Be Glad of Global Warming

Over the past year or so I’ve been taking a deep interest in ice ages. After all, it’s only been about 12,000 years since the last one ended, and the warm interglacial periods in between ice ages only seem to last about 12,000 years. So the historical record suggests we’re overdue for the return of snow and ice.

But it seems that the current view in the climate science community is that recent anthropogenic global warming has effectively forestalled any renewed glaciation. I’ve read suggestions that we may well have another 30,000 years of interglacial warmth ahead of us.

But as far as I can see, this optimism rests upon the belief in the climate science community that the last ice age ended as a result of an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For many climate scientists seem to see carbon dioxide as the principal regulator of planetary climate. Too little of it, and you get ice ages. Too much of it, and the ice all melts.

The fixation with carbon dioxide seems to date from the 1960s, and the work of Carl Sagan in showing that the high temperature of the planet Venus is the result of its atmosphere consisting nearly entirely of carbon dioxide. It’s also the case that the atmosphere of Mars is nearly all carbon dioxide as well, although somehow or other it doesn’t have the same sort of high temperature as Venus. Scientists have been wondering why the Earth hasn’t succumbed to the same fate as Venus and Mars. Hence the worry about rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere, and Carl Sagan himself was instrumental in the rise of global warming alarmism in the 1970s and 1980s, and full-blown global warming hysteria in the 21st century.

I’ve been thinking recently that our current global warming hysteria is probably far more benign than any global cooling hysteria is likely to be. After all, the worst predictions about global warming are of a gradual warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the next century or so by a few degrees. It’s really nothing to worry about. And so most people don’t.

But global cooling alarmism may be quite different. For the fear will likely be that a new ice age might begin very suddenly, and not gradually like global warming. Instead of slowly getting cooler, the Earth may flip from a warm state to a cold state over a period of only a decade or two. Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia would become buried in snow that never melts. There’d be an exodus of peoples from these countries. The USA wouldn’t have a problem with its southern border, but with its northern one. Instead of refugees and migrants coming from the south, there’d be refugees and migrants from the north. Fear of anthropogenic global warming would be replaced by fear of  snow and ice that was extending further and further south into the US northern states, Britain, France, Germany and Russia. There’d be a global state of emergency. The most pressing question would be: how might the advance of the snow and ice be first stopped, and then reversed? Everyone would be talking about it.

It would be a time in which government policy (and private morality) would be turned upside down. Instead of Emmanuel Macron trying to reduce France’s carbon dioxide emissions to zero, he’d be calling for them to be vastly increased. People would be encouraged to burn as much coal and wood and oil as they possibly could. Our current “smoke-free” world would suddenly become very smoky again, in the hope that as much soot and dust as possible could be deposited on the expanding ice sheets to reduce their albedo and melt them.

I’m hoping that the climate scientists are right, and that the next ice age has indeed been deferred for a few thousand more years, because by then we may be already busy “terra-forming” both Mars and Venus into benign Earth-like colonies. I’m hoping so because our current mild global warming hysteria is far preferable to the sheer terror that will accompany the start of a new ice age. For in that time, it will seem to have been almost a luxury to have been worried about trivia like carbon dioxide and tobacco smoke.

And I’m hoping that at least some of the vast amounts of money that are currently being spent studying and fighting AGW are going into research into ice ages, and that we won’t be completely taken by surprise if a new ice age starts.

For now, be glad of global warming. For the alternative is likely to be much, much worse.

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The Deadliest Artifact in Human History

Three different stories vying for my attention this morning. The first one from Hawaii:

“The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history,” declares HB 1509. The product, it continues, has “killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century,” giving the tobacco industry roughly the same body count as global communism.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan (D–South Kona/Ka’u), aims to halt this menace by raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020, rising from there to 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024. Retailers who sell cigarettes to underage Medicare recipients would be subject to fines of $500 per violation.

Cigars and e-cigarettes would be spared from these age restrictions. The bill would not prohibit those over the age of 21, the state’s current smoking age, from merely possessing cigarettes.

Well, some people may think that the cigarette is “the deadliest artifact in human history.” But I’m not one of them. In fact, I think cigarettes are completely harmless.

