Hide The Decline

It’s been 10 years since Climategate, when thousands of emails between climate scientists were publicly released by either hackers or leakers. The Observer had a long review of the affair last Sunday:

Climategate 10 years on: what lessons have we learned?

A series of leaked emails was leapt on by climate-change deniers to discredit the data, but their efforts may have only slowed the search for solutions

What seemed most remarkable about this article was the author’s unshakable belief in the reality of climate change.

The affair was dubbed Climategate by those who deny the existence of global warming and it remains one of modern society’s most troubling affairs. Many observers believe it helped delay measures that might have slowed climate change and given humanity more time to cut atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, its key cause.

Climategate marks its 10th anniversary this month – an opportune moment to reflect on just how serious was its impact on society, and to look at the effect it had on those who were trying to stop Earth from being ravaged by rising seas, spreading deserts, disappearing coral reefs and suffocating heat.

The author clearly believes that climate change is happening, and that it’s caused by carbon dioxide, and it will bring “rising seas, spreading deserts, disappearing coral reefs and suffocating heat.” Anyone who doubts it is a “denier.”

The author then lists the supporters of the climate scientists whose work had been called into question. There’s “Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University.” And “Guardian writer Fred Pearce.” And “Mike Hanlon, former science editor of the Daily Mail.” Also “Fiona Fox, head of the UK’s Science Media Centre.”

Several official UK reports on the affair also supported Jones. One inquiry – by Sir Muir Russell, a senior civil servant – specifically praised the “rigour and honesty” of Jones and his colleagues while another, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, found “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice”.

And then there was “the US Environmental Protection Agency” and “physicists at University of California, Berkeley, … led by Professor Richard Muller.”

Such powerful endorsements might have been expected to end deniers’ claims about Climategate. However, they have continued since 2009 to accuse Jones and others of collusion and fraud.

Here perhaps is the key to the whole defence mounted by the author: he believes that all these “powerful endorsements” by authorities of one sort or other should be expected to silence the sceptics. He is mounting a long argument from authority. How can you possibly doubt all these authorities?

But this is what Climategate was really all about: distrust of authority. Can we trust authorities? Must we place our unquestioning trust in authorities of every kind? Must we believe what we are told?

This goes far beyond climate science. What we’re actually seeing is an accelerating global loss of trust in authorities of every kind. It’s not just that we don’t believe climate scientists.  We don’t trust the mainstream media. We don’t trust the UN and the World Health Organisation. We don’t trust the EU. We don’t trust ASH. We don’t trust the Pope. We don’t trust the FBI and the CIA and the NSA. We don’t trust Hillary Clinton. We don’t trust Donald Trump. We don’t trust Jeremy Corbyn. We don’t trust Boris Johnson. And of course we don’t trust Greta Thunberg.

We don’t trust anyone.

Trust is something that must be earned. And when trust is broken it’s almost impossible to recover.

Climategate brought a deep loss of trust in climate scientists. But should any of them have been trusted in the first place? Why should we automatically believe anyone who says they’re a “scientist” or a “doctor” or an “expert”? Shouldn’t we be sceptical  about everyone, at least until they’ve earned our trust, by proving their good faith?

The Observer article mentioned in passing “hiding the decline.” This was when one line in a graph of proxy temperatures showed an inconvenient decline, and so was concealed. Here’s an explanation of it again:

Oddly enough, the physicist in this video, explaining and expressing outrage at the trick that was used to hide the decline, is none other than the Berkeley professor Richard A. Muller cited in Sunday’s Observer article as one of the illustrious experts supporting the climate alarmists. Did he change his mind, and stop being a climate sceptic? Or was he once an alarmist, but now a sceptic? Does he now think that the trick used to hide the decline was perfectly legitimate? I very much doubt it. Once it’s understood how the trick was pulled off, it’s impossible to trust the people who did it ever again.

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How Smoking Bans Kill

Hat tip to Igrowmyown for drawing attention to this story:

Drinker, 34, … left badly injured in car crash at pub’s smoking area that sparked murder probe

The Spinnaker Inn is a pub in Colchester. Here’s the pub’s covered smoking area.

The car mounted the pavement, and smashed through the missing side of the timber shed, and killed one of the people sat inside it, and badly injured several others.

