40 administrative staff and £13 million in cash and kind, Mr Farage would also have to retire to the back benches, no longer able to make those speeches at the front of the Parliament that have earned him millions of hits on YouTube, such as that in which he told Herman Van Rompuy that he had “the charisma of a damp rag”.

Scarcely had Mr Schulz exulted at his triumph over the hated Eurosceptics, however, than the group recruited a Polish MEP to make up the numbers again. Despite attempts to discredit this man as a “Holocaust denier”, because his party leader back in Poland once questioned whether Hitler knew about Auschwitz (Farage’s new colleague merely described Hitler as “an evil man”), Mr Schulz soon found himself having to call Farage back to the rostrum as if nothing had happened.

What’s almost as interesting as Schulz’s plot – and how close it came to succeeding – has been the way the story has been reported across the media. Had these dirty tricks been applied to any other mainstream party, the stink would have been enormous.

Instead, even in supposedly conservative newspapers, reports focused not on the monstrousness of Schulz’s wicked, blatantly anti-democratic scheming but on the essentially trivial views of some Polish nobody from a party with whom it was perfectly clear Farage had got into bed out of pure pragmatism rather than deep ideological kinship.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Eight lessons we won’t learn from Afghanistan…

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1. Never invade Afghanistan

This was Britain’s fourth war in Afghanistan – and really the lesson should have been learned after the first one in 1842 when at least 16,000 British servicemen, women, children were butchered, froze to death, or were captured on the ignominious retreat from Kabul.

The point about the Afghans – and if the British imperial experience didn’t remind us of this, the more recent Soviet one should have done – is that war is their national sport and they will always win in the end. As the Taliban famously boast: “You have the watches. We have the time.”

2. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them

Sherard Cowper-Coles, from 2007 to 2009 Britain’s ambassador in Kabul, recently recalled how British troops clearing IEDs and mines from the roadsides in Helmand province would occasionally unearth the bleached bones of their Victorian predecessors from the First and Second Afghan Wars.

The British may not have known much about Helmand when they were arrived, but the Afghans have never forgotten its significance: it was the location of another of their greatest victories over the British – the Battle of Maiwand in 1880 when Ayub Khan defeated a brigade under General Burrows.

3. Afghanistan was always a Pakistan v India proxy war and we got caught in the middle

It goes back at least as far as the Soviet invasion when India, then a client state of the Soviet Union, supported the Russians while Pakistan created and launched the Taliban to oppose them. But the tensions go right back to Partition and Pakistan’s fear that one day its giant neighbour will seek to destroy it. Afghanistan has long been seen by Pakistan as its place of final retreat and has therefore always sought to guarantee a pro-Pakistani regime in Kabul. India, meanwhile, has been using the Afghan conflict to destabilise its old enemy.

After 9/11 Pakistan claimed to have changed sides and it suited the US under President George W Bush to claim it as his principal regional ally in the War on Terror. But this was never more than a convenient fiction. As a US intelligence officer quoted in the BBC’s Afghanistan: The Lion’s Last Roar pointed out: “The President had said that he looked into [Pakistan president] Musharraf’s eye’s and found an ally. He couldn’t now come out and say: ‘Well actually, they are the Taliban’s number one supporter.'”

4. Britain’s generals are at least as bad – if not worse – than the ones in the First and Second World Wars. They could even give the ones responsible for Crimea a run for their money.

Essentially the recent Afghan war was created by and for the British army – as a budget- and skin-saving exercise. It needed a purpose after its failure in the Iraq debacle – culminating in its humiliating retreat from Basra airport. Afghanistan was sold to the British government by the military as a “good war” in which the Army could play to its strengths, established from Malaya through to Northern Ireland, as a peace-keeping/counter-insurgency force.

In one tiny respect this plan, cooked up by the Army’s generals, succeeded: Afghanistan gave the Army more intense and extensive combat experience than it has had since the Korean war. But this came at a terrible cost which should have been foreseen from the start.

Arguably the general most culpable for this is General Dannatt, Chief of General Staff from 2006 to 2009. He told the BBC documentary:

Looking back we probably should have realised, maybe I should realised, that the circumstances in Iraq were such that the assumption that we would get down to just 1,000 or 1,500 soldiers by summer 2006 was flawed – it was running at many thousands.

We called it the perfect storm, because we knew that we were heading for two considerable size operations and we really only had the organisation and manpower for one.