“Banning the sales of cigarettes should be viewed as a good faith effort to free smokers from the enslavement of this powerful addiction and not an infringement on individual liberties,” reads the bill. Creagan reiterated his belief that smokers are “enslaved” in an interview with the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

I also don’t think that smokers are “enslaved addicts” either. The belief that they are is part of the bizarre confection of ideas that accompany extreme antismoking zealotry.

My view is the same view that most people had 70 years ago. People might say that I’m 70 years behind the times, but I think that 70 years ago people had more balanced ideas than they do today not just about smoking, but about pretty much everything else as well.

The second story connects to the first. In Hawaii you’ll still be able to vape, because e-cigarettes are generally regarded as far safer than cigarettes. That might change when Rep. Richard Creagan reads this story:

A 24-year-old man was killed in Texas last week when his vape pen exploded — slicing open his carotid artery and leaving his grandmother’s car covered in blood.

William Brown died after his left internal carotid artery was severed due to trauma from the exploding vape pen he just bought from Smoke & Vape DZ in Keller, a town just north of Fort Worth, his distraught grandmother told WFAA.

This is one thing that cigarettes are incapable of doing: exploding and severing the carotid artery.

The third story would seem to be completely unconnected but for one fact that I discovered in one line of one report about it.

Yesterday in Paris, an apartment block at 17, Rue Erlanger in the XVIth arrondissement caught fire. Ten people were killed. Another 50 needed to be rescued by firefighters from roofs and windows. What makes the story unusual is that it seems that it was the work of an arsonist, a 40-year-old woman named Essia B with a history of mental disorder who lived on the 2nd floor of the block.

What happened, it seems (and this is my own summary), was that Essia B was playing music very loudly in her studio flat, and neighbours, including Nicholas L who lived on the same floor, complained to the police. The police eventually arrived at about midnight, talked to Essia B, whom they described as being “calm”, and left without taking any further action. Then it appears that she went and lit a fire against the front door of Nicholas L’s apartment:

“She had to set fire to my house to take revenge,” says the young man in conflict with his neighbor…  “When I met her, she wished me good luck because I loved the flames…”

It starts getting seriously weird at this point, for it seems that Nicholas L was a 22-year-old firefighter, and that was why Essia B had used fire to take revenge on him.

At this point Nicholas L started banging on doors and telling residents to get out quickly, while Essia B left the building, and started trying to set fire to various other things outside, including cars and garbage containers.  Within minutes, unsurprisingly, the entire apartment block was on fire. It then took 250 firefighters about 5 hours to bring the fire under control, because the apartment block was located in a courtyard inaccessible to fire trucks.  Essia B was arrested outside the apartment block, and is now confined in a psychiatric unit.

This is a bizarre story, but one detail of it that jumped out immediately for me, was that when Essia B was seen wandering round outside trying to set things alight, she was using a cigarette lighter:

…the officers put the woman under brief surveillance and detained her after she allegedly tied a scarf around a car’s rear-view mirror and raised a cigarette lighter to it.

And that meant that she was most likely a smoker. Mental patients very often are, it seems. And I began wondering whether the intense conflict she was having with her neighbours might not have just been about her loud music, but also her smoking habit. Might not her new neighbour, the young firefighter have warned her that her smoking posed a fire threat. Was there a smoking ban in the apartment block? Did residents have gas cookers or heaters that needed lighters?

So I started wondering whether there’s another story here, in which Essia B emerges as yet another persecuted smoker, who finally snaps, and sets fire to her persecutors’ apartment block in an orgy of violence, using the only weapon available to her. And who knows, perhaps Essia B’s “madness” was simply that in Emmanuel Macron’s Paris she smoked cigarettes, which we have learned today are “the deadliest artifacts in human history”, and to which she had become “enslaved”.

Will we ever find out?

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The Politically Correct Doomsday Clock

I suppose I’m not really too surprised at this tweet:

I wonder if he’s a Maoist like Barroso? They’re probably all Marxists of one flavour or other in the EU.

I once ground my way through the first six chapters of Marx’s Capital (an uphill struggle through the dense jungle of his verbiage), and was very disappointed. Marx was, in my view, just another classical economist like Ricardo. And with that I completely lost all interest in him.

Elsewhere I noticed that the Doomsday Clock is now at 2 minutes to midnight.