In the Daily Mail photo at right, the car is shown before it was removed, looking like it had been neatly parked in a garage.

I’d guess that the driver has been charged with murder, because the police probably know just how nasty some antismoking zealots are.

But I suspect that the driver simply lost control of his car (captured on camera right, as it mounted the pavement on Saturday night).

And here’s one possible explanation for how this might have happened: November 5 is Guy Fawkes night in Britain, when fireworks are set off all over the country. The night fell on last Tuesday, but most of the firework displays took place on the preceding or succeeding Saturday.

My guess: There was a particularly spectacular  firework explosion in the sky in front of the driver. Maybe even his companion yelled “Wow!! Look at that!”  And he looked, and he kept on looking. And while he was looking at the sky, his car mounted the pavement. The accident happened because he took his eyes off the road.

Further evidence for this hypothesis: Hythe Quay, the road on which the accident happened, winds along beside a river (right). The driver was approaching from the north (red arrow), and the road at this point is curving left. All he had to to do was keep going straight on, and he would have mounted the pavement, and smashed into the smoking shelter.

If the smokers in the smoking shelter had been inside the Spinnaker Inn, rather than the highly-exposed, flimsy shed outside, they’d have had solid brick walls all around them for protection, and most likely nobody would have been killed or injured. They were only killed and badly injured because the smoking ban inside Britain’s pubs had pushed them out onto the street, where they were in far greater danger.

So this is another example of how smoking bans kill people by pushing them to the margins of society, so that they die of cold, or fall off roofs or balconies, or out of windows. It was the same in Paris when Islamic terrorists were shooting up bistros in Paris, killing the smokers who were sat outside.

In fact, my nearest local pub in Herefordshire may have experienced something very similar to the Spinnaker Inn. It has a large garden with a fence round it, and a busy road right next to it. One day I arrived and found that a large chunk of the fence was missing: obviously some vehicle had run off the road, and through the fence. Someone could have been killed, and if they had been they’d most likely have been smokers,

They say that smokers die younger. Now you know how that happens.

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A Really Good Time

BBC:

US election 2020: Michael Bloomberg joins race for White House

None of the reports I’ve read mentions the only truly pertinent fact about this nasty little man: That, as mayor of New York City, he (and he personally) imposed a smoking ban on that city.

Nothing else matters. Nothing else that he has done in his miserable life is of any consequence beside that fact.

There are other people like this. Hawley Harvey Crippen is only remembered for one thing, and one thing only: that he murdered his wife. Everything else is irrelevant. Nothing else matters. You don’t need to know anything else about him.

Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged at Pentonville prison on November 23, 1910, after unsuccessfully trying to flee by ship to America.

Michael Bloomberg has yet to be hanged. And he probably never will be.

And neither has Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is only memorable for having introduced a smoking ban in the White House during the presidency of her husband, Bill. Nothing else she’s done in her miserable life matters either.

ZeroHedge reports:

Bloomberg said in March that he would not run for president but warned that the ultimate Democratic nominee should not take progressive policy positions that would “drag the party to an extreme that would diminish our chances in the general election.”

Anyone who introduces smoking bans anywhere is an extremist. It’s almost the very definition of extremism. And should Bloomberg manage to buy the presidency, it would be an extremist far more extreme than Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders or any of the other Democratic candidates who would occupy the White House.

Michael Bloomberg as President would probably impose a federal smoking ban on the USA, just like as mayor he imposed a smoking ban on New York City, more or less as an executive order.

Some people would say that Dr Crippen committed a crime far worse than Michael Bloomberg or Hillary Clinton ever did. They’d say that he was a murderer. He actually killed someone. No-one gets killed by smoking bans.

But I have a graveyard full of people who were killed by smoking bans. People who fell off roofs or balconies because they’d been driven onto them by smoking bans. Smoking bans push smokers to the margins of society where it’s easier for them to die. Smoking bans are essentially murderous in nature.

But is it only murder which justifies a death sentence? Plenty of people have been hanged for much less. People have been hanged for stealing horses, or stealing sheep.

When Dr Crippen murdered his wife, he deprived her of the remaining years of her life. Perhaps she was already dying, and he only deprived her of a few hours or days or weeks of not-so-precious and perhaps even extremely painful life.