And therefore perhaps we should have revisited the decision that we the UK would lead an enlarged mission in southern Afghanistan in 2006. Perhaps we should have done that. We didn’t do that.

But this should have been perfectly clear at the time, not with hindsight. Even back then – and certainly more so as a result of the extensive cuts since – the British army has neither the manpower nor the materiel to fight two wars simultaneously. It was utterly irresponsible of Dannatt to try to draw down Britain’s military presence in Iraq at the very time the insurgency was getting more intense.

Nor did Britain have the strength to control Helmand province, the most volatile and warlike in all Afghanistan. The notion that it did – initially with a force of perhaps 300 actual combat troops – was just a joke.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

The problem with Owen Jones…

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Say what you like about Owen Jones – it’s not like he’ll notice: he will long since have blocked you on Twitter – but he makes the most admirably formidable performer in TV and radio debates.

Fluent, brilliant at interrupting, apparently well-informed, unfailingly polite in the green room, and possessed of an undeniably cute, startled-bushbaby charm, the boy Owen has become the go-to left-winger of choice for all the BBC’s myriad political programmes. And the more often he does it (which is every hour God sends, basically), the better he gets. Is it any wonder that those of us who have to do battle with him approach our encounters with a certain trepidation?

But Owen Jones has a chink in his armour – and it has been cruelly exposed in a series of tweets by spy author and investigative blogger Jeremy Duns. Basically, Jones has been caught out playing fast and loose with his killer “facts” in his bestselling new book The Establishment.

One killer fact, which Jones has been repeating quite a bit on his promotional tours, is the amazing statistical revelation that “…According to a 2012 study, forty-six of the top fifty publicly traded firms in the UK had a British parliamentarian as either a director or a shareholder. This figure – 92 per cent of such businesses – was higher than for any of the forty-seven other nations investigated, with the next-ranked developed nation being Italy, at just 16 per cent of such businesses.”

It’s amazing not least because it’s completely untrue. As Duns goes on painstakingly to demonstrate by referring to the original study quoted by Jones.

Problem number one: It doesn’t say “forty-six of the top fifty”. It says 46 per cent of the top 50. So Jones’s misreading of the report has exaggerated the problem he describes by 100 per cent.

Problem number two. The study wasn’t as recent as 2012 (though presumably it may have suited Jones to overlook this detail to make his research look more up-to-the-minute) but dated back to 2004.

So, as Duns notes, Jones’s “92 percent from a 2012 study is actually 46 percent from a 2004 study. Very different things, these.”

Indeed. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh? Jones certainly hasn’t. This fake statisticoid has made its way into a number of promotional speeches he has given on the subject, including one at the London School of Economics (where it was enthusiastically tweeted by Bonnie Greer – and then retweeted 588 times by others), one to Channel 4 news, and one to a left-wing vlogger called Artist Taxi Driver.

There’s plenty more where this came from.

Here, for example, is what Jones says in his Introduction to the book:

“The legacy of centuries of aristocratic power has not vanished, though: more than a third of British and Welsh land – and over 50 per cent of rural land – remains in the hands of just 36,000 aristocrats.”

Jones gives the source as Country Life.

But when you go to the source what it actually says is:

“Indeed, the 36,000 members of the CLA own about 50 per cent of the rural land in England and Wales.”

Do you see the difference?

Jones apparently couldn’t. (Or, as above, perhaps it suited him not to). But the difference is that the 36,000 members of the CLA – aka the Country Land and Business Association – are not all aristocrats. Indeed, most probably only a minority of them are. Anyone can join the CLA, simply by paying the membership fee.

But obviously if you’re engaged in class war and toff bashing “36,000” is a lot more exciting a figure to quote than whatever the tiny real number is.

Let me give one more small example, quoted here by Michael Ezra:

He provides an unsourced 1970s quote from Harold Lever. When, post-publication, he was asked for a source, he claims it came from an interview with Neil Kinnock. It is at no point clear that this quote is based on a decades-later recollection from someone else.

Now individually these instances of sloppiness may seem no big deal. But cumulatively, they raise serious doubts about the credibility of both Jones and his thesis. If you’re going to write a book which rides your hobby horse that the Establishment is basically a free market, right-wing plot against the ordinary working man, the very least you owe your readers is to give your slipshod thesis a veneer of plausibility by providing some concrete, fact-checkable examples of what you mean.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Eight more good reasons to loathe and despise Russell Brand

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Russell Brand – soap-dodger, lech, former husband of the infinitely more talented Katy Perry – is the most irritating person on earth. This much we knew. But I don’t think any of us realised just HOW irritating till his most recent appearance on BBC Newsnight last night in which, besides revealing himself to be a 9/11 Truther, he also emerged as a preening, ignorant, manipulative bully with disturbing communist and Islamist tendencies.