Humanity now faces two simultaneous existential threats, either of which would be cause for extreme concern and immediate attention. These major threats—nuclear weapons and climate change—were exacerbated this past year by the increased use of information warfare to undermine democracy around the world, amplifying risk from these and other threats and putting the future of civilization in extraordinary danger.

In the nuclear realm, the United States abandoned the Iran nuclear deal and announced it would withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), grave steps towards a complete dismantlement of the global arms control process….

On the climate change front, global carbon dioxide emissions—which seemed to plateau earlier this decade—resumed an upward climb in 2017 and 2018. To halt the worst effects of climate change, the countries of the world must cut net worldwide carbon dioxide emissions to zero by well before the end of the century….

I suppose that nuclear weapons do pose an existential threat, but it’s a threat that I’ve lived with all my life, and have rather lost interest in. Who wants Mutual Assured Destruction? Nobody. So it won’t happen. I think they mean that Donald Trump, who tore up the Iran nuclear deal, is the real existential threat.

But does climate change pose an existential threat?  By “climate change” they of course mean anthropogenic global warming (AGW). And that means a slight warming of the atmosphere over the next century, with increased plant growth thanks to the higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. I don’t think it’s an existential threat at all. But these extreme alarmists think we must cut carbon dioxide emissions to zero.

So as I read it. the Doomsday Clock has had its hands moved nearer midnight because of Trump and global warming. It’s a political clock. Or a politically correct clock, that reflects fashionable political sensibilities. Why didn’t they add Brexit as well? Isn’t that supposed to be the end of the world too?

But I’m inclined to think that climate change actually does pose a genuine existential threat to humanity, but not in the way these people think. I’m currently inclined to think that we’re actually far more in danger of global cooling than of global warming. We’re currently 12,000 years into an interglacial period in a succession of such interglacials, most of which only last about, well,… 12,000 years. So it seems to me that the return of an ice age is the most likely thing to happen next. And a bit of global warming might help stave it off for a while, but not prevent it. And so I’m increasingly in favour of AGW, and I think we need a lot more of it. The reason why the global warming alarmists are worried about warming rather than cooling is because they think the last ice age ended 12,000 years ago as a consequence of a rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere back then. And they’re worried that now that we’re adding a lot more CO2 into the atmosphere, the little remaining ice on Greenland and Antarctica will melt, raising sea levels by 50 metres or so. And since they think that CO2 ended the last ice age, they think it will prevent a new ice age from starting for maybe another 30,000 years or so.

Will it? Will a 3ºC air temperature rise be enough to prevent a new ice age? I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s one of the questions I’m trying to answer with my glaciation simulation model. But my current inclination is to think that it won’t make much difference at all. It might just delay the return of the ice by a century or two. And then what happens when Norway and Sweden and Canada and Russia start getting covered in totally unexpected ice?

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Toffee Apple World

I came across an interesting map of the world yesterday. It showed the direction and speed of motion of land masses as measured by GPS stations:

10. Crustal GPS signals on the earth do not support plate tectonics theory.

Global GPS stations reveal that a vast majority of the GPS monitoring stations indicate that the observed motion is toward the northwest Pacific basin. Perhaps more surprisingly is the fact that the motions do not conform to rigid “tectonic” plates (outlined in blue in illustration below).

The map reminded me of something that I’d only really understood when I constructed a 3D view of the world, because it’s not obvious from a map like the one above.

Here’s the 3D view I’m talking about:

This is the Earth as seen from Saturn at 17:51 UT (GMT) on 28 February 2017, according to my Orbit3D orbital simulation model. It shows the Pacific ocean and its islands, including Australia on the left, and Antarctica at the bottom. North and South America are just visible along the right hand edge, and Russia and China are just visible along the top left edge. The blue arc is that of the terminator, with the Sun off to the far right of the Earth, and New Zealand just after sunset.

And what was so interesting to me when I first saw it was that the Pacific Ocean occupies almost an entire hemisphere of the Earth. Almost all the continents of the Earth are on the other side. Furthermore, because the continents only occupy 29% of the surface of the Earth, these continents  mostly only occupy the northern part of the other side.

And I wondered whether all the continents might have arrived simultaneously one day when the Earth passed at high speed through a cloud of granitic (and maybe basaltic) rocks, and ended up looking like a toffee apple which had  exactly one half of it coated in toffee, with the Pacific islands a slight spattering of rock that had passed over the Earth and landed on the other side.