But people can be deprived of their lives in other ways than murder. They are deprived of precious time when they get stuck in queues or traffic jams. They are deprived of precious time when they are robbed. They are deprived of precious time when they are injured in accidents, and break arms or legs. And they are deprived of precious time by smoking bans.

And the precious time that smokers are deprived of by smoking bans is all the hours that they could have had in the company of friends, laughing and talking, singing and dancing, and generally having A Really Good Time. Smoking bans prevent people from doing what they want to do, doing what they enjoy doing. And while antismokers like Michael Bloomberg and Hillary Clinton may not be murderers, they are most certainly killjoys.

How much joy did Bloomberg kill in New York City? He took away all the hours that smokers in New York would have spent in bars and cafes and restaurants. The population of New York City is about 8 million, and assuming 25% of them (2 million) were smokers, and each of them spent on average one hour a week in some smoky little bar, then Bloomberg’s smoking ban deprived them of a total of 2 million hours of happy pleasure per week, and a 104 million hours per year. With 8760 hours in a year, a lifetime of 70 years amounts to 613,200 hours. And so Bloomberg was personally responsible for the deaths of a 169 lifetimes ( 104 million divided by 613,200) of Good Times per year. And since he was in office as mayor from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2013, and the smoking ban came into force on or about 1 April 2003, Michael Bloomberg was personally responsible for the equivalent of over 10 years of 169 deaths per year, or over 1700 deaths.

By contrast, Dr Crippen was responsible for taking a lot less than one single lifetime, and yet he was hanged for that crime. Is not Michael Bloomberg effectively a prolific serial killer, even if he has never personally killed anybody? Didn’t it all add up to mass death, even if nobody died?

And this isn’t even taking into account all the New Yorkers who were killed by the smoking ban when they fell off roofs and balconies, or fell out of windows, or tripped over in the dark, or froze outside.

Michael Bloomberg would probably claim in his defence that his smoking ban saved lives. What evidence might he have for that? Maybe there were indeed some lives saved. In fact, Dr Crippen quite probably saved a few lives in the course of his work as a doctor. Shouldn’t that have been taken into account at his trial?

I rest my case. Michael Bloomberg, I submit, is a far worse killer than Hawley Harvey Crippen ever was, even if there is not a drop of blood on his hands.

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The Plans Always Go Wrong

I hate making plans. Plans are like straitjackets. They constrain you to doing something or other for a certain period of time. It’s like going to prison.

But if I make plans for myself, I can at least abandon the plan, or change the plan, more or less at will.

The same isn’t true when other people make plans for me, when other people make plans for what I should do. It’s even worse when their plans have the force of law behind them. It’s tyranny.

Yet we live in a world in which lots of people have no compunction whatsoever about making plans for everybody, and not just themselves. More or less everything that happens is part of someone’s plan. If a new supermarket opens somewhere, it’ll be because the management planned to do this, months beforehand. If a new road gets built, it’ll be because some local authority planned doing this months earlier. Even when people go on holiday, they make plans about where to go, how long to stay, what sights to see, what to eat, how much sun tan lotion they need bring with them.

I like to live at the disposal of chance. I like things that just happen, completely unplanned.

Tobacco Control is chock full of people who are making plans for other people than themselves. I think they’re extremely arrogant. I think they’re extremely presumptuous. I don’t see what right they have to make plans for other people. But they seem to think nothing of it.

And if you’re going to make plans for other people, your plans will have no effect if you can’t get them to do what you want them to do. So planners always need to be able to force other people to do what they’ve planned. And usually the force they use is the force of law. And so no sooner than the planners have planned something that everyone else must do, they’ll be asking for their plans to be made legally binding on them, because otherwise their plans will come to nought.

Planning what other people are to do is the same as controlling other people. Planning is another name for control. And planning and control always require force. So a planned, controlled world is a prison world in which everyone is kept in place by force.

The opposite of planning and control is freedom. And the controllers in Tobacco Control hate freedom. They hate the idea of people doing what they themselves want to do, rather than what somebody else wants them to do. They’re terrified of freedom because absolutely anything might happen if people are free.

The more elaborate any plan is, and the more people it involves, the more likely it is that the plan will go wrong. And so if you’re making plans for millions of other people, it’s a sure certainty that the plan will go wrong.

