March 26, 2017

Upset in France would have bigger impact here than Brexit or Trump

Posted in Irish Independent · 96 comments ·

For those of us who love all things French, one of the most beguiling aspects about French-ness is what the French themselves call “French exceptionalism”. This is the notion that France is an exception.

The French eat lots but are skinny, they smoke heavily but have the same level of cancer as others, they drink but don’t get hammered and when they play sport, they are flamboyant and daring. France’s literature, arts, cinema and philosophy is unique. The French work only 35 hours a week yet produce more per head than the work-obsessed British. French trade unions strike at a moment’s notice and, of course, its presidents should have at least two lovers to be taken seriously.

Yes, the French are different.

France also likes to see itself as the centre of revolutionary enlightenment. According to most accepted versions of history, the French revolution set off an entire domino effect of cascading monarchies in Europe, replacing aristocratic rule with democratic rule.

In terms of republicanism, the links between the two late 18th-century revolutions, the American in 1776 and the French in 1789, are self-evident and unambiguous. Indeed, any student of the Irish 1798 Rebellion can tell us that the intellectual roots of the United Irishmen were very much nourished by the American and French revolutionaries such as Maximilien Robespierre, with enlightenment, democracy, liberty and vicious terror being the common gelling agents.

The notion that ideas and methods jump between countries is not new.

But this revolutionary cross-pollination between the USA and France is taking on a different form in 2017. We know that the National Front’s ideologues have had meetings with similar thinkers in America and we know that each insurgency against the status quo emboldens the next one.

In terms of ideas, America’s new Robespierre, Steve Bannon, is an admirer of the reactionary French philosopher Charles Maurras.

Maurras, like Mr Bannon, was a Catholic nationalist and Maurras was an unambiguous anti-Semite.

To Maurras, the French Revolution’s ideals of “liberty, equality and fraternity” were a liberal cosmopolitan corruption of France’s authentic identity — which was white, Catholic and French. He made the distinction between the “legal country”, led by bureaucrats and officials, and the “real country” of ordinary people. This distinction is the way Mr Bannon frames his arguments when he talks about the clash between the people and the elites.

Marine Le Pen obviously approves of this thinking.

The National Front, Mr Trump’s people and the Brexiteers all share some core similarities — local over global, nationalist over internationalist, native over foreign and Christian over Muslim. But the different movements do diverge.

One thing makes France’s right-wing different to the movements elsewhere and it is crucial: French youth are right-wing. Everywhere else the nativist movements are older people. In the UK, the average Brexiteer was 50-plus, a golf club revolutionary railing against foreigners. In the US, too, Mr Trump’s core support in the Rust Belt was an overweight, grey head who roared “build the wall”. As such, demography is not on the side of these movements. But yet again France is different.

The National Front is by far the most popular in France with those in the 18-24 age bracket. The latest polls show it just shy of 40pc among the youth. This is twice the support for Emmanuel Macron and four times more than for the establishment centre-right rival François Fillon.

This is extremely interesting and is quite similar to the Scottish Independence movement, where the youth are much more pro-independence, while older voters in Scotland are unionists. In England it is the opposite: the young want to stay in the EU and the old want to leave. In France, the youth are overwhelmingly nationalist, nativist, anti-EU and anti-foreign. If Ms Le Pen (pictured inset) can get the youth vote out, she will dramatically increase her chances of winning.

There is good reason why the French youth want dramatic change. The system is not working for them. French youth unemployment is 26pc. This is ridiculous. Eight out of 10 of the few jobs that have been created in France in the past two years have been flimsy-contract, low-paying, zero-security jobs.

There is a generation war going on in France where the middle-aged, who are by and large well off, are in protected jobs, mainly in the public service. They want to preserve the status quo. This status quo is pro-EU, pro-euro, pro-big government. It’s an “I’m alright, Jack” vote reflecting the demographic reality of a generationally divided republic.

For the National Front, this youth support is a game changer. Think about it: five years ago the Front was only at 18pc in the polls and now it’s 40pc. The implication of this is that the National Front is the coming party, even if it falls short this time out.

For Ireland, this is crucial because the National Front’s key economic policy is withdrawal from the euro. Ms Le Pen — rightly — identifies the euro being a significant anvil around the neck of the French economy. Since joining the euro, the French economy has faltered while across the border Germany has prospered. The French budget deficit and debt ratios have worsened, while unemployment has risen for the youth.

And as Ms Le Pen has toned down the explicitly racist tones of the old National Front, this has made the Front much more acceptable to the young French voters.

If French young people do sweep Ms Le Pen into power and she takes France out of the euro, a financial whirlwind will be visited on us. If the French leave, everyone will ask who is next. And this will prompt capital flight from eurozone countries to Germany, which would obviously be a safe haven in this storm.

So while we worry about who will be the next leader of Fine Gael, maybe the real action is playing out on the streets of Marseilles, Lyon and Rouen. An upset in France would have a bigger impact here than Brexit, Trump or indeed our own election. Now that truly is a bizarre situation.


  1. McCawber

    Good morning all.
    Given its’ climate, France should be doing a lot better.
    Why isn’t it?
    Therein lies La Pens’ advantage, just not this time maybe.
    Why isn’t it?
    Obviously simplification is necessary.
    1. Immigration is a huge, huge issue.
    The phrase disruptive comes to mind. Right now, in France, immigration is the most disruptive societal issue and by a big margin.
    The disruption this is bringing is giving the La Pens of this world a major boost.
    And they (immigration and la pen) aren’t going away.
    Immigration is the major issue in the EU. Hiding behind PC liberalism, the solution so far, hasn’t and isn’t working.
    Why isn’t it working.
    Simple answer, real employment is falling and as the robot’s rise continues, unemployment rates will continue to rise.
    In that situation who in their right mind is going to welcome more competition for dwindling jobs?
    The “lads” need to wake up and smell the roses.
    BTW I wish they’d leave the clocks on summertime.

  2. McCawber

    The IRB – International Rugby Board are probably going to increase the residency period from three years to five years for international qualification status.
    The French pushed hard for this change and it appeared were going to move unilaterally, if necessary.
    A straw in the wind maybe but…..

  3. Deco

    French civilization from the ascendancy of Richelieu to the defeat of Bonaparte was the most over-rated, debacles of European History. And there, front and centre of the entire project, was the idea that France was special, that France was at the centre of all the action.

    In other words, Europe would have been far safer, had France been more like the Netherlands or Austria or Britain in that time period. (all three were less agressive, more prosperous, and less inclined to murder their own citizens in moments of madness).

    There would not have been the once in a generation all out militaristic episodes. There would not have been the grand illusions of “grandeur” and of a special class to lead a special country, to a special place (at great cost to the ordinary people that that country).

    I am saying that France takes itself far too seriously. It is far too centralised to be a healthy society. It is far too easily controlled to be stable.

    Unfortunately, some of the most supreme assess in Irish politics has spent years idolising France. CJ Haughey, and Ruairi Quinn in particular spring too mind, as lovers of both the centralization of power, and lecturing “les paysans”, with loaded hypocrisy. At ome point, I think Haughey might even have convinced himself that he won the Tour de France.

    France has gone nowhere, since De Gaulle. The Mitterand Revolution, was similar to the Cowen years in Ireland, in that the state decided it knew how to run the banks, and just about everything.

    France needs to “shift expectations”. The younger generation placing great hope in Le Pen (La Nouvelle Bonaparte) are being led up the garden path. Le Pen is correct about the problem, but not about the solution. Macron is wrong about the problem, but right about some elements of the solution. Only Fillon grasps both the solution and the problem – but if he did win, he would be a lame duck, because the entire French institutional state will refuse to co-operate with him.

    Because at the centre of all the incapability in France, is an overly centralised, over-sized, obese institutional state system. A state system that would rather engage externally in stupidity, than internally in reform.

    And that has been the case since Richelieu first engineered a strong French state, with a sovereign ruler, and a handful of helpers, and a professional class of administrators in the 1600s.

    And guess what – Ireland has the same cocktail mix for producing failure.

    The insiders running Ireland, admired France so much, that they created a mini-French institutional state on the Liffey.

    Jack O’Connor is definitely not one of Les Anglo-saxons. Neither in Micheal D. Higgins, or Michael Martin, or even Simon Coveney.

    Ever want to know why Ireland did not become a second Netherlands, after escaping from the old empire – just look at the morons running the institutional state, who always preferred “grandeur” to economy.

    Consequences are cruel, and the consequences of the illusions provided by both the French right and the French left are now producing dire results. I do not think that there is a Steve Bannon angle here – though like Macron, Bannon was on the payroll of a powerful bank that is not keen on authority.

    Unfortunately, Fillon, a very flawed individual, leading a very corrupt political machine, understands what is required, and represents the only path available.

    In Ireland, Fillon does not even register. In France he is a busted flush – taken out of the picture by Le Canard Enchaine (in what some suspect was a hit job ).

    France has a tendency to be presented with the option of reform, and to instead maintain it’s gand illusions, until the crisis becomes so serious, that a revolution follows.

    In the interests of Ireland, which is now weighed under by a powerful instututional state, to the detriment of every aspect of Irish life, we need to make sure that we do not blunder down the same path of failure.

    Prediction – the France admirers running Ireland, will lead us to down the same path to ruin.

    • EugeneN

      The solution therefore is more anglo saxonism? More deregulations of banks? A smaller State? I think we’ve seen how that has worked out.

      • Deco

        Alright, let’s discuss.

        When the Financial crisis hit, the banks who lied, should have been asked to carry the consequences. Unfortunately, politicians and media worked to create the sense of the “sky falling down” and showed through bailouts. This became ECB policy. Except in Cyprus. But the interests there, who carried the pain did not have the French President, or the Germany CDU party in their pocket. [ If you doubt me, check the behaviour of leading CDU politicians in Hesse, before the crisis erupted - after it erupted, the scandals stopped being reported - in the interests of the system ].

        So, let’s discuss this myth about France being less reliant on Finance than Britain. Which infers the assumption that France makes something. French manufacturing output has been declining in recent years. That 34 hour week, the unions, the various stealth taxes, and that big fat state. Britain, did not lose manufacturing specifically, in the 1980s due to Thatcher. Britain lost manufacturing in the 1970s due to unions, Japanese competition, and bad management. Before Thatcher came to power manufacturing in Britain was in serioous trouble. Thatcher simply decided that the charade had to end, because it was wasting resources. Remember Britain brought in the IMF in 1975, whilst France was still in the glow of De Gaulle and Les Trentes Gloireuses. There were power shortages in Britain in the 1970s, thanks to the unions. Currently, Britain is surpassing ( a stagnant) France at car manufacturing, admittedly with Japanese management. But it works.