And if something like that had happened, countless millions of years ago perhaps as part of the Late Heavy Bombardment, I wondered if, given its momentum, this coating of molten toffee-like rock would have tended to flow towards the Pacific. And that Australia and New Zealand had been the fastest moving parts of this flow, along with Java and Sumatra, and that was why the latter looked like they were part of a flow, and Sulawesi (left) looked like an anti-clockwise eddy in the flow of islands around it.

And even if the momentum of the the cloud of rocks had not carried it part way into the opposite hemisphere, a coating of molten rocks many tens of kilometres deep would have slowly spread into the lower elevations of the opposite hemisphere.

And this is more or less exactly what the GPS map seems to be showing. And also it’s showing Australia and New Zealand as being the fastest-moving land masses, heading towards the Pacific, just as I had supposed.

It’s a hypothesis that raises more questions than it answers. Do the Moon or Mars have similar asymmetric hemispheres, with granitic rocks on one side only? They ought to if the whole of the Solar System was engulfed in a cloud of speeding rocks.

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The Logic of Transgender Bathrooms

A headline in Breitbart caught my attention:

German Elementary Schools to Install ‘Third Gender’ Bathrooms

Three new elementary schools around Munich in the German state of Bavaria are putting forth a proposal to create a bathroom for a “third gender” for children who do not identify as boys or girls.

If you’re going to have three genders rather than two, then why not have 4 or 5 or 6 genders? If male-female if no longer binary 1 (male) or 0 (female) and there can be a 0.5 “third gender” in between for girly sorts of boy or boyish sorts of girl, then there could also be a 0.1 gender for slightly boyish girls, or highly girly boys, and a 0.9 gender for slightly girly boys, and for highly boyish girls.

In fact, wouldn’t there be an infinite gradation between 0 and 1 that would cover not only 0.1, 0.2, o.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, o.8, and 0.9, but all the gradations between these as well: 0.11, 0.12, 0.13, 0.14, 0.15, etc.

And isn’t the logical conclusion of this process of gender distinction that everyone should have their own separate bathroom? And if this German elementary school has 200 children in it, then it should have 200 bathrooms? And since there are probably 20 or 30 transgender teachers and cooks and cleaners, that raises the number of bathrooms needed to 230.

But what about when transgender Mum and Dad come to collect their transgender children from school, and need to take a leak somewhere? Well, if each child has two parents, then with 200 pupils there’ll be a need for another 400 bathrooms. And so we now have 630 bathrooms.

At this point the entire school would be made up of 630 small, one-person bathrooms. And one way of accommodating this number might be to re=design schoolrooms so that they were made up of small partitioned bathroom cubicles, with a desk in each one, and a flush toilet under the seat as well. Partition wall heights would be such that the children’s heads were visible above them to a teacher who would be seated on his (or her) toilet on a raised platform/dais above the children.

In this new school, all the children would be constrained to their own desk-toilet cubicles for the duration of the school day, and would be visited by different teachers for different lessons. And this would mean that the teachers would have to drive around on mobile toilets (portaloos?) from schoolroom to schoolroom.

In addition, because the entire school property would now be covered with a sea of toilets, there would be no room for playgrounds or playing fields for the children to play football or any other games. Instead there would need to be a new ball game invented whereby the children sat at their deak-toilets could throw footballs or beach balls between their cubicles, with the teachers acting as goalkeepers for the duration of the games.

Segregated-sex toilet facilities are actually a bit of a new and Victorian invention, it would seem. It wasn’t like that in Roman times. I’ve actually seen the one below, in Sabratha, Libya (although I didn’t actually use it).

All concerned sat side by side, talking to each other. And it seems that these toilets were unsegregated:

The evidence is ambiguous but one of the interesting features of most ancient and medieval bathrooms is that they generally do not appear to have been segregated by gender. Even though women were prohibited from participating in or entering many kinds of all-male spaces in the ancient world, the latrine wasn’t one of them.

Maybe we should go back to Roman customs? And then, instead of having 630 toilets, the German school would have just one, with seats all round the side, and space in between for a book or a beer. And the children would again have playgrounds to play football again.