In fact, it’s a sure certainty that all plans always go wrong. Even my planned shopping trips, which involve just me, go wrong. I get delayed. The shop is out of stock of one of the items I wanted to buy. I forget to buy something. And so on. Real life never goes according to plan, and so real life is constant improvisation.

It is said that, in war, the plan is the first casualty. It’s true not just of war: it’s true everywhere else as well. You can make all the elaborate plans you like, but you can be sure that things will start going wrong from Day One. And so you’ll find yourself always tearing up your plans, and improvising instead, reacting to whatever happens as it happens.

Tobacco Control’s plans for everyone are plans which, like all plans, have gone wrong. After all, we were all supposed to have stopped smoking by now. And that alone is an indicator that the plan has gone wrong. There are lots of other indicators as well: like the completely unexpected appearance of vaping devices. Instead of stopping people smoking, smoking bans have resulted in the appearance of completely new ways of smoking. How wonderful! Doesn’t that indicate not just that their plans have gone wrong, but that they’ve been a catastrophic failure.

And Tobacco Control’s plans are actually global plans. They want to make everybody the whole world over stop smoking. Isn’t that rather over-ambitious? Isn’t it something that was always bound to fail? Wasn’t it a plan that could even have been called “Our Failed Plan”?

The same of course applies to Climate Control’s plans to de-carbonise the world’s economies. Good luck with that! You haven’t a hope in ever succeeding. Your plan was doomed to failure from the outset.

The same applies to every other plan that anybody has got for anyone else. It’ll never work.

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The Control Freaks Benefit Only Themselves

Continuing with control freaks, a little Idle Theory:

In Idle Theory people are seen as part busy, part idle. And someone who lives a 33% idle life, has one third of their life as time in which they are free to do whatever they like, and two thirds as time in which they are constrained to be busy working.

The idleness of any society is primarily a function of its degree of technological development, which usually advances very slowly.

In a perfectly egalitarian society of such 33% idle people, everybody would enjoy the exact same degree of idleness. All would work the same two thirds of their days, and all would enjoy the same amount of leisure in the remaining one third.

But it’s also perfectly possible for such societies to be perfectly inegalitarian. A perfectly unequal 33% idle society would be one in which all the work is done by two thirds of the population, and all the idleness is enjoyed by one third of the population. This is a society of masters and slaves.

Since technological innovation always proceeds very slowly, anyone in any egalitarian society, whatever its mean idleness, can only increase their own idleness at the expense of someone else. And when they increase their idleness, they gradually become masters, and gradually increase their control over others, while the others gradually become slaves.

Even a 90% idle society can be a slave society. It would just be one in which 9 out of 10 people in the population would be masters, and one in ten slaves –  rather than the other way round, as it was in antiquity.

What we’re witnessing with Tobacco Control is the gradual exertion of control by one section of society over another, and a gradual increase in the wealth and idleness of the controllers, and a consequent decrease in the idleness  and freedom of the controlled. Tobacco Controllers like ASH’s Deborah Arnott get rich (What is she paid? £150,000 a year? £200,000?) at the expense of the smokers over whom she exerts control.

It’s not just Tobacco Control. There are countless numbers of other Controls. For example, Gun Control. Britain is probably one of the most Gun Controlled societies in the world: nobody (or hardly anybody) has any guns at all. And we’re also one of the most Traffic Controlled societies in the world, as our innumerable road signs and road markings testify. We also require Planning Permission even to slightly alter properties that we own (Building Control?). And we also have Town Planning (Town Control?). We are increasingly controlled and restricted in almost innumerable ways.

Then of course there’s the Government. And the bigger that governments become, the more controlling they become. We live in a time where governments everywhere are expanding, because taxes are always rising.

It should be no surprise to us if we are seeing controls being extended to more and more areas of life. How long are we going to be free to even choose what clothes or shoes we wear? How long before we all have to wear drab uniforms? How long before not only tobacco is banned, but also alcohol? And meat? And chocolate? And cheeseburgers?

The control is also extending to the language we use. There are forbidden words (e.g. nigger). And the number of banned words is always multiplying. There are more and more things that simply can’t be said. So we are gradually being silenced. There ceases to be any debate once The Debate Is Over.