        So that cliche is pulled apart. Yet, I hear it repeated endlessly as if it has some currency. It doesn’t.

        Now, back to finance. With their pal Trichet dropping interest rates to bubble-creating levels, French banks and insurers loaned money to Greece, to Ireland and to Spain. The Brits loaned to themselves, for another debt bubble under Phony Tony. With the exception of RBoS (which collapsed after taking over ABN Amro, and finding out it was a dud) the Brits went about fixing their balance sheets. Significant losses were absorbed. There were bailouts. And there were firesales. However, they dealt with it, in a more adult manner than their previous behaviour.

        What did French banks do ? they sent Sarkozy around Europe, using EU power to bully Greece into a bailout program that Sarkozy himself admitted was not in the interests in Greece. He showed up in a panic in Dublin, lest Ireland prevent the sort of power grab that he needed. We also seen Trichet (who should have been jailed 15 years ago) bully Ireland into bailing out UNSECURED bank debtors. And then there was the financing of the Spanish banking system from the ECB.

        You see, if you buy the hard sell, about France being superior because France is highly regulated, you miss some very important aspects.

        Capitalism is NOT as safe space. For some to suceed, some must lose. It is a space for grown ups. And when French Banking and Insurance companies lost, through laziness, and ineptitude, they were able to use political means to get their losses absorbed.

        This is exactly the sort of illusion that exists in France, and that I have repeatedly railed against. And it is wrecking the very power structures that French finance is trying to sell as being worthy.

        The Brits acknowledge that some firms fail and some lose. Northern Rock crashed, and the depositors got their money. But the financial creditors got no such hugs.

        That AngloSaxonism is not taking any of your hard earned money, without your consent. It is like as if Magna Carta seeped into the arrangement.

        But French Finance has screwed Irish taxpayers, and Greek taxpayers, for a generation. With full approval from the ECB, and the EU, and the corrupt FF party (plus their nasty little GP sidekick).

        I figured I would let you know how that has worked out.

        Finance is a risky business, for grown ups. Banks are required to accept responsibility for making loans that are not worth being issued. Except when the banks/insurers are French.

        To be honest, I have seen through the illusion that is presented by France. Unfortunately, the French themselves have not yet dislodged the delusions provided by France.

        Those that cannot reform, will someday run into a crisis, and then will have to endure a revolution.

        France has been building a crisis for decades. At some stage it will reupt in chaos.

        Jaques Delors created the illusion of the current EU central planning economy, just after the USSR version collapsed in a heap. It was monumental nonsense. It was supposed to contain a newly expanded Germany. It failed in that regard, because of the actions of Trichet in the ECB, who mismanaged monetary policy.

        We picked the wrong architect. We should have picked a Swiss. Or a Brit. [ I am ruling out an Irish chief - because Irish politics is so utterly corrupt].

        Less centralism, less control, less monumental blunders. Less of the stupidity that is now wrecking Europe, and which gets worse every year.

        The leadership in Europe have created a massive Frankenstein, and they do not know how to handle it. it is a monumnet to the triumph of absurd love of vision-making, over common sense.

      • McCawber

        The solution is good regulation.
        What we have is regulation for the sake of regulation – pure optics and no substance.
        Nothing has changed – well nothing that’s good.
        The citizens of Ireland are even more exposed than the last time.
        The next time, their savings (bail in legislation) will be burned and the bond holders still won’t have to worry.

    • Grzegorz Kolodziej

      “French civilization from the ascendancy of Richelieu to the defeat of Bonaparte was the most over-rated, debacles of European History. And there, front and centre of the entire project, was the idea that France was special, that France was at the centre of all the action.”

      I’d say that it was the French Revolution that has had the most detrimental effect on the once great French culture. The problem with French culture is that a) they lack basic realisation of what the French Revolution really was (and those French who did were always unpopular in France) and b) despite their talk about equality and modernism, France is actually quite closed to outside influences, except for Russian (a romance going back to 19th century, since the Russians actually invaded Paris – a word ‘bistro’ came from it – a Stockholm syndrom?). German culture for example is much more open to outside influences, though it has another problem: the Germans are usually unable to grasp the arguments different to their own, and yet embark on the “Besserwisser” attitude, as seen in that debate:

      (still, someone like Ms Rybinska would not be invited to Irish TV – because no one would ever pay TV license anymore if they had a choice between Aleksandra Rybinska and Marian Finucane; neither she would be invited to an English TV: because after hearing Ms Rybinska, someone as stupid as Mr Piers Morgan would have to be put down lest he contaminates England with his stupid genes; btw, not only Mr Morgan has an IQ of an ape, he is also mentally unstable: when losing a debate with Mr Santorum, he asked him ‘how would you like your teenage daughter to be raped?’).

      Regarding the French Revolution, probably the best and most accurate account on it comes from Tocqueville and his “Ancient Regime and Revolution”. He describes, analysing various laws, how a) centralisation of the French monarchy created suitable conditions for the Revolution and b) how revolution resulted in exacerbating the problems it was supposed to alleviate, leading to the level of state’s control and centralisation that pre-revolution peasants could not have even imagined possible. Also, Irishman Edmund Burke was first in the world to recognise the true nature of the French Revolution, writing in his book that while he had supported the US revolution, the French revolution would lead to terror. Burke has also grasped what most of the Irish academia (or precisely so called humanists) still do not grasp, namely that the ideology of human rights (replacing religion and tradition) would facilitate terror by providing the conceptual apparatus to justify it. Lenin, who was wrong on everything except on how to bring a state to the state of anarchy and then implement terror aimed at solving the problem the likes of him have created (for not only Lenin was financed by Prussia, but also Trotsky got all his rabid ideas from Prussian intelligence captain Parvus, before he went to the US and was financed by Wall Street), wrote that for revolution to happen, three conditions have to be satisfied:

      1. There has to be a revolutionary situation.
      2. There has to a foreign empire interested in using that situation and
      3. There has to be a group of people ready to use the above two and take over the state by the means of terror.

      In pre-revolutionary France, the second condition was satisfied by one John Law from Scotland advising the French monarch to finance his (that is state’s) debt via fiat (primarily state bonds) which created hyperinflation which then led to the prerevolutionary situation. As to the first condition, it is often forgotten that the dissatisfaction in France didn’t actually start with plebs, but with middle-classes impoverished by inflation and egged on by onanistic writings of Rousseau towards demanding greater share [I don’t mean it as a figure of speech – if you ever read his “Confessions”, you would know that he came up with an idea of nature unspoiled by civilisation that is supposed to be intrinsically good while lying on the raft in the middle of a lake and masturbating; generally, I believe that roughly speaking, 90% of world’s great literature came from love triangles: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Goethe, Balzac, Flaubert, Chekhov, “The Doll” by Boleslaw Prus – in my opinion the best fiction book of the 20th century; and that the remaining 10% resulted from prolonged bouts of masturbation espousing self-centrism masked as “higher awareness”: Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Nietzsche, Fichte (father of modern nationalism, for nationalism as a philosophy came from Germany – including into Poland and Ireland, via England), “Mein Kampf” (they say that Hitler was a virgin until his late 30s), Alan Ginsberg – whom I remember coming down to Silesia in early 1990s with some Indian half-naked boy and leaving us rather disappointed in the quality of his egotistic poetry; and that the literature that was occasioned by love triangles is usually much more profound and a better read too than that which ensued after masturbation – although this is not at all to say that I think that love triangles are morally preferable for they are not – I’m merely saying a more profound literature came out of it; naturally, I am still talking about works of fiction – economic columns or collected works of Alfred Tarski do not fall into that simplified division.

      For France, the French Revolution brought the gradual decline of the once dominant French culture, which has reached its peak in 17th century, with intellectuals such as Descartes, Arnould and Pascal, and top composers like Lully and Rameau, the best of their era without a doubt – here is a great excerpt from Rameau’s ‘Hippolyte et Aricie’ (Act 4 – ‘La Chasse’):

      ; that was the time when it had huge influence on Polish baroque culture (lots of French words entered the Polish language at that time – more than in English, and unlike Latin and French expressions in English, they are pronounced correctly in Polish – i.e. in English, déjà vu is pronounced incorrectly; some phrases in Polish even retained French semantics: i.e. ‘gwózdz sezonu’ is a translation of French ‘clou de la saison’ and ‘krzyk mody’ – ‘cri de la mode’).
      Baroque references is what most differentiates Polish literature from Russian literature – that is all Polish literature except for romanticism displays a huge self-distance typical of baroque – usually achieved by the use of hyperboles and oscillating between tragic and comic, while Russian doesn’t (i.e. neither Dostoevsky nor Tolstoy, both great writers, produced any sense of humour in their works – let alone self-irony).

      Actually, was 17th century was a second peak of French culture, because the first one was reached in 13th century – the music and poetry of Machaut and François Villon (then Europe’s prime intellectual, who visited Kraków in 1364 when monarchs from all over Europe took part in a feast that was half-poetic contest, half-diplomacy meeting – in the Wierzynek restaurant on Main Square – still standing – which lasted 21 days; topics discussed were the same as today: balance of powers in Europe and answering to the Turkish threat). It was from France that all white people took the idea of a romantic love – men from lower classes unable to lay their hands on damsels from upper-classes and therefore forced to sublimate their libido in the form of poetry: something which Islam or Asian cultures never went through.

      Furthermore, for Europe, the French revolution brought the idea of total war: in Middle Ages, you had paintings depicting famous battles with peasants working on their fields in the background unbothered because war was considered monarch’s issue, and people – btw, most armies consisted of foreigners - went to take part in it because they were paid for it (i.e. the crusades were largely financed by Italian towns to open up new markets), not because they were conscribed (the first revolutionary, Cromwell, abandoned that noble practice of war being carried between the armies, not between populations, by beating the bejaysus of every town that opposed him, regardless of what nationality – English Catholics situation was no less shitty than the Irish).

      I remember reading in secondary school how the citizens of Nurnberg paid Napoleon 200,000 ducats in gold so that he would not liberate them; similarly, citizens of San Marino paid Napoleon so that he wouldn’t check whether human rights are observed in their city-state.