If you haven’t watched the segment yet then don’t. Really, don’t. I’ve done it for you and the horror will haunt me for weeks.

1. Russell Brand is a 9/11 truther.

Asked by interviewer Evan Davis about the suggestion in his new book Revolution that the destruction of the Twin Towers looked like “controlled explosion”, Brand became characteristically evasive.

Davis: “Do you think that the Twin Towers were destroyed by agents of the American government?”

Brand: “You can read the book in whatever manner you would like to.”

Pressed by Davis, Brand then went on:

“I think it is interesting at this time when we have so little trust in our political figures, where ordinary people have so little trust in their media, we have to remain open-minded to any kind of possibility.”

2. Brand is an Islamist shill

Davis: “Most people would argue that it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone other than Al Qaeda destroyed that building.”

Brand: “What I do think is very interesting is the relationship that the Bush family have had for a long time with the Bin Laden family. What I do think is very interesting is the way that even the BBC report the events in Ottawa to subtly build an anti-Islamic narrative. I think that’s very interesting.”

3. Brand can’t see a stick without grabbing the wrong end

In a rant on energy, Brand describes a Britain in which “energy companies are subsidised by taxes while renewable energy is ignored.”

Er, Russell, renewable energy is the energy form most heavily subsidised by taxes – and precisely because, far from being ignored, it is being incentivised by government regulation.

4. Brand is all mouth and no trousers

A “Pope is Catholic” point, I know. But it really was quite extraordinary the lengths to which Brand went to avoid discussing something he had written in his book and which was then quoted by Davis: “Let’s kill General Motors. Let’s take it back from the shareholders, scribble out the name and the logo and let’s use its resources for something more valuable.”

If Brand is prepared to type this tripe and then benefit from it financially as herds of Occupy-style idiots rush to buy his book, why is he so unwilling to justify his position?

5. Economics to Brand is like garlic to a vampire.

Davis gently pointed out one of the flaws in Brand’s ‘argument’ on General Motors.

“Do you know who owns it?” he asked. “The United Autoworkers’ Union owns a chunk; the Canadian government owns a chunk…”

Brand’s response was akin to Damien’s in Omen II when his parents try to take him into a church.

And if you thought that was bad, you should have seen how Brand reacted when Davis tried to show him a graph.

“I ain’t got time for a bloody graph”, he said.

6. Brand is a demagogue in the tradition of Alex Salmond, Hugo Chavez, Che Guevara.

Never mind the fine details, just keep repeating the slogans, keep intoning the boo words and the mob will love you for it.

Brand: “Evan are you seriously telling me that corporations like Monsanto and Pfizer…” (turns sidewise to appeal to imaginary audience of approving listeners: Brand uses this technique A LOT) “…are operating on behalf of us ordinary people.”

Davis never said this. He never even implied it. But this doesn’t bother Brand. What matters is that he can slip in the names of companies he knows his target audience hate.

Warming to his theme, he subsequently attacks “corporations like Vodafone, Amazon, Google that don’t pay their taxes.”

This, as Brand knows, is Occupy gold.

Read the other reasons – including 7 which is the best – at Breitbart London

The meaning of life is foxhunting

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I have fallen in love with an unsuitable male. My wife isn’t totally happy about this relationship because she recognises how dangerous it is. The problem with Eddie is that his vices are my vices. He’s reckless, an adrenaline junkie who likes always to be up front. Really, a most unsuitable companion for a skinny, breakable family man fast approaching 50.

And did I mention how expensive he is? It’s as bad as having a high-class mistress or a serious cocaine habit, but I’m powerless to resist. I love hunting. I love my mount Eddie Stobart. When I’m riding to hounds, all my worldly cares vanish. It makes me feel like I’ve finally discovered the point of existence. Tragic, isn’t it?

It’s tragic because I know I could quite easily die — or worse. And also because I can’t afford it. A day out with my local hunt, with hireling, will set you back around £300. But really, if you want to get any good at it — which I do, so as to improve my chances of not breaking my neck — you want to be going out at least twice a week. It’s at times like this that you learn seriously to regret those early career choices. If I’d gone into the City and made my fortune, maybe I could have retired early and spent the rest of my days doing what I was really born to do: being a Master of Foxhounds, of course.