When an army invades a country and subjugates it, its inhabitants lose all their former freedoms overnight. But in the case of the new Controllers, the subjugation proceeds slowly and piecemeal. There’s no sudden loss of all freedom. There is instead a gradual erosion of freedom, with one little freedom after another lost. But the net effect is the same: the substitution of slavery and inequity in the place of freedom and equality. What makes the process even more insidious is that, while invading armies usually identify themselves with flags and uniforms, our new Controllers look exactly like everyone else.

Whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a war with an army of controllers who will use any pretext they can to exert more and more control. It doesn’t matter to them whether the pretexts (Speed Kills. Smoking Causes Lung Cancer. Carbon Dioxide Causes Global Warming.) are entirely fabricated falsehoods: all that matters is that they provide an excuse to impose yet more rules and regulations.  And the Controllers are doing it all purely to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.

But this process of gradually expanding control does not inevitably proceed in one direction. If the underlying idleness of a society decreases, and everyone has to work harder to survive, then the class of rich and idle controllers must necessarily contract. And this will result in conflict among them, as they fight to stay at the top of the pile. And in fact the more rules and regulations the controllers impose on a society, the harder they make life for everybody, and so drive social idleness down. In this respect the controllers are their own worst enemies: they sow the seeds of their own destruction. Sooner or later there comes a call to de-regulate rather than to regulate further.

One day, Deborah Arnott will find herself fired from her very well-paid job, because she has already robbed smokers of everything they had, and the gold mine is empty.

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Why Are They All Such Control Freaks?

It never ends. From the comments:

64% of adults support smoking being banned in all cars

This isn’t about health. This is about control. These people want to control other people. The clue is in the second word in the name: Tobacco Control.

Why are these people all such complete control freaks? Why are they always on the watch for what other people are doing? Why can’t they just mind their own business?

What does it matter if 64% of adults want something? Someone should simply tell them that they can’t have it.

I was offered an invitation of some sort to The Battle Of Ideas. I didn’t go. I never go anywhere these days. But Simon Clark went, and recounted some of his experiences:

This year I was asked to take part in a session that asked the question, ‘How can we deal with problem lifestyles?’, to which the organisers added, ‘Whose responsibility is it to deal with people who smoke, drink or eat ‘too much’?’ and ‘Should the state step in?’

Why have the ways that other people live become “problem lifestyles”? What precisely is the problem? Why should it be anyone’s “responsibility” to “deal with it”? Why should the state step in? Is it any different if people smoke, drink and eat, than if they read books, hum tunes, or do crossword puzzles?

Anyway, the Independent yesterday published an article that, had it appeared 24 hours earlier, would have been worth mentioning in the meeting. Headlined ‘Alcohol consumption will soon follow smoking and meat-eating in becoming a social evil’, it argued that ‘The number of units people drink is declining and consuming less may soon become a badge of honour in the same way not smoking or not eating meat have become.’

Who decides what is and isn’t a “social evil”? Who decides what “new norms” there are to be? Has meat-eating become a social evil? Not for Jordan Peterson, it seems:

Peterson adopted an all-beef diet on the advice of his daughter, Mikhaila, who had been following a similar meat-based diet in what she claims was a successful attempt to treat her chronic auto-immune problems. Peterson père claims that the diet has worked for him as well.

How subversive can you get? I love the idea of an all-meat diet, purely as a counter to all the other diets that are around these days.

All of which reminds me of an idea I had way back in 2007, shortly after the introduction of the UK smoking ban. And it was that smokers should start wearing rings to which white tubes with red tips were attached (right). So when the police pull you over, you say: “No, officer, I’m not smoking. This is just a rather elaborate ring that I like wearing. I’ve got another one just like it on my other hand too. See?” The white tubes might be long or short, fat or thin. And they need not be white. They might also be torches, with LEDs in their tips, that light up when squeezed. “No, officer, this isn’t a cigarette: it’s a torch. I always like to have one handy.” Or, “No, officer, this isn’t a cigarette: it’s a food blender and coffee stirrer. It’s got a little propeller in the tip, that starts when you tap the end. Perfect for when there are no spoons available and you don’t want to dip your pinky in your coffee.”

Well, are you going to be thrown out of a restaurant for wearing a slightly unusual ring? At what point does a little tube stop looking like a cigarette, and start looking like a middle finger?