      To find out about how much French culture has declined since the Revolution, let’s look at 20th century: who do we have among French crème de la crème? The most famous French scientist of the 20th century is Maria Sklodowska-Curie – a Pole. The most famous French philosopher of the 20th century is Sartre – who is basically a copy of Heidegger, but shallow and with a better pen [interestingly, the real best French philosopher of the 20th century – Poincare – is unknown in France, and so are Tocqueville and Raymond Aron; I know that you could add the great Henri Bergson to that, but come on – Bergson was not really French, he was a Polish Jew – his family came from Poland and their name was Zbytkower: I doubt that he owes much to France when it comes to intellectual stimulation (he was most influenced by Spinoza), neither he was really appreciated in France (as far as I remember, he died because he was handed in by them to Gestapo)]. The most famous French composer of the second half of the 20th century – Pierre Boulez – went to live in Germany and spoke more in German than in French, and it is interesting that despite being a communist country, it was Poland that had the festival of avant-garde music – Warsaw Autumn, not France (in French concert halls the avant-garde in music didn’t really take roots). Ok, there is Debussy, one of my top three favourite composers, apart from Chopin (also not French) and Wagner – but even Debussy was influenced by Wagner – he even used the Tristan chord in one of his piano pieces – even though his music differs from Wagnerian so much thanks to chamber dimensions and the whole-tone scale. The most famous French ballet of the 20th century (Diaghilev) was Russian. In 17th century, France was world’s centre of mathematics – in the between-wars period, this place was taken over by Poland (the Lvov mathematic school and the Lvov-Warsaw school of philosophy and logic) – France is still approximately 100 years behind to England, Poland and even once backward Scandinavia when it comes to semantics (Sweden was, for most of its history, so backward and poor that when they invaded Poland in 17th century, they were ordered to take any iron they could lay their hands on – the town I was born in is was mocked “Swedes” by rival towns because a huge Swedish garrison was stationed there and many of them didn’t come back to Sweden).

      I do agree with David McWilliams that “France’s literature, arts, cinema and philosophy is unique”, but with a caveat that they – except for cinema – capitalise on their great past, and that while French philosophy is unique, it is not in a good sense. When it comes to French literature, I actually quite like it: Moliere, Flaubert, Balzac – but these are all people rooted in the prerevolutionary past (I also read all volumes of Marcel Proust in secondary school, but only enjoyed the first volume; I soon came to the conclusion that writing such literature is a result of excessive masturbation resulting from problems in mating rather than from a particular urge towards the avant-garde). The French were very strong in visual arts all right – the whole stream starting with Manet and Monet via Cezanne and Matisse; but then again, this was largely because the retreat from figurative art was being promoted by American money (first in the 1920s Paris, and then in the 1940s/1950s). Personally, I prefer the other stream starting from Munch and continuing in painters such Hopper, Grant Wood or – nomen omen – Frenchman Bonnard (but inspired by Japanese painting). But look at theatre – what’s was French contribution to world’s theatre in the second half of 20th century? Just about zero – the centre of theatrical world moved to Edinburgh (with a Pole Tadeusz Kantor being the main star), London (Brook) and the US (where theatre was most influenced by another Pole, Jerzy Grotowski, who is even the main theme in perhaps the best philosophical movie of all times – “My dinner with Andre”). But there is one genre in which French were very strong in the second half of the 20th century: they were the only ones who came up with an idea of an “artistic porn” (interestingly, I clearly remember that 1980s Polish television once showed it late in the evening; btw – the first time tits were shown in a Polish movie was by Kalina Jedrusik in 1960s (does anyone know who and when first showed tits in an Irish movie?), which was condemned in the Parliament by the First Secretary Wladyslaw Gomulka – but he was soon overthrown and since then you couldn’t stop Polish actresses showing their tits in films until it became so normal as the President of Ireland praising the dictatorship Fidel Castro, a man who managed to turn Cuba – in 1900 second richest country in the western hemisphere – to the poorest). But because France is on its way to become a caliphate, that’ll soon be gone too, believe you me.

      • coldblow


        I don’t know the first programme to show topless actresses in Ireland. I came here in 1987 and didn’t get a telly for a year. I didn’t have it long when RTE showed Greta Scacchi getting her kit off in The Ebony Tower, but that was all right because it was art. When I was a teenager BBC2 used to show mildly risqué Fremch films at the weekend, one of them having Jeanne Moureau say: ‘I come from Paris where the pink and white rooftops are.’ My school friends also remembered the line. I don’t think the telly shows such films any more. I don’t know because I don’t watch it, but people get their pornography on line.

        Speaking of which one of the defining moments in recent Irish history came around 1989 or 90 when peronograpny became respectable overnight with an educational video tape, one of those sex manuals. The Late Late, as I remember, joked about it and one Saturday afternoon I noticed it on open sale in a furniture shop. I suppose this was a seen as further evidence of Ireland’s overdue coming to maturity and openness to the wider world. I read later that the actors and actresses were not the ordinary people they purported to be but professional porn stars.

      • Deco

        I actually looked at some documentaries covering the French Revolution a few months back.

        And this gave some interesting insights.

        The French Revolution, occurred after a hereditary monarchy, ran out of money and grain.

        Like Ireland currently, it was a highly centralized state with loads of legal exemptions for those who managed to fix the system.

        Like Russia in 1917, the peasantry had reached to point of no return.

        Like America in 1776, the wealthy did not want to be taxed.

        The crux moment was in the aftermath of the meeting of the Three Estates.

        And the representatives of the Third Estate decided to out-sell an even bigger illusion than the other two were selling, to the populace. It was like as if they wanted power so badly, they launched themselves into the greatest of promises. And the people absorbed the promises so eagerly, they co-operated.

        The result was chaos. And to maintain order various promises had to be kept (and others dropped). The end result was a military dictatorship.

        The most interesting aspect was the build up.

        It is interesting that you should mention John Law. That was financial mismanagement, and resource misallocation. France was mismanaged for decades before the Revolution.

        The comparison with other countries was remarkable. All of the others went through various phases of adaptation, and reform. In the Netherlands, and Switzerland, it was continual. In Britain it increased as time progressed, to the point that the Parlaiment. In Austria, it started after the accession of Maria Theresa. In Russia, it happened under Catherine the Great.

        But France simply stumbled along on an unsustainable path, entertaining numerous illusions, until everything was a mess. The eventual outcome was clearly default.

        Default was avoided, but there was a societal implosion instead.

        There is a lesson there.

        Call it the earthquake model of how to mismanage a society.

        Macron will be presented as the man who must win. But if he wins, he will only perfom like Hollande, and esnure an even larger FN vote in the next election.

        This is why I am saying that France needs a Fillon, regardless of his suspect jobs for family members scandal, and the unbearable corruption of this political party. France is running out of time, with respect to it’s financial predicament, and living expenses.

        Fillon is the one most prepared to fix French Finances. He is their Jacques Neckar. If Fillon gets ditched, there will be a Le Pen in the Elysee Palace eventually.

        The French left, are now in the position of the aristocracy, make ridiculous demands of the rest of society, and need to be cornered, or else there will be a massive crisis in the future.

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          I do wonder though whether John Law came to France on his own accord or was he sent. Even in Irish history, as far as I remember one of the reasons the Earls who fled Ireland didn’t come back reinforced with the power of the Spanish armada because the King of Spain was allegedly poisoned by an English spy in his court (whether
          Spanish occupation would have been that much better is another thing – personally I cannot bear thinking that the Irish might have been speaking Spanish instead of English; and emigrating to Mexico instead of the US and England? Jee-jaysus…

          As to Russia, Russia had a very short period of very fast development (roughly between 1905-1914) related to Stolypin reforms. It’s hard to fathom how different country Russia might have been if it was not for WWI and – to a much bigger extent – the Bolshevik Revolution (France and Prussia also had WWI, and look at them). With fast economic development came a very fast cultural development – after all Chekhov wrote at that time (this was the first time Russian literature had something like a sense of humour). Art was booming in Russia at that time – painting, music; and there was a cultural exchange between St Petersburg and western capitals, unknown before (it actually reached the stage whereby the main collector of works of Mattisse lived in St Petersburg).

          Like I said, this was a short period – after the 1905 Revolution (so it was useful for something after all – btw, Pilsudski came back from it too) which liberalised the economy and politics to 1914. As all these forces who brought about the 1905 revolution were controlled by Ochrana, one should ask a question whether the 1905 revolution was in fact not brought about by the monarchy itself (how else do you modernise a country in a country like Russia?), but no one asks this question – even though all serious historians agree that basically all these revolutionary movements were controlled by the state.

          True, this development was – like today – limited to St Petersburg and Moscow, but the US also started as a poor country. When you say that ” Russia in 1917, the peasantry had reached to point of no return”, this has to be completed by two important caveats.

          1. The Bolsheviks promised the peasants land and that they would turn them from servants into rich farmers. In those times of simple values and honesty among the poor (combined with propensity to violence only moderated by religion), noone could fathom that the papers that they handed them would prove worthless.

          2. Saying that 1917 was some sort of a culmination might sound a little bit misleading, as this might implicate some amplitude that peaked in 1917 and then eased off. However, the true poverty period was not 1917, but between 1919 and NEP. Compared to that period, 1917 felt like a prosperity period, but no one knew it the time – production output during WWI in Russia was actually much higher than after the war (i.e. the steel production after 1917 was between 2-3% of that in 1914!), and WWI didn’t bring the mass famine that the Revolution brought (everyone apart from perhaps the Irish President knows about the Ukrainian Famine in 1930s, but much fewer people know that up to 2 million people died in Russian cities as a result of famine brought by collectivisation – hence the necessity of NEP and inviting people like Henry Ford to invest in Russia).

          As to modernisation of Prussia, I said it many times, but it is forgotten, that all that modernisation of Prussia was possible thanks to annexing well devoloped parts of Poland in 18th century (Russia of Catherine the Great took over 80% of Polish territory, and Austria the rest).
          Before that, Prussia was basically a barren wasteland, politically a vassal of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, educationally primitive, with very infertile soil, that the English had to lavish with huge credits in order to maintain the aggressive plans of their fellow protestants towards then the most powerful Catholic state in Europe which has just defeated Turkey.

          To put things into perspective – one custom house in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania was bringing more income than the entire Prussian state!

          This has changed after the partitions of Poland, on which Prussia benefitted the most – even though Russia took much more territory.

          This is the key to success of Prussian ‘modernisation’ – a jump from a country like Albania today to a country like Prussia of the age of Frederic the Great.

          All that was left to do was to take over the properties of Polish noblety – and this was done via forced loans.

          P.S. A personal question – did you read The Ancient Regime and the Revolution? I really recommend it. It’s a book that seems boring at the beginning, but the more you read it, the more analogies you would find with the EU as run by the Carolingian Europe. Some quotes from it:

          “French sought reforms before liberties… They hate, not certain specific privileges, but all distinctions of classes; they would insist upon equality of rights in the midst of slavery. They respect neither contracts nor private rights; indeed, they hardly recognize individual rights at all in their absorbing devotion to the public good… They conceived all the social and administrative reforms effected by the Revolution before the idea of free institutions had once flashed upon their mind… Most of them were strongly opposed to deliberative assemblies, to local and subordinate authorities, and to the various checks which have been established from time to time in free countries to counterbalance the supreme government… French nation is prepared to tolerate in a government, that favors and flatters its desire for equality, practices and principles that are, in fact, the tools of despotism.”