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Dearlove

I was really quite shocked last night, courtesy of Fredrik Eich, to learn of the letter (left, click to enlarge) sent by Sir Richard Dearlove to the Prime Minister a couple of months ago. I don’t understand why I hadn’t heard of it before. Perhaps it’s because I simply haven’t been taking overmuch interest in the political storm surrounding Brexit.

The gist of the letter was that both a former head of MI6 and a very senior British army officer believed that the ‘deal’ Theresa May had negotiated would compromise British security and its Anglosphere alliances. But that wasn’t all.

“Parliament is being asked to surrender its own sovereignty. It has no constitutional or moral right to do this. Any legislator who votes for it will not be forgiven.”

Well, in the event, Parliament refused to vote to surrender its own sovereignty, and Theresa May’s ‘deal’ is dead. But some MPs voted for the ‘deal’. And I can only suppose that they are not going to be forgiven for it. But not forgiven by whom? And what form will this unforgivingness take? Isn’t the clear implication that they will be punished in some way?

The two signatories of the letter are in many ways from what’s called the “deep state.” They’re usually invisible. But now they even seem to have their own brexiteer blog.

It’s the sort of thing that happens more and more in the USA, where “deep state” figures like James Comey or John Brennan seem to spend much of their time on TV shows. Now it’s happening in the UK as well.

One of the surprises of the letter, for me at least, was that a couple of people in the British “deep state” were in favour of Brexit. I thought they’d all been bought and paid for by the EU a long time ago. But clearly not. The authors of the letter are no friends of Brussels:

“This surrender is to an undemocratic organisation, the European Commission. The last two years have demonstrated how untrustworthy and hostile towards the UK the EC is, notably its use of the Irish border as a weapon.

The EC offers subordination, not partnership.”

They think that the only way to leave the EU is on WTO terms: i.e. a “no deal” Brexit.

“The people voted to take back control of our sovereignty, not for a colonial status.”

The people of Britain never voted to surrender British sovereignty. They voted back in 1975 to join what was then a trading organisation. They didn’t know back then that it was going to turn into an imperial superstate. They were duped. And every other nation in Europe was duped in the exact same way.

It was like joining a golf club, and then finding that the golf club had turned into a military organisation in which you were expected to serve for the rest of your life.

The last line in the letter is perhaps the most ominous:

“Mrs May has broken trust with the British people as she has lost the trust of so many of her ministers.”

Is she somebody else who won’t be forgiven? It would seem that this is the authors’ view.

For myself I find Theresa May’s behaviour highly puzzling. If she is still the Remainer that she once was, and perhaps still is, she’s done a terrible job of remaining, because Britain looks set at present to crash out of the EU on 29 March 2019, less than two months hence. But if she’s done a terrible job of remaining, she’s also done a terrible job of leaving.

Perhaps she’s a remainer at heart, and intends to use her position as PM to prevent Brexit from happening. But it’s also possible that when she said “Brexit means Brexit”, she had decided to bow to the will of the people. It’s just that, as PM, she’s caught between Remainers pulling her in one direction, and Leavers pulling her in the opposite direction, and her behaviour is exactly that of someone who is experiencing such a thing. She’s what Tony Benn would have called a “weathervane” politician (rather than a “signpost” politician). And if you’re someone who wishes to represent the wishes of the British people, you’ll change your mind when they change theirs. Isn’t that what politicians are supposed to do? Aren’t the problem politicians the ones who think they know what’s good for everyone (e.g. stopping smoking)?

Whatever way, we’re in for a rollercoaster ride here in Britain, because Brexit is going to go right down to the wire. But I continue to think that the powerful European political class in Brussels will stop at nothing to prevent Britain from leaving the EU.

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The New Leaders of the Free World

I think the principal governing historical fact about Europe is that it committed suicide during WW1 ahd WW2.

Up until that point Europe had been the economic and military and political centre of the world for 400 years. It was the place from which Portuguese mariners first explored the world, and from which Spanish conquistadors conquered much of it. It was the headquarters of the British Empire and the French Empire and the Dutch Empire and the Belgian Empire. Between them, these empires had carved up much of the rest of the world.

And then, starting in August 1914, it proceeded to completely and comprehensively demolish itself.

And it has never recovered since. The mantle of world leadership was passed on to others, and never returned. The centres of cultural and economic and military and political power moved elsewhere.