The thing I like about hunting is — well, lots of things, actually. But definitely it starts with the horse. I’ve never hitherto thought of myself as a particularly horsey person. As a child I found the local hunt set desperately intimidating. There was a hunting family down the road from us who I always got the impression seriously looked down on Delingpoles. We were just jumped-up Midlands industrialists. They were proper country folk. This hurt. And maybe that’s where it all started. I wanted to show that we were just as good as them.

Still, it would be years before I got the horse bug. I had lessons over the years — at school and later in my university vacations, when I was taught by James Hewitt’s sister Caroline and lusted, fruitlessly, after her stable girls. But the horses were just a means to an end rather than the thing itself: big, intractable, scary beasts with kicking feet and biting mouths and heads that kept yanking sharply forwards so that the reins cut into the tender bits between your frozen fingers.

This is often the way with riding-school horses. Bored and desensitised by having to indulge far too many novices, they rarely do what you want, because they just can’t be arsed. And it’s always your fault, supposedly. You’re not kicking hard enough. But you can’t kick any harder because your leg muscles have collapsed. It’s no wonder so many boys (girls are different: for girls, horses aren’t poor man’s motorbikes but surrogate boyfriends) give up riding before they get any good at it.

Read the rest at The Spectator

Prison sentences for Twitter trolls will only encourage the professional victim class’s sense of grievance and entitlement

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Yesterday on Twitter someone publicly declared that I not only had no brains but no balls either. This remark went to the very heart of my male pride and cut me so deeply that I think I may face sleepless nights, the end of my sex drive and possibly the ruination of my entire career.

Or at least that’s what I’d tell the court were I of a vindictive disposition and minded to take revenge on my Twitter persecutor with one of those handy new, two-year sentences being proposed for “internet abuse” by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

What Grayling doesn’t seem to appreciate is that such a measure, if introduced, will open the floodgates for any number of vexatious lawsuits pursued by the burgeoning victim class in our grisly modern culture of professional offence-taking.

There are some people out there whose careers have been built almost entirely on the publicity and sisterly solidarity they have managed to glean by goading the more unhinged kind of male into saying hideous things about them on Twitter, then squealing about how hurt and threatened they have been made to feel. Do we really want to amplify the strident, self-important voices of these Social Justice Warrior harpies any more than they have been already?

This isn’t to defend the idiot blokes who make threats on Twitter; merely to note that if we really are to insist that more police and court time is to be wasted trying to track down and punish people who say horrid things on social media, then there will be unintended consequences which we may come to regret.

Indeed, we already have several examples of how things can go wrong.

One of the worst was the case of the Twitter joke trial of Paul Chambers, who lost his job and was fined by the court for a jokey Tweet he’d sent after snow had shut his local airport.

It said:

‘Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together otherwise I am blowing the airport sky high!!’

Only after the case had been appealed to the High Court did our justice system finally see sense and admit what should have been perfectly obvious from the start: that the Tweet was just the kind of silly thing people say on Twitter all the time with no intention of being taken seriously.

Yet for far too long it suited the system to pretend otherwise. The police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the duty manager for security at Robin Hood Airport were indulged by the courts in their ludicrous claims that this poor man’s Tweet represented a credible threat. Never mind commonsense. Never mind Chambers’s career and livelihood. That tweet – or so the magistrate’s court which heard the case first decided – was “clearly threatening” and airport staff had been concerned about it, therefore a crime had been committed under the 2003 Communications Act, and a fine, costs and “victim surcharge” must be imposed.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

From Farage to Freud: how the cultural Marxists are murdering our language

0803_freespeech_630x420The other day on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, I made a point which unfortunately went right over the heads of my booing audience. It had to do with the way lefties like my fellow panelists Chuka Umunna MP and TUC leader Frances O’Grady too often choose to misrepresent the meaning of perfectly harmless words and language for nefarious political ends.

We were discussing Labour’s confected furore over Lord Freud’s remarks on the disabled. As is now abundantly clear to anyone even halfway acquainted with the background to the story – the fact, for example, that his comments were addressed sympathetically to the father of a severely disabled daughter – Lord Freud’s intentions and meaning were unimpeachably honourable and decent.