          “Provincial liberties can subsist for a time without national liberty when those liberties are ancient and linked to habit, mores, and memories, while despotism is new. But it is unreasonable to think that one can create local liberties at will or even maintain them for long if general liberty is suppressed.”

          “People think that the destructive theories that nowadays go by the name “socialism” are of recent origin. This is a mistake: these theories were contemporaneous with the first Economists. While they employed the all-powerful government of their dreams as an instrument to change the forms of society, socialists imagined seizing the same power to undermine its base.”


          “I confess that, for my part, I disbelieve this steady decline of France during the first half of the eighteenth century; but the universality of the belief in it, even among those who were best fitted to judge, shows that no sensible progress was being made. All the public documents of the time which I have seen, in fact, indicate a sort of social lethargy. The government revolved in the old routine circle, creating nothing new; cities made hardly any effort to render the condition of their inhabitants more comfortable and more wholesome; no private enterprise of any magnitude was undertaken.
          They had embraced the ideal of a society in which the sole aristocracy would consist of public officials and a single, all-powerful administration would control the state and be the guardian of individuals. Although they wished to be free, they had no intention of abandoning this fundamental idea. They merely attempted to reconcile it with the idea of liberty. Hence, they sought to combine unlimited administrative centralization with a preponderant legislative body: bureaucratic administration and representative government. The nation as a body enjoyed all the rights of sovereignty, but each individual citizen was gripped in the tightest dependency. The experience and virtues of a free people were required of the former, the qualities of a good servant of the latter.”

          “Though the king used the language of a master, he was, in reality, the slave of public opinion. From public opinion he derived all his inspirations; he consulted it, feared it, flattered it. Absolute in theory, he was limited in practice. As early as 1784, Necker said in a public document, “Foreigners rarely realize the authority wielded by public opinion in France; they can not readily understand the nature of that invisible power which rules even over the royal palace. It does so, however.” He mentions the fact as a matter beyond dispute.
          It is a superficial error to ascribe the greatness and power of a nation to the mechanism of its legislation; for in this matter the product is due less to the perfection of the instrument than to the strength of the power used. Look at England; how much more complicated, and varied, and irregular do her laws seem than ours!r Yet where is the European nation whose public credit stands higher, or in which private property is more extensive, more varied, and safer, or society sounder or more opulent? The fact does not spring from the excellence of this or that law, but from the spirit which pervades the whole body of English legislation. The imperfection of special organs is immaterial, the vital spirit is so strong.

          Measurably with the increase of prosperity in [213] France, men’s minds grow more restless and uneasy; public discontent is imbittered; the hatred of the old institutions increases. The nation visibly tends toward revolution.

          More than this, those districts where progress makes the greatest strides are precisely those which are to be the chief theatre of the Revolution. The extant archives of the old district of Ile de France prove that the old regime was soonest and most thoroughly reformed in the neighborhood of Paris. In no other pays d’élection were the liberty and property of the peasant so well secured. Corvées had disappeared long before 1789. The taille was more moderate, more regular, more evenly distributed there than in any other part of France. A perusal of the law which reformed it in 1772 is absolutely essential to those who would understand how powerful an intendant could be, whether for good or for evil.


          Revolutions are not always brought about by a gradual decline from bad to worse. Nations that have endured patiently and almost unconsciously the most overwhelming oppression, often burst into rebellion against the yoke the moment it begins to grow lighter. The regime which is destroyed by a revolution is almost always an improvement on its immediate predecessor, and experience teaches that the most critical moment for bad governments is the one which witnesses their first steps toward reform. A sovereign who seeks to relieve his subjects after a long period of oppression is lost, unless he be a man of great genius. Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable, become intolerable when once the idea of escape from them is suggested. The very redress of grievances throws new light on those which are left untouched, and adds fresh poignancy to their smart: if the pain be less, the patient’s sensibility is greater.t Never had the feudal system seemed so hateful to the French as at the moment of its proximate destruction. The arbitrary measures of Louis XVI.—insignificant [215] as they were—seemed harder to bear than all the despotism of Louis XIV. The short imprisonment of Beaumarchais aroused more emotion in Paris than the Dragonnades.

          No one in 1780 had any idea that France was on the decline; on the contrary, there seemed to be no bounds to its progress. It was then that the theory of the continual and indefinite perfectibility of man took its rise. Twenty years before, nothing was hoped from the future; in 1780 nothing was feared. Imagination anticipated a coming era of unheard-of felicity, diverted attention from present blessings, and concentrated it upon novelties.

          Within the last twenty years the government had acquired an unwonted activity, and had taken part in all kinds of new enterprises. It had thus become the largest consumer of industrial products, and the greatest contractor in the kingdom. A prodigious increase had taken place in the number of those who had money relations with it, who were interested in its loans, [217] speculated in its bargains, or were its salaried servants. At no former period were private fortunes so deeply involved with the state finances. Bad financial management had formerly been a public evil, now it became disastrous to a thousand private families. In 1789 the state owed nearly 600 millions to creditors who were themselves in debt, and whose grievances were aggravated by the personal injury inflicted on them by the remissness of the state. And be it remarked that the irritation of this class of malcontents increased in proportion to their number; for a speculative mania, a thirst for riches, a taste for comfort spreading as business became extended, troubles of this kind appeared intolerable to those who, thirty years before, might have borne them without complaint.

          Hence it happened that capitalists, merchants, manufacturers, and other business men or financiers—who are usually the most conservative class of the community, and the stanchest supporters of government, and who will submit patiently to laws which they despise or detest—were now more impatient and more resolutely bent on reform than any other section of the people. They were especially determined on a revolution in the financial department, never dreaming that a radical change in that branch of the government must involve the ruin of the whole.
          How could a catastrophe have been avoided? On one side, a nation in which the desire for wealth increased daily; on the other, a government unceasingly engaged in exciting and disturbing men’s minds, now inflaming their avarice, now driving them to despair—rushing to its ruin by both roads.”

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          Unknown (in the West) key to Swedish rapid modernisation of 17th century:

          Basically, takover of:

          a) Baltic trade routes
          b) Advanced technology
          c) Gold
          d) Natural resources
          e) Demographic injection (captured women)
          f) Elimination of the main opponent on the trade route

          As to the Netherlands, this was the country that trully modernised – but this was possible thanks to being in the right place after the Great Geographic Discoveries and Amsterdam taking over trade from Polish Gdansk (Danzig).

          Trade is always the quickest way of getting rich if you have a fleet that can sink other fleets.

          And the French and the English did.

          If you look at the average diet of a middle-class Dutchman of that time, you will see that their wealth was unfathomable to a 20th century Dutchman.

          Even today, the cunny Dutch have the biggest intra-EU trade surplus (Germany has the biggest combined trade surplus – eastern Europe being their biggest market in the world for their products – Poland alone imports almost as much of German goods and England and Wales!).

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            And the French and the English did = the Dutch and the English

            I think that French strenght in all things fluid lied more what in Poland is called the “French sex” (here known as ‘oral’).
            Interestingly, veneric diseases in Poland was called “Franca”. There must have been a reason for it, there must have.

      • Hoggie

        GK – (does anyone know who and when first showed tits in an Irish movie?)

        The Spike 1978

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          Wow, that was late.
          In Poland, it was that lady (cannot remember the year, but it would have been mid-60s):

          She was a sex-addict in her private life too.

          Although I don’t of course count the WWII period, because the German Nazis would play porgnography in cinemas in the occupied lands all the time

        • McCawber

          Ulyses in ’60s.
          Bare arse McKenna (designated this name by the real dubs) tits and bare arse – cheating a bit, I know.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            I do actually think I have seen that movie (I read the book of course – in Poland people queued up for it and handed in bribes to bookshop assistants when it was first translated in 1960s; then Latin American literature became more popular in 1980s), so I must watch it and compare McKenna’s tits and bare arse with Jedrusik tits and bare arse.

            Btw, please, please watch that 2 min 40 sec excerpt from the 1944 (colour!) Nazi musical. While not naked, Marika Roekk’s sex appeal will blow your mind:


            (btw – how funny that Dr Goebbels, who supervised the production of that movie, had a Czech girl as the biggest love of his life: hypocrites those Nazis, werent’t they? – he only didn’t divorce Magda because Hitler tricked him into promising him that he would allow the divorce if Goebbels makes a last ditch effort to try once more with Magda and then if that doesn’t work out, he would be able to divorce Magda – I can only imagine Hitler making all of that up pressing his hand to his heart – and marry the beloved Czech; Goebbels agreed, and meanwhile Hitler deported the Czech actress). Goebbels actually wanted to marry Lida Baarova so much that he handed in his resignation!

            And a big star in 1930s Nazi musicals was a Polish singer Jan Kiepura. But that is not all – Kiepura’s mother was actually Jewish! Kiepura married a Hungarian and in 1937, they they got tired of singing in Germany (he also had contracts with Paris, London and Hollywood) and emigrated to the US.

            Here is Kiepura most famous song, from a movie for Berlin’s UFA (German Nazi girls – and there weren’t any other – would faint when they saw him on Berlin street):


          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            I do think I have seen = I don’t think I have seen

            Marika Rökk btw was not German either – she was a Hungarian born in Egypt. It was almost as if to be a star in a Nazi musical you had to be non-German. Furthermore, to make her more sexi for the German audience, in her appearances she cultivated her Hungarian accent. Her daughter Gabriele Jacoby was a very famous actress in Austria.

            Btw, the famous The Temptation of St. Anthony silent movie from the year 1900 features a completely naked girl, while the 1911 Italian film ‘Dante’s Inferno’ feature frontal naked female and male scenes (imagine the shock!).

            Nowadays, even commercials are pornographic. It actually went so far that Playboy – once a big symbol (you’d be surprised how often this magazine featured in socialist Poland comedies of 1970s and 80s, usually lying on a desk of a Party apparatchik) came with an idea of not having any naked pictures and focusing on interviews.

            I wonder how much this overstimulation with pornography is responsible for the fact that European men have only half of spermazoids that they had 100 years ago.

            And the gas thing is that the next stage might be a complete opposite of that – Sharia law: a bit like transition from democracy to tyranny in Plato’s Republic

  4. terryhewett

    A superb summation of Ireland’s situation by Fintan O’Toole.

    Ireland’s Love Triangle

    • Deco

      Sweeping imagery, and imaginative emotive button pressing, by Fintan O’Toole.

      As expected it is another sales pitch, for heaven on earth, via loads of warm fuzzy feelings, and contempt for an image created as the only possible alternative.

      Fibber O’Toole, at his very best.

      The problem is that we want something better.