Why are all these people such control freaks? What is that impels them to “intervene” in other people’s lives. I suppose that if you’re in a bus doing 70 mph, with the driver slumped over the wheel, his hands hanging limply by the floor, you might feel the need to intervene, grab hold of the wheel, take control of the bus. Or is it that these people have come to realise that they’re living on a little spinning rock that’s revolving around a white hot star, and it’s all totally out of control, and has always been totally out of anyone’s control, and always will be.

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Slowly Shifting Opinions

I ought to be interested in our upcoming General Election here in the UK, but I’m not really. I’ll be quite interested in the outcome of an election that has been described as People versus Parliament, but I just wish it would soon be over. Will the Parliament conform to the People, or will the People conform to the Parliament? My guess is that it will be more the former than the latter. I think that the British people have been becoming more conservative in recent years – a trend that seems to be almost global these days.

What is it that drives these gradual changes in public opinion? Some would say that it’s all driven by “opinion leaders” in the mainstream media. And in Britain I think this was probably true when we only had two or three TV channels, and five or six newspapers of note. But it seems to me that now, in the internet era, there are hundreds of opinions available, and thousands of rival would-be opinion leaders.

I suspect that what really drives opinion are the countless interactions that people have with each other, and it is this rather than anything else that makes for slow sea changes in outlook.

In Britain 70 years ago, there was a Conservative party that was the party of King and Empire and the established aristocratic social order. And there was an upstart Labour party that was populated by progressive socialists of one kind or other, dominated by trade unions. But over the ensuing 70 years both the Labour and Conservative parties gradually metamorphosed into quite different entities. With the loss of Empire, the old Conservative party began to disintegrate. And the old imperial class increasingly threw in its lot with the rising European state that was emerging across the English Channel. But at the same time, the decline of the trade unions resulted in the disintegration of the old Labour party. Tony Blair’s New Labour was in many ways a far more conservative party than Old Labour. And the New Conservative party was far more progressive than the old Conservative party. Conservative and Labour became more and more alike, quite possibly simply as a result of rubbing up against each other for 70 years, and gradually adopting each other’s ideas.

The result is that we now have a progressive political class that is a) wedded to Europe, b) antismoking, c) environmentally aware (or is it “woke”?). It was David Cameron who re-invented the Conservative party as almost a new Green party. And it was also Cameron who sanctioned gay marriage. How much more progressive can one get? David Cameron may as well have been a socialist.

But at the same time it would seem that the British people have been going in the opposite direction, and becoming gradually more conservative, and more traditional. The same seems to be happening everywhere else with the rise of “national populism.” It may simply be a reaction to being lectured about Europe and smoking and the environment and climate change and everything else. People have had enough of it all. They’ve stopped listening. They no longer want to know what Prince Charles thinks (did they ever?), or what David Attenborough thinks, or any of the rest of the Great and the Good.

The set of opinions that anyone holds is as much a marker of their social class as the set of clothes they wear. One is expected to have the right set of opinions just like one is expected to wear the right set of clothes, and the two are perhaps interchangeable. Both indicate that you are a member of some club. And in these clubs strong efforts are made to ensure conformity of both opinion and clothing. And in the most tight-knit clubs, the members are like individual bricks in a wall, holding each other in place, correcting even the slightest infraction of the accepted conventions.

But in Britain over the past 70 years, all these tight-knit clubs have been gradually coming apart. The walls have all come tumbling down. And into the cracks all sorts of strange new ideas have grown and flourished. Could any British Conservative Prime Minister of 60 or 70 years ago have entertained ideas as outlandish as Climate Change? It was probably quite literally unthinkable.

Nevertheless the slow currents of changing opinion throw up these sorts of surprises all the time. To many Americans Donald Trump seems like a throwback to a former dark age, not only in the opinions he holds, but also the clothes he wears, and the hairstyle he maintains. And all of it tells them that he’s not an American progressive of the kind they approve. He has all the wrong opinions. And yet many Americans share his opinions. They’re tired of being lectured all the time as well.

We’ll find out in a few weeks whether the British people are continuing to become more conservative while the British political class has been becoming more progressive. There could well be a conservative clean sweep. But I won’t be betting on it.

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