So instead his critics resorted to that well-tested lefty fallback position: distortion and misrepresentation. In this case, Lord Freud’s remarks about disabled people being thought by employers to be not “worth the full wage” were twisted so as to mean that he thought disabled people were “worthless.”

This is a weasel trick and when Labour MP Chuka Umunna tried it on Any Questions, I called him out on it. Umunna has his faults but unutterable stupidity is not one of them. Suppose, I put it to him, that he had heard someone in the pub after a rugger match boasting about having “murdered” the opposition. Would he call the police?

Of course he wouldn’t because like anyone born into our richly allusive English-speaking culture he would have understood that our language depends as much on tone and context as it does on the words themselves. That verb “murder” is a perfect example of this. Sometimes, it can indeed mean literally “kill”. But on many other occasions it can mean something innocuous like desperation for a drink (“I could murder a pint”) or abject defeat in a board game (“he murdered me at Scrabble”).

And the amazing thing is that despite the fact that depressingly large sections of our population have low IQs, are functionally illiterate, and are almost totally uneducated thanks to our dumbed-down education system, even the most unutterable thickos among us are yet capable of grasping these semantic nuances – even though they wouldn’t know what a “semantic nuance” was if it bit them on the arse.

So if even the thickest of thick native English speakers can understand basic concepts like the fact that even though “worth less” and “worthless” sound the same but actually mean something different – why can’t a bright, articulate, Manchester- and Burgundy-University-educated, City lawyer like Chuka Umunna?

The answer, of course, is that it suits him not to – in much the same way it suited Nigel Farage’s various lefty-feminist critics not to at the time of his supposedly contentious remarks earlier this year about women in the City.

What Farage said, you may remember, was this:

“And if a woman has a client base, has a child and takes two or three years off work, she is worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she went away because her client base will not have stuck rigidly to her.”

This is a fairly straightforward economic point which, I’m quite sure, any City employer would tell you (albeit guardedly, lest they seem in any way “discriminatory”) is no more than the ground truth.

Yet the truth was no defence for the likes of Labour MPs such as Harriet Harman who naturally piled in to accuse Farage of saying something he had never actually said: that female employees are, to some degree, “worthless.”

Of course I understand why the Harmans and the Umunnas of the world play this game: it’s a useful way of circumventing the awkward fact that the left rarely has any useful arguments.

But what astonishes me is our cultural tolerance for it…

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Splattergate II: green graphic novel celebrates eco-terrorist shopping mall killing spree

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When is it acceptable for a terrorist to go berserk in a shopping mall and machine gun innocent victims to death?

When it’s all being done for the noble cause of environmentalism, of course!

Such is the take-home message of an award-winning graphic novel which has been praised by a top scientist at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “a marvellous way to convey the knowledge accumulated by our scientific community.” (H/T Marc Morano at Climate Depot)

It has also been recommended by a curriculum developer at the US National Council of Teachers of English as a “rigorous” and “highly expressive” work which will make an “optimal text for students at various levels”. (Naturally, the novel has been deemed Common-Core-compliant too.)

Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni shows a beautiful woman called Camille in a supermarket staring down the sights of an automatic rifle at three men dressed in Santa costumes.

“In an energy model based on a vision of demand continually increasing we produce more so we can consume more,” says the caption, disapprovingly.

Luckily, the author has found the perfect solution to this rampant and offensive consumerism, as he demonstrates in the next frames.

The woman opens up, shellcases tumbling, and the screaming Father Christmases are riddled with bullets.

In the last frame of the sequence Camille and her boyfriend Philippe Squarzoni (who besides being the book’s author has made himself its hero) stand over one of the Santas, Camille’s rifle trained on his corpse.

The caption reads:

“Making conservation a positive factor in the future would require a huge change in political direction.”

Though it’s quite possible the Santa massacre represents some kind of fantasy sequence it is not properly explained and there are no repercussions for it. In any case, it accords with the generally dyspeptic, eco-fascistic tone of the book in which, elsewhere, the Santas are shown as being in the pay of Big Tobacco, while “climate deniers” are represented as dung beetles pushing balls of excreta.

The book was published in France in 2012, where it won the Jury Prize at the Lyon Graphic Novel Festival.

Now it has been translated into English for a US edition published earlier this year by Abrams, New York, complete with plaudits from Dr Jean Jouzel, a vice-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group 1 (“The Physical Science Basis”) and an editor and author on the most recent four of the IPCC’s five Assessment Reports.