      He never once considered that excessive centralization might be the problem. He never once mentioned that the EU since 1992 has been underperforming, when debt accumulation is removed from the economy – in an era when other economic regions have been smashing growth targets, and overcoming significant impediments.

      The EU is now a sales pitch for that which is too dysfunctional to operate effectively.

      The British have figured that out. In fact the populace in man countries have figured it out. Berating them, is making matters worse.

  5. Deco

    Alright, Steve Bannon.

    A certain Irish oligarch (he who will not be spoken negatively about) donated Millions to the Clinton Foundation. Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach when a sum of money, many times larger was donated to the Clinton Foundation – this time funded by PAYE taxpayers.

    Steve Bannon threw a massive spanner in the works. And that money will not be returned to the donors.

    America deserved better than the scandal loaded Clintons. But consider those that are needed a particular result, and then observed the opposite result.

    There is a stinging pain.

    Even worse with a minority government, on a knife edge, and loads of Auntie Awsterity elements in Kildare Street ready to pounce, any new debt write down, will result in a massive PR debacle.

    For this reason, Trump, and his backroom team has earned a regular thumping in the Irish media, and from Official Ireland. Team Trump have complicated matters greatly for somebody.

    Any politician who wants to make it in Ireland knows that they cannot be hateful enough, on Trump’s backroom team, and on Trump – if they want earn positive media coverage.

    And by inference if anybody endorses Trump, they get destroyed. It is predictable.

    Steve Bannon he has interfered in something. Something about which there is no discussion in Ireland. Even though it is in documentaries like “Clinton cash”. Instead get behind ‘bread and circuses’.

    Think about what happens when Vincent Browne mentions the Tribunal that nobody is supposed to mention, for fear of getting a legal letter, telling them to shut up talking about the tribinal.

    The Tribunal that did not result in somebody going to prison.

    Instead, let’s talk about Trump and Bannon, as being the end of the world.

    Bannon was cruel in his relentless push against the Clinton Foundation. He was protected by US free speech laws. And the facts in any case, spoke volumes. The facts are in a documentary, in case you are interested.

    It is called Clinton Cash.

    Team Trump’s commentary earned him a response from those whom he questioned. From those who were wounded.

    “It is payback time”

  6. McCawber

    Only read the first line of this article. A very short simple question and everyone thinks their job can’t be performed by a robot near you
    The French might be right.
    35 hour weeks are way too long.
    The only problem really is to get the rest of the world on board.

  7. Deco

    Q. Why is Stephen Bannon so hated in the Irish media ?

    A. Bannon is behind the documentary “Clinton Cash”.

    The documentary “Clinton Cash” makes damning insights into donors to the Clinton Foundation.

    This is something that never gets any Irish media commentary. But it definitely has relevance to Ireland. Because Ireland donated so much to it.

    Now, you have been instructed to hate Bannon, repeatedly by the Irish media.

    Judge for yourself. Here is Bannon, who directed “Clinton Cash”, with his perspective as a director.

    This is the man you are instructed to hate.

    Is Stephen Bannon really the problem ? I don’t think so. Stephen Bannon has given us an insight into the problem. Bannon cannot be threatened to stop commenting about somebody dodgyd, unlike certain Irish politicians, and Irish journalists.

    Our taxes ended up in the Clinton Foundation. An Irish oligarch is mentioned in the documentary. Therefore you might be interested, and you might wish to move this along.

  8. Deco

    The French state has been advocating the centralization of power in the EU for a long time, because that is how the French run matters. And that approach has failed, in both the EU, and in France itself.

    Macron offer continuation, of both failing approaches, along with buzzwords like ecology, social media, digital transformation, etc… Le Pen offers continued centralization in France, and decentralization from Brussels. Fillon offers less control within France, and no difference at EU level (at least for some time).

    When the French start to lose enthusiasm for the racket, and that is something that they designed, then it is already too late to get concerned. At that point in time, the mess is too apparent.

    The entire goal of even closer obedience to the central planning politburo, is failing.

    France will probably vote in Macron. He is a novice. He means well, but so too did Hollande. Like Louis XV, Hollande leaves a legacy of lost opportunities, more debt, an institutional mess, and many interesting romantic liasons. Both are incapable of offending those that need to be told that their illusions are not feasible, anymore.

    In other words, Macron, like Hollande is an expression of the French attachment to illusion. In Ireland FF, and the LP express the same illusion. The EU is part of that illusion. So is the competetence of ‘dirigisme’ and the Common Agricultural Policy with the British outside the EU.

    Ask a French national about the current predicament, and they will tell you that France is hobbling along from crisis to crisis – with nobody having the courage to put the country on track.

    France is holding a set of illusions that can no longer be afforded. Indeed, the same could easily be stated about the entire EU, as a whole.

    But France is exceptional, in terms of the scale of it’s illusions.

    In Ireland, it would serve us well, to ignore posturing political centralizers selling us a path towards imitating the French. Apart from the nonsense factor,much of what they advocate simply does not work.

  9. Deco

    In 2018, you will have

    Schulz running Germany,
    Grillo (or a member of his movement) in charge in Italy,
    Macron running France,
    Phil Hogan in the EU Commission,
    and probably Juncker running the EU Commission.

    It will be as mad as a box of frogs. It will be chaos. An absolute mess. With Beppe Grillo as the clown in the centre ring.

    The Eastern Europeans will be continually infuriated at the level of stupidity coming from the above circus.

    Ireland needs to plan an exit from this unfolding failure scenario. That means a plan to join Britain with a continuation of the trading scenario that existed for decades before 1972. Nobody in the Irish establishmnet will dare admit it.

    But we need to have a plan Exit, so that we can extricate ourselves from an EU run by incompetence, ineptitude, nonsense, failure and pretence – all at a level in excess at even that which we have witnessed to date.

    • McCawber

      The present Dail is full of people and their supporters who like freebies.
      They are incapable of recognising that the EU is simply a 3 card trick never mind a 3 ring circus

      • Deco

        Their entire political machinery is build around the provision of something for nothing, at other people’s expense.

        They compete, by trying to sell more ridiculous promises to the voters.

        And unfortunately, the media response has been to give a platform to those hat most readily serve the media.

  10. coldblow

    The distinction between the legal concept of a country and the real country is obvious and common sense to ordinary people.

    David seems to have switched from the ‘racist’ Trump to the implied ‘anti-semite’ Bannon. Last month I got into an online argument with a man who made a series of charges against Trump. I told him I didn’t believe them and asked him to back them up, saying I’d change my mind if he could find evidence. None was produced.

    I have never heard of Maurras and I spent a few minutes researching his links to Bannon, starting off with Wiki and ending up in the Huffington Post (I think) where it turns out he said something somewhere according to French media sources. It is hardly convincing.

    As for Trump’s core support being fat old men people from the Rust Belt I don’t believe that either. The media bias against Trump is not new although it is more hysterical than ever. Here is John Ziegler on media bias in Obama’s election:

    “There are three questions on this list that a group of monkeys, if that had been guessing, would have done better than the Obama voters did.”

    Sandusky is conducting a one-man campaign to clear the names of Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno in the Penn State witch hunt.

    The French Revolution is an interesting subject and one that is lost in mythology. Still, it is hard to fully sanitize an outbreak of madnees that led to the decapitation of so many thousands. And talk about madness. The Cult of Reason, for example, the state run atheistic religion.

    • coldblow

      Corection: Ziegler is conducting this campaign.

      Cult of Reason. Even Wiki can’t make this look like anything than looney.

    • Deco

      Actually, the (so-called) cult of reason, had a Deity. And it seems that Maximillien Robespierre alone was able to channel the godly will of the Supreme Being,to the people.

      Robespierre started as the political authority, and then postured as the religious prophet.

      Robespierre ordered a new calendar, declaring the standard calendar to be obsolete. And at the centre point of the calendar, was the special day in reverence for the supreme being. The main event of the day was Robespierre making a public appearance in a festival type scenario.

      At taht point, many people publicly moved to express concerns that Robespierre was now undeniably unhinged from reality. Before then, many had suspected it, but nobody dared to state it publicly.

      It was not athiest. It was more a case of anti-Christian, and support of a new model of combined all embracing system of total authority.

      It is surprising how many people tolerate this concept.

      • coldblow

        I don’t know much about it. I got the ‘atheist’ description from Wiki which (as expected) takes pains to dispute cast doubt on contemporary reports that porstitutes were hired to desecrate churches. The Anti-Christian aspect is of course to be expected and still holds true today. Deism was in vogue at the time. I don’t think there are any Deists left as they are just atheists or agnostics now.

        I have an old bronze French coin from the period in my coin collection from my childhood and was always struck by the way it has ‘L’an x [can’t remember, say 7) de la Révolution’ instead of a conventional date. So I knew from age 12 that they were nutcases. The attack on tradition, traditional authority and customs, has been going on in many ways. I assume the metric system was intended by the French as more rational and an improvement on inherited measurements even though those had evolved to suit human needs. The thing about utopians is that human wishes and needs are rejected as superstitious and backwards.

        Of course, Ireland couldn’t wait to display its modern, rationalist credentials when it abolished road signs in mph. I know it is a criminal offence to use pounds and ounces when selling goods in Britain (around 2001, give or take a couple of years, a fruit and veg. stall holder in Sunderland was prosecuted for doing so.) Babies waits are still reported in pounds. People don’t understand kg and nobody has a clue about grammes.

        Met Éireann gives ‘precipitation’ in millimetres, but curiously in round numbers. What is that about? Why not give them in exact millimetres? 17 mm today, 3 yesterday. Who cares anyway as nobody understands. So they could be collected and tabulated and passed on to schoolchildren to make graphs and bar charts. People here know it is about 20 miles to Tralee, and 13 to Killorglin. Ask them in km and they shake their head (I know, I have tried it out of curiosity). Young people just avoid measurements altogether. Just imagine.

        Desmond Fennell argues convincingly that there have been five utopian projects in modern times: the first American Revolution, the French Revolution, Russian Revolutoin, Third Reich and the present Second American Revolution, which has taken things deeper than ever before. I suppose it is the same urge, with the revolutionaries always taking it up from where the last lot left off. David talks here about ‘insurgency’ but it is the defenders of the very new status quo (much of which would not have been recognizable twenty, even ten years ago) who are the insurgents. As Ed West describes it in ch13 of his Diversity Illusion it is a Revolt of the Elites.

        There is quite a strong rival interpretation of the Revolution in France, from what I can make out, and I find it persuasive. It goes beyond Robespierre. He would be treated, I imagine, as a French Stalin, the implication being that the Revolution’s ideals were essential benevolent if they hadn’t been carried to excess. French critics challenge the whole thing, from Rousseau and Voltaire onwards (the latter characterized as a particularly unpleasant character with little sympathy with the poor – now I think of it, much like our middle class socialists nowadays). The thing is utopia by definition always crashes (usually following the death of millions).