The modern political edifice of the European Union is a sort of shanty town that has sprung up among the ruins of the old Europe after its catastrophic self-destruction, like in Rome after its fall, when they could no longer afford to maintain its marble palaces. Post-war Europe is like a little flotilla of the Titanic’s lifeboats, bobbing together on the ocean, waiting for rescue after the great ship had sunk.

Its leaders still have occasional delusions of grandeur:

With that, Merkel explicitly made a bid to give Germany more international prominence, and set her country—in the absence of US international leadership—as the leader of the so-called “free world” ahead of its United Nations Security Council chair, starting Jan. 1, 2019.

For there’s a deep hankering in Europe after the power and prestige that had been lost. Europeans had all become nobodies, who wanted to be somebodies again. And so, having lost all their empires, the European states came up with the idea of forming a complete new empire within the boundaries of Europe, rather than one that was scattered all over the world. If they could no longer have colonies abroad, they could at least have colonies at home. And so the European Union is the colonisation of Europe. What else were the old colonialists to do? They had to colonise somebody, so they colonised their own people.

After all, when in 1945 the self-destruction of Europe was complete, and many of its old colonialists had come back from their foreign colonies, Europe remained dominated by imperialists and colonists whose only experience had ever been of colonial life in one empire or other. So when they started thinking how Europe might be rebuilt, it was only natural to come up with the idea of a new empire made up of a new set of colonies. Only this time the colonies would be inhabited by European natives rather than African or Indian or American natives.

And what we’re now seeing in Europe is a native revolt. It’s a Zulu uprising. Or an Indian mutiny. Because the new European imperialists are as equally careless of the customs and habits of European natives as they were of the customs and habits of the Bantu or the Punjabis. And now the natives are revolting. And many people are “going native.”

Britain’s current attempt to leave the EU is the attempt by one of Europe’s colonies to escape from this new European empire, in exactly the same way as American colonists attempted to escape from the British Empire.

Britain is going to be severely punished by the masters of the European Empire, just like the Americans were punished. Economic logic may demand that trade between Europe and Britain should remain as unfettered as it was before Brexit, but political logic demands that Britain must be punished. For all the other colonies in Europe must be shown what happens when when any of them try to escape: Britain must be made an example of.

And that’s why, having returned to Brussels to seek a new Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May has been met with blank stares and closed doors. The EU has no more intention of negotiating with her than George III’s government with upstart Americans:

On this day in 1774, the First Continental Congress sends a respectful petition to King George III to inform his majesty that if it had not been for the acts of oppression forced upon the colonies by the British Parliament, the American people would be standing behind British rule.

What Britain faces over the next few years, if the desperate Remainers in Parliament can’t prevent Brexit from happening, will be something like what Britain faced after Dunkirk in 1940: complete isolation from Europe, and the danger of imminent invasion by it. It will be next to impossible to get hold of any Camembert cheese, or Italian pasta, or German sausage, or Spanish tomatoes. We will have to Dig For Victory, and eat potatoes.

And as then, Britain will have to rely on the USA and its former colonies for trade and supplies. And in this respect Britain will probably have the complete and unquestioning support of the current anglophile US President, Donald Trump, who is probably the world’s greatest believer in Brexit. It wouldn’t have got that sort of support from any other recent US president, and certainly not Hillary Clinton.

And it’s far from certain that Donald Trump will remain president after 2020. So we may only get strong support from the USA for a couple more years. And after that?

But the native revolt in Europe looks set to fill the EU Parliament in May this year with nationalists and populists from everywhere in Europe – where they will find that they are as equally dismissed and ignored as Theresa May is presently ignored and dismissed. For despite its democratically elected “parliament” the EU is an unelected oligarchy filled with political appointees. And if necessary they’ll build a wall around their Brussels’ palaces to keep the natives at bay. These people don’t do negotiation, as they have made clear for the 2½ years since the Brexit referendum. And they have no intention of negotiating with the Salvinis and Le Pens and Orbans within Europe either. For, pace Merkel, they now see themselves as “leaders of the Free World”, even though they have imposed the most illiberal smoking bans on almost every country in Europe. So perhaps they really see themselves as leaders of the smoke-free world. For theirs is an inverted idea of freedom.

P.S. Copy of the letter sent by Sir Richard Dearlove, a former head of MI6, on 29 Nov 2018 (from the Country Squire)makes the same ‘colonial’ point as my post above:

 

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