Better still – if somewhat unfortunately, given Squarzoni’s apparent distaste for Big Tobacco funding – Jouzel was the 1992 winner of a climatology prize from the Philip Morris tobacco corporation.

He writes:

“An extremely well-documented work – which is, of course, essential for the perception of the message it delivers. But its principal merit is, in fact, in the quality of the narrative and the art.”

Jouzel may be right about the art work – but he’s certainly not right about its scientific accuracy. Tony Thomas, in the Australian journal Quadrant has gone through it with a fine-tooth comb. He has found that though the graphic novel purports to take its climate science very seriously and is ponderously annotated and indexed with expert advice from supposedly impartial sources (eg one of Greenpeace France’s leading activists) it is in fact riddled with basic errors and outright lies.

 

Read the rest at Breitbart London

How the malign, totalitarian left played the ‘disability’ card to brand an innocent man a thought criminal

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Another day, another “full and unreserved apology”  forced on someone in the public eye by the leftist Offence Police.

This time the mea maxima culpa comes from a minor government minister called Lord Freud who, apparently, has been caught out saying something truly, dreadfully, almost unforgiveably evil about disabled people.

His statement says:

“I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else. I care passionately about disabled people. I am proud to have played a full part in a government that is fully committed to helping disabled people overcome the many barriers they face in finding employment. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.”

We all care about the disabled. But “passionately?

This is no ordinary apology.

It’s redolent of the kind of thing you might write with a knife held to your throat by Islamic State; the sort of confession you’d make after months of reeducation in a North Korean POW camp; the stuff you might say at a Kim Jong Un show trial, shortly before being thrown into a cage of fifty starving dogs. What it most definitely isn’t is the language you’d expect any person to have to use anywhere outside a totalitarian state. It’s just not how real people talk. Not only is it too strained and hyperbolic but it’s intellectually dishonest and politically extreme.

Why, for example, is it “offensive” to the point of total unacceptability to argue that there are some occasions where it makes sense to pay disabled people below the minimum wage?

Surely there are times when it is both economically sensible and compassionate?

Sam Bowman makes a good case here:

Many severely disabled people who would like to work thus can not do so. Markets are amoral. If a severely disabled person cannot produce more than the minimum wage’s worth of work, no employer will be able to profitably employ him. Some generous ones might do so at a loss, but we cannot assume that there will be enough of them.

What Bowman is restating here is the point that Lord Freud was trying to make at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, where his remarks were recorded by a Labour party activist and then used by Labour leader Ed Miliband in parliament yesterday to ambush David Cameron.

Lord Freud’s point was a perfectly reasonable, caring and practical one: how do you best incentivise employers to take on disabled people who want to work but whose productivity rate may not be the equal of able-bodied employees?

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Judy Finnigan – and why the ‘War on Women’ is really a war on freedom of expression

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Daytime TV presenter Judy Finnigan has been forced to apologise after claiming on ITV’s debate programme Loose Women that an act of rape committed by a footballer was “not violent” and “didn’t cause any bodily harm” to his victim who “had far much to drink.” Why?

I don’t mean “Why did some viewers feel sufficiently moved to vent their half-baked insights on Twitter?” That one’s a given: we live in a culture of licensed offence-taking.

Rather what I mean is: “Why was Judy Finnigan compelled to surrender to the social media Social Justice Warrior bully mob?”

“RAPE IS RAPE, JUDY. Moron,” observed one Twitter user, employing the popular “‘Shut up!’ she explained” technique beloved by social media campaigners.

No it isn’t. And this was the point – however clumsily – that Judy Finnigan was trying to make: as befits the role of a panellist in what is supposed to be a free and open debate programme in which strong, contentious opinions are expressed.

If all “rape” were the same, judges’ jobs would be a lot easier. All they’d have to do once the crime had been established to the satisfaction of the court would be to hand out the one-size-fits-all, standard rape sentence.

Does anyone – even the most rabid, #waronwomen crusader – think that such a state of affairs would be just or appropriate?

Well I’d hope not. There’s a world of difference between being raped at knifepoint by a stranger on a beach – as once happened to a beloved relative of mine – and, say, a messy student fumbling that went badly awry after the girl decided the next day once she recovered from her hangover and read an article by Lena Dunham that at no stage in the procedings had she announced her full consent, then signed it in triplicate in unicorn blood.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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