        A similar situation exists in Spain where a relatively small number of historians, the most prominent being Pio Moa (Rodriguez), challenge the orthodox history of the Civil War. Pio Moa knows what he is talking about having once been an active anti Franco extremist in his younger days. There is an amusing moment in one of his videos where he chuckles as he describes how he felt he would be crushed by his opponents when he first set out. He was not prepared for the utter uselessness of their arguments, hence their reliance on ad hominem, misrepresentation, dishonesty and censorship. It is always the same pattern.

        • coldblow

          Just to add that there is an interesting passage in Gustave Le Bon’s classic study of mass psychology (Psychologie des Foules 1895) where he describes how the crowd lost its senses after capturing the commander of the Bastille. An apprentice butcher happened to be present and he obliged by cutting off the man’s head with his knife. There was also building hysteria before the outbreak of violence with the story of the Queen’s Necklace, the kind of story that always seems to crop up when countries lose their collective minds.

        • Deco

          You point from Desmond Fennell, is interesting.

          I remember a youtube lecture, years ago, involving an American academic, and his theory of “revolutionary cadres”. I cannot remember his name.

          Basically, it holds that revolutions are driven by a mob of opportunists who latch onto a few core concepts, a vision of “how things should be”, and their egos then run with it.

          The cadres literally set about destroying whatever is in front of them, and replacing it with their own invention. The more powerful the cadres, the more destruction. For destruction, you can read murder, vandalism, theft, bad laws, power takeover, etc…

          The cadres have a tendency to operate like lemmings, in that they find comfort in each others company, and become highly emotive, and irrational.

          They are political in the sense, that they do not seek the consent of the governed, but their compliance and support.

          The whole thing is driven by ego. They lie, distort and manipulate. In effect they operate like a political cult. And of course there are cult leaders (like Mao Zedong, or Pol Pot). There is NO remorse. In fact, the perfection, and the emotion (and the irrationality) preclude any feeling of remorse.

          The whole thing becomes a massive exercise in madness, control freakery, and distortion.

          People who have surrenderd control of their own intelligence, for membership of the “right-thinking” “recognition providing” movement, set about destroying any other individual who does likewise.

          It is a descent into tyranny.

          The individual becomes irrelevant, and the group takes over. And the leadership takes over the group.

          Ultimately, they destroy the society upon which they are hosted. Cambodia is the most telling example that I can present.

          Also, it should be remembered that the Prussian military facilitated the Russian Revolution, only to eventually see all their massive estates taken over by Communists within three decades.

          Maybe the sme fate awaits Soros, Suds, etc…

          • coldblow

            I am reading Chang and Halliday’s biography of Mao again. His China was no better than an enormous open-air prison. In fact it was much worse. In the 50s during the Great Leap Forwards, when food was exported to pay for his military and nuclear programme, rations were less than slaves’.

            Hitchens makes the same point as you about the Germans facilitating the Russian Revolution, including sending them Lenin.

            Everyone knows about Cambodia. (In Feb 2015 a Guardian editorial compared Jimmy Savile to Pol Pot – Richard Webster’s Flat Earth News article places that paper’s campaigning journalism (and others) in direct line of succession from WT Stead prurient moralistic press campaigns of the Victoria era. Webster (who died a few years ago) says in that article that he believed that our reality is a media-driven fantasy. Booker seemed to reach a similar conclusion in his 1969 book about the genesis of the Swinging Sixties, The Neophiliacs.) Cuba is in the same tradition. Meanwhile it looks like South Africa is descending into anarchy with positive discrimination and threats of land appropriation, it seems – funny how we don’t hear anything about this.

            I think you know you are dealing with mass delusions when you search in vain for truthful media reporting. I was discussing this with Grzegorz at the end of the last thread. He said that on the Continent the media will tell bare-faced lies about their opponents but acknowledge the existence of critics, whereas in Ireland and in Britain they shrink from the whoppers but ignore their critics as if they don’t exist.

            It never stops amazing me that I can write what I do on blogs and nobody makes a reasoned challenge. Sometimes I get a bad-tempered tirade but that is simply evidence of defeat before they even begin. Why is this? They seem to be in a trance: just ignore him and he will go away.

            Another thing that amazes me even more is how often when you look into what is reported as fact it turns out not to be true. I will believe the allegation about Bannon when I see it in writing. All I have found so far is some vague reference to French media sources. This is a dream world.

            I mentioned Spanish historian Pio Moa yesterday. He thought they were going to take him to pieces and he was astonished at how useless their responses were.

            By the way, his criticism of the orthodox interpretation of the Spanish Civil War rests on two pillars: 1 Franco’s opponents were not democrats and were not fighting for democracy, and 2 their claim that they were the legitimate heirs of the Republic and were fighting for its preservation is untrue. He argues that the argument has been won among historians but the socialist media won’t admit it.

          • coldblow

            “Having long ago come to the conclusion that we live within a collective fantasy, or a set of collective delusions, and that the news media are one of the principal means by which we maintain this fantasy-version of reality…”


            “In this account of what drove him [Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News] to become a journalist what figures most prominently is not the desire to report accurately; it is the ideal of crusading against corruption, of pitting oneself against some of the most powerful people in the world and winning, and of signalling one’s own power by transforming the world rather than simply describing it. What is striking about the account of journalism he goes on to give in the body of the body of his book is that none of these motives, which beat in the heart of so many details, are explored in any detail – or in some cases at all. Instead, as has already been noted, Davies stresses that the purpose of journalism is simple; it is to tell the truth.”

          • coldblow

            “in the heart of so many journalists”

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            “on the Continent the media will tell bare-faced lies about their opponents but acknowledge the existence of critics, whereas in Ireland and in Britain they shrink from the whoppers but ignore their critics as if they don’t exist.
            It never stops amazing me that I can write what I do on blogs and nobody makes a reasoned challenge. Sometimes I get a bad-tempered tirade but that is simply evidence of defeat before they even begin. Why is this? They seem to be in a trance: just ignore him and he will go away.”

            Tocqueville, having travelled to England and America, predicted that particular feature of debates in the Anglosphere 186 years ago.

            Here is what Tocqueville wrote in his “Democracy in America” (Chapter 11: LIBERTY OF THE PRESS IN THE UNITED STATES):

            “When once the Americans have taken up an idea, whether it be well or ill founded, nothing is more difficult than to eradicate it from their minds. The same tenacity of opinion has been observed in England, where for the last century greater freedom of thought and more invincible prejudices have existed than in any other country of Europe. I attribute this to a cause that may at first sight appear to have an opposite tendency: namely, to the liberty of the press. The nations among whom this liberty exists cling to their opinions as much from pride as from conviction. They cherish them because they hold them to be just and because they chose them of their own free will; and they adhere to them, not only because they are true, but because they are their own.

            It has been remarked that in times of great religious fervor men sometimes change their religious opinions; whereas in times of general skepticism everyone clings to his old persuasion. The same thing takes place in politics under the liberty of the press. In countries where all the theories of social science have been contested in their turn, men who have adopted one of them stick to it, not so much because they are sure of its truth as because they are not sure that there is any better to be had. In the present age men are not very ready to die for their opinions, but they are rarely inclined to change them; there are few martyrs as well as few apostates.

            Another still more valid reason may be adduced: when no opinions are looked upon as certain, men cling to the mere instincts and material interests of their position, which are naturally more tangible, definite, and permanent than any opinions in the world.

            It is a very difficult question to decide whether an aristocracy or a democracy governs the best. But it is certain that democracy annoys one part of the community and that aristocracy oppresses another.”


            I think that you will find very interesting to read the impressions on English and Scottish mentality of a Polish aristocrat who lived there in years 1820-1824, as they illustrate different mentalities of the Continent and the British Isles; I decided to translate for you some excerpts that you might interesting in terms of “challenging the status quo”, and David McWilliams might find it interesting in terms of his “Atlantic race” theory (I personally was amazed how, after 2 centuries of relentless technological development and a jump from pre-romantic, classical era the author was brought up in, to the post-modern era of today – both in Poland and in England – how little has changed when it comes to accuracy of his observations on the English national character and landscape; what has changed, and what I do not translate for brevity purposes, is that variety of food in English B&Bs in 1820s was something like 5 times bigger than today’s choice between “English breakfast” or “No breakfast”, and the choice of food for dinner every day was bigger than the variety of Hilton’s dinner menu in Ireland for the entire week; another thing that has changed is while nowadays we would consider southern England as a mainstay of the posh and upper-class, in 1820s – as it would follow from my perusal of that very detailed book – England was quite backward compared to Scotland, and while London was the centre of trade, Edinburg in that book emerges as a place superior to London in culture, education and even wealth – the author writes that taxes are lower in Scotland, and that very few houses in London can afford a proper servant – whose annual maintenance cost 40 pound sterling – and that they employ young girls instead, whose maintenance cost only 12 pound sterling, and that B&B in which he lived – with 21 people in it – had only 2 such girls).

            Krystyn Lach-Szyrma “England and Scotland. Reminders from the trip from the years 1820-1824.”

            Chapter I.
            “But what is the noise behind the courtyard? It comes from the guest rooms. It is alternating singing, calming, crying: ‘More wine! ‘ This is the selection and the very flower of sons of John Bull. John Bull is the word used to refer to the people of England in terms of their particular character. It’s been popular for a hundred years, popularised by famous Swift and his friends wishing to jokingly express the power of the body, the courage and openness of the English plebs, and at the same time their doggedness, coarseness and tendency to national superstitions. [...] John Bull on weekdays has no time to read or love to read; and what he sometimes reads must be written in his spirit and seasoned with a serious wit, which he calls humor, and, above all, not to touch his national delusions.”

            Chapter II.
            “The earth, as far as it could be judged from the fruits, did not seem to be fertile; wheat, as far as we could see it from the way, was thin and low, thinner and shorter than ours. There are many hops and plenty of orchards. Famous cherries called Kentish cherries come from here: they make quite pleasant wines to drink, i.e. cherry. Nowhere in the countryside can you see the vast villages or so many settlements like in Poland; only several houses standing together here and there, others on different sides scattered standing alone; they are all brick, brick tile or shingle-gray shingle coated. They are very neat and pleasant, though generally tiny, and some so small that they seem like a sight to see, not to dwell – more useful for a hermit than for a family having a farm. Farmers live in somewhat larger ones. Almost in the front of every home there is a garden with flowers: they do not plant flowers in straight grooves as we do, but in different curves and order, according to the taste of the owners; paths are covered with gravel. But not only the houses, the fields are also tiny; nowhere in England can you find cornfields so extensive as in our country. The fields are the gardens.”

            Chapter III
            “The London police are miserable: they do not patrol the roundabouts, the police are night watchmen, and often the thieves themselves are in collusion with them. Everyone must therefore be most aware of their own safety; arrests, violent thefts, burglaries, are restrained by the severe death penalty. The last that are going to sleep in London are the printers, who prepare the morning papers, and the Israelites at Duke Street, who are busy taking over theft from thieves and melting silver and gold.”

            Chapter VII
            “In general it can be said that in Scotland they try to improve the state of the poor through education, which comes down to the same thing, by opening their eyes to all the benefits that a man is capable to achieve through endevour, work and enterprise. Education in Scotland is highly advanced. Through it, the danger of poverty is prevented, which in England can be remedied through a huge tax, and in Ireland it is impossible to remedy it. It resulted in the Scottish people being hardworking and more decent.”

            Chapter XIII
            “The Caledonian daughters are in a gait and posture more daring than the virgins of Albion. The features of their faces are not as regular as the English women, but they are more epressive and more animated. They are slim in waist, which is somewhat masculine; they walk too wide, which deprives them of the grace in which the French women stand out. In general, they are more like the serious Junons or daring Dianas than the diminutive Hebs with a light step. Their complexion is more husky than delicate, and agrees well with the eyes, which like the Polish women are dark or great and gray: the latter are considered judicious. They are also wise women among them, learning Latin and Greek. Almost all speak French and speak it more than the English women do; they do not like to read French works, considering their principles incompatible with their national character and way of thinking. They know their literature perfectly: they learn poetry, some of them write it. Literate women are called there ‘blue stockings’. ”

            Chapter XLIII
            “England is also the poorest in pedagogical work, but it is richest in the strong constitution of the population. Despite its climate, it is not rare to see old people in the tenth part of Matuzalema’s age, and in Scotland a ninety-year-old man calls his sixty-year-old son ‘boy’. It is difficult to say to what extent and how long the education of the people was neglected in England. Not so long ago, there were no permanent schools, the bachelors would move from place to place to teach. Such education does not seem to produce great people. Those preparing their sons to public life send them to grammar schools, most of which are in Eton, Westminster, Harrow, where they teach Latin, Greek and the principles of national language. These schools can not be compared to schools in Germany, and even less with ours. For many reasons these schools would not be able to stand a comparison with our provincial schools. Although many learn Latin and Greek in schools, England has not produced such philologists as Germany pride herself with; their greatest fame is based on Bentley and Potter. German classics are considered there the best and reprinted. Their philologists, instead of conveying the spirit of the writings of ancient writers, drown the students’ heads with barren lectures, grammatical trifles and prose; I did not happen to see anyone who would rise to consider antiquity from philosophical positions. There is, for example, a course in Cambridge not known elsewhere: in casuistry, while there is no course in zoology; there is modern history, and there is no ancient history, there are two faculties of astronomy and Arabic language, and there is no faculty of English literature. In education, as has already been said, there is nothing systematic about them, and everywhere the practicality and vocation of the disciple is predominant. Examinations, if any, take place only to satisfy parents. In English education, there is no habit of teaching students to love science for its own sake; science is only means, not a goal, and every object is only cultivated until it is useful.”

          • coldblow


            Desmond Fennell quotes de Toqueville extensively in his Postwestern Condition.

            p95: a common and extremely dangerous thing about democratic nations is ‘to despise and undervalue the rights of private persons, where their rights ‘are commonly of small importance’ and ‘often sacrificed without regret and almost always violated without remorse’.

            pp 109-10 ‘Above the race of men stands an immense, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratification and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild.It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood. It is well content that the people should have a good time, provided they think of nothing but having a good time. For their happiness such a government willingly labours, but it chooses to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry…. What remains but to spare them all the thinking and all the trouble of living?

            ‘Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits.

            ‘After having thus successfully taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original of minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting; such a power does not destroy but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.’

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            “The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided”.

            Regarding that quote, it reminded me of someone else famous – I am almost sure it was Balzac – who said that for the greatest creativity, one needs a moderate censorship. While I am not saying yes or nay on that, when I reflect on Polish cabarets from 1960s-1980s and those today (even those on official TV, though there was a huge tradition of underground cabaret at the time), I and many others detect a considerable vulgarisation of humour (in liberal Poland conditions), which many Poles believe is actually being done on purpose because a dumber society is easier to manipulate.

            Also in Ireland of today noone would be able to write a fiction book with a humour as subtle as The Third Policeman or Waiting for Godot. Furthermore, I also observe some vulgarisation of myself in this environment – for example, nowadays I would sometimes burst in wild laughter (and since emigrating I learned to curse), while as children we were brought up that loud laughing in public indicates an idiot (I even remember our sister at religion – which was voluntary and outside the system, but every child was attending it – used to tell us “poznasz glupiego po smiechu jego” – “you will recognise a fool by his laughter”.

            Irish people complained for decades about the strictness of the Catholic Church teachings (I’m not at all a fan of the Pope-Francis like Church which I would describe as Oscar Wildism without Oscar Wilde’s charm).

            But what did the gasping of the new-fangled “freedom” produce? Instead of Beckett – or even somewhat diabolical Francis Bacon – we are being regaled with the moronic guffawks of Mr Tubridy, for mere 160 euro a year.

            P.S. “which in England can be remedied through a huge tax” – I ommitted to translate an important word in the text: can hardly be remedied.
            In the passage about London, it should be loot not theft, that is melted into gold and silver. This is in keeping with the book on history of the English language which said that so advanced was Scotland in early 19th century compared to England, that at the time it looked certains that Scots will be the Received Pronunciation English tought from Edinburgh to Eton, not the Estuary English.

            Here are interesting remarks of Alan Bloom on the topic touched on by you:

            “Romantic love is now as alien to us as knight-errantry.” (the breakdown of the family is made possible by hedonism aimed at instant-gratification)

            “To children, the voluntary separation of parents seems worse than their deaths precisely because it is voluntary—children do not realise that parents have right to their own lives; they think they have a right to total attention and they believe their parents must live for them. Children of divorced parents “have rigid frameworks about what is right and wrong and how they ought to live. [...] All this is a thine veneer over boundless seas of rage, doubt and fear.”

            “Modern psychology at its best has a questionable understanding of the soul. It has no place for the natural superiority of the philosophic life, and no understanding of education.”

            “The rhetoric of campus gays confirms this. After all the demands and the complaints against the existing order—`don’t discriminate against us; don’t legislate morality; don’t put a policeman in every bedroom; respect our orientation’—they fall back into the empty talk about finding life-styles.” –

            Bloom was himself homosexual (but didn’t yap about it – in fact his students didn’t know about it) so no one here dareth undermine this quote on grounds of him being biased.

          • coldblow


            I don’t know anything about Bloom. It seems that many people arrive to similar conclusions even though they started out from quite different positions.

            Fennell has always interested me and he spotted the intolerant character of Irish ‘liberalism’ back in the 80s, at least. I remember Michael McDowell saying to him on the Bibi Baskin Show, probably in the very early 90s: “You call yourself an intellectual. Well, let me tell you, you are no intellectual.” He wrote an interesting book about his year in Sweden in 1960 or 61, where he describes a happy, fortunate and attractive young generation sitting on the beach devising enlightened rules for an even happier future.

            One thing from it that has stayed in my mind was an interview he gave to a prominent liberal atheist, an intolerant journalist who was well known for his sexual libertinism. Another was how the liberal middle classes closed down the working men’s bars with a result that those who wanted a drink and company were forced into the park at night.

            Humour in literature. In his brilliant small book (based on six lectures) Le Rideau, Kundera points out the importance of humour in the history of the novel, right from its birth with Don Quixote, which I read for the first time last year and which I found (most surprisingly) extremely funny. (I read it in Icelandic but had Peter Motte’s entertaining 18thC translation to hand.)

            I was surprised how funny the few comic German books were. The Tin Drum has a punchline on the end of practically every sentence. I have been intrigued by the card game Skat since reading the events in the Danzig Post Office at the outbreak of war. The man writing in the Rough Guide praised another book of his (something -Schmerzen or other) for its humour but I found it tedious, like all his other books I read. Siegfried Lenz’s So Zaertlich War Suleyken – Masurische Geschichten was also extremely funny, yet his Fundburo was incredibly, well, useless. He wrote a blockbuster early on called, I think, Heimatemuseum which was interesting enough but, like Grass, I didn’t share its earnest moral viewpoint. Gregor von Rezzori’s Maghrebinische Geschichten are also very funny indeed, particulary at the start, though it tails off later on. (The Maghrebinische Mutter beats her child before sending him off to the well for water for what is the point of beating him *after* he has smashed the jar?)

            In French I found Raymond Queneau’s Zazie dans le Métro and Les Fleurs Bleues very entertaining, especially the latter. Much of Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night is side splitting.

            I find European novels tend to be lacking in humour in general but that could well be because I have read only eclectically. In Italian I recall bits of humour in a few books. Schweik is of course hilarious. As you say, I don’t recall anything funny in Dostoevsky.

            I saw an amusing French film about twenty years ago which turned on the subject of humour (in the court) and ‘English humour’. In one of his videos on YouTube Spanish historian Pio Moa mocks one of his adversaries, historian Peter Preston, for the shortcomings in his reasoning: ‘It must be ‘English humour” and gets a laugh from the audience.

            Like you, I like Balzac. Michael Hudson is fond of quoting his ‘behind every fortune is a crime’. One of his books, about a miser of a country landlord and his daughter pointed out how a fortunate few found themselves in possession of large estates after the Revolution. This reminds me of Crotty’s observation that, through some kind of lottery, in the early to mid 19thC (around the Famine) about 20,000 native Irish farmers found themselves owning substantial tracts of land, even theough they, or their fathers, had been rack-rented earlier.

            While I’m at it I might as well mention that I just finished two ‘Russian’ books, Bulgarov’s Master and Margherita (Icelandic) and Nabokov’s outrageous and outrageously funny Lolita (Polish – it was hard), while I am nearing the end of Platonov’s Foundation Pit (set in a Kolkozh that is being collectivized – this is slow because it is is Basque.) The choice of these books was forced on me to a large degree because they were the only worthwhile things I could find in those languages, but it worked to my advantage.#

            Humour in English language literature is a very big subject. I suppose you have read Woodehouse? A Confederacy of Dunces? Like you I really enjoyed Flann O’Brien.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            only 60%-70% of lectures in the Polish language was written by Poles = Polish language as subject in schools, that is Polish language and literature.

          • Grzegorz Kolodziej

            second only to German literature (and equal with French) = when I say German literature, I actually mean German language literature, primarily Austrian. On the whole, I consider Austrians as culturally superior to Germans – not actual Austrians to actual Germans, because that varies from a man to man, but their literature, philosophy (Brentano, Popper, Hayek) and music (Mozart, Brueckner, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern) is clearly superior to German.

            When I say I consider Russian literature superior to Polish, that is of course 19th century literature – because Polish literature has of course much older traditions than Russian (actually, the first ever book in cyrylic was printed in Kraków, and the Moscovitchan aristocracy had to send their sons to Kraków for education). Few people also know that Polish literary language developed around 100 years earlier than German (in fact, Germany – or German states – was an intellectual wasteland until after Reformation).

            And as much as I hate communism and Soviet Union, I have to say that NEP brought about trully great works of literature, art and music – of course all of that ended after a few years.

            How come you ended up reading Lolita in Polish and Platonov’s Foundation Pit in Basque?

            I meant to post it for you a long time ago, but I always forget: a 10 min short documentary on a Welsh academic who went to study history in Kraków in 1970s (that’s right – 1970s) and stayed there, who talks what interested him in Poland to stay:


            He learned Polish to a near-native level and speaks in Polish in that documentary! (it’s subtitled in English, with large letters).

        • Grzegorz Kolodziej

          I didn’t read Woodehouse – my knowledge of literature (fiction and poetry) is fragmentary. This is the result of me not reading any literature between my school and after university (in school it was compulsory – btw, when I travelled around Europe, I have noticed that Polish school curriculum is very non-polonocentric in literature compared to say English or French – I reckon only 60%-70% of lectures in the Polish language was written by Poles; i.e. we spent 6 months on the literature of ancient Greece and Rome; we also had Beckett “Waiting for Godot”). Maybe it has changed now, but people I know on the British Isles – so older than 30 – would have hardly had in school something not written in English (of course it’s different in the universities).

          If you asked me about my favourite writer when I was 24, I would have only named Kafka, Dostoevsky, “Trans-Atlantyk” and Walther von der Vogelweide, whome I liked because I had a German girlfriend and was much into Wagner.
          His most famous poem is usually quoted in Hoch-Deutsch, but I think the original version in Platt-Deutsch is more melodic (I also prefer Shakespeare in his original accent which sounded Irish):

          “Unter der Linde
          Auf der Heide,
          Wo ich mit ihm zusammensaß,
          Da mögt ihr finden,
          Ach, wohl beide
          Zerknickt die Blumen und das Gras.
          Vor dem Walde in dem Thal
          Sang gar schön die Nachtigall.

          Under der linden
          an der heide,
          dâ unser zweier bette was,
          dâ muget ir vinden
          schône beide
          gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
          vor dem walde in einem tal,
          schône sanc diu nahtegal.

          Als ich gegangen
          Kam zur Aue,
          Da fand ich meinen Liebsten schon.
          Da ward ich empfangen,
          Heil’ge Fraue!
          Daß ich noch selig bin davon.
          Küßt’ er mich? – ach, tausendfach
          Seht, wie rot mein Mund danach.

          Ich kam gegangen
          zuo der ouwe:
          dô was mîn friedel komen ê.
          dâ wart ich empfangen
          hêre frouwe
          daz ich bin sælic iemer mê.
          kust er mich? wol tûsentstunt:
          seht wie rôt mir ist der munt.
          Da hatte mein Lieber
          Uns gemachet
          Ein Bett von Blumen mancherlei,
          Daß mancher drüber
          Herzlich lachet,
          Zieht etwa er des Wegs vorbei.
          An den Rosen er wohl mag
          Merken, wo das Haupt mir lag.

          Dô hete er gemachet
          alsô rîche
          von bluomen eine bettestat.
          des wirt noch gelachet
          kumt iemen an daz selbe pfat.
          bî den rôsen er wol mac
          merken wâ mirz houbet lac.

          Daß er mich herzte,
          Wüßt’ es einer,
          Behüte Gott, wie schämt’ ich mich!
          Wie er da scherzte,
          Keiner, keiner
          Erfahre das, als er und ich
          Und ein kleines Vögelein,
          Das mag wohl verschwiegen sein.

          Daz er bî mir læge,
          wesse ez iemen
          (nu enwelle got!), so schamte ich mich.
          wes er mit mir pflæge,
          niemer niemen
          bevinde daz wan er und ich
          und ein kleinez vogellîn:
          daz mac wol getriuwe sîn.”

          In the university, my entire effort was put into reading a so called serious literature: from Hayek and Keynes, via Aristotle, Spinoza and Wittgenstein, to Panzerfäuste such as “The concept of truth in the languages of the deductive sciences” by Alfred Tarski and collected works of Gottlob Frege (in my thesis – which was on modal logic – I proved among other things that in his theodicy (not in “Theodicy” his book, but in his collected works) Leibniz – the biggest genius between St Thomas Acquina and Georg Cantor – jumped from syntax to semantics, using theorems by Goedel-Malcev and Alfred Tarski’s Lattice-Theoretical Fixpoint Theorem, that says:
          “Let L be a complete lattice and let f : L ? L be an order-preserving function. Then the set of fixed points of f in L is also a complete lattice.”;

          but noone – even Wittgenstein and his Tractatus, Hitler with his “Mein Kampf” (with whom I disagree on everything bar a description of the mentality of an average voter), Augustine’s “On Free Will” or Allan Bloom with his “The closing of the American mind” has made as big impression on me as this man (I was most intellectually stimulated by writers with whose views I disagreed: Rousseau, Leibniz, Hitler and Keynes – not Marx because Marx was too stupid to be taken seriously):

          It was not until I emigrated to the UK and then Ireland when I started to read poetry and fiction because I have noticed that in Ireland the lassies are not interested in Machiavelli or the history of WWII (you will laugh at my expense, but when I lived in Poland, because I only knew Germans and one Englishman from the Conservative Party, I thought that everyone is interested in WWII!).

          Now I can even say that I like poetry, primarily Japanese, Polish baroque and fin-de-siecle and P. B. Shelley.

          How come you read in Icelandic? That’s awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

          As to humour, almost all humour in Polish literature is a reference to Polish baroque. I am not sure if it will ever be understood by the British Isles people, except for some academics. Even less it can be fully grasped by the Russians, although I do like Russian literature, and I situate the Russian literature as actually superior to Polish and second only to German literature (and equal with French); though Polish poetry is superior to Russian, but less known (it is very diverse); “Master and Margharita” is a masterpiece.

          In fact, I put the Polish sense of humour as superior to a slightly overrated English sense of humour (actually, they are quite similar, but Polish is more absurd and abstract). In fact, I only situate the Irish sense of humour (in literature) as equal to Polish: only pity it cannot be properly translated.

          But here is a try of my favourite bits from Gombrowicz’s Trans-Atlantyk:

          “He drew a breath. Did flash his eye. Did say: “We will, by my troth. I say this to you, and I say this so you cannot say that I was saying that we would not Vanquish, since I say to you that we will Vanquish, will Win, for we will reduce to dust with our mighty, gracious hand—smash, crush to dust, powder, with Sabres, Lances, anatomize, annihilate, and under our Colours and in our Majesty, oh Jesus Maria, oh Jesus, oh Jesus . . . we will grind, Kill! Oh, we will kill, anatomize, demolish! And why are you staring so? I tell you indeed, we will annihilate! Indeed you can see, you can hear the Minister himself, the Gracious Envoy is telling you we will Annihilate; perchance you can see that the Envoy himself, the Minister, is pacing here before you, waving his hands and telling you that we will Annihilate! And don’t you dare bark thus: that I didn’t Pace before you, that I didn’t Say, as you see that I do Pace and Say!”

          “Says the Baron: “Scratch yourself not.”
          Says Pyckal: “I’m not Scratching myself.”
          Ciumkia?a said: “I have Scratched myself.”
          Said Pyckal: “I’ll Scratch you.”
          Says the Baron: “Scratch, scratch away—this is what you are for.”
          Says Pyckal: “I’ll not Scratch you, let your secretary Scratch you.”
          Says the Baron: “My secretary will Scratch me if I order him to.”
          Said Pyckal: “I will engage your Secretary for Myself and take him from you—and me he will Scratch when I would, for though you are a High-born Sir and I a Base-born Boor, me he will scratch if I would so or would no. Scratch he will. ”
          Says the Baron: “Whether a Base-born boor or a High-born Sir, you will not engage this Secretary; I will engage him for me, and he will Scratch me, not you.”

          Btw, I am not sure if I have mentioned it, but last year one of the theatres in Kraków staged plays of Kenneth Koch in my translation – so I did catch up with fiction a little bit since Brouwer.

          • coldblow


            I took up foreign languages again in earnest more than twenty years ago when I had nothing better to do and it is a hard habit to shake off. If I go abroad I am as happy speaking English if the natives can but I like to understand what they say, especially on their media.

            I always had a vague ambition to learn Icelandic since I read a history of the Cornish language thirty years ago and archaicness is intriguing. I read Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth when I was about ten or eleven and, as I remember, that start off by descending into a volcano in Iceland (and emerge at the other end in Crete or somewhere like that).

            I used to have a recurring dream where I would be in Reykjavik looking for a bookshop. I started learning it about five years ago and while I can read simple Icelandic I still find it hard to understand. I used to think it would be nice to visit the place but I have watched a couple of minutes of Icelandic tv news every weekday morning for the past two years and I have lost all interest. I saw something on it a good while back about their literary and artistic luminaries (all trendy liberals by the look of them) protesting something in a passionate yet dignified way. I wish I could have recorded it, the look on their faces was priceless. (For some reason it reminds me of the dignified silent protests in Spanish cities after the Madrid bombings, when the story had gone round at first that it was the work of ETA, a ‘not in my name’ kind of event.

            Until a year or two ago I had quite an interest in visiting different parts of Europe, not cities though. I have more or less abandoned any such designs. With globalisation everywhere is becoming a dull copy of everywhere else.

            The Master & Margh. was the best value of the books I could see online (they are very expensive in Icelandic) and promised to be the least disappointing. I tend to avoid native authors unless they have some standing as you can end up with complete rubbish.

            The Nabokov I found in a local bookshop second-hand and I knew I’d be able to pick up the English original cheap. What’s the other Russian one? Yes, the Platonov. I don’t like the look of Basque original fiction but they have a series where they translated foreign classics. The trouble is they tend to have complicated language.

            I learnt since that the Master was a bit of a cult book in the sixties and that Jagger probably based Sympathy for the Devil on it. If I’d know that I wouldn’t have bought it, but it is a good book. I lent it to my centerian mother to read but she confessed that she skipped whole pages to finish it and couldn’t make any sense.

            I am reading Antony Beevor’s history of the Spanish Civil War again (in Icelandic) and I am going to compare it against Pio Moa’s criticisms. At least one thing they agree on it: the saying that history is written by the winners is disproved in the case of this war. When I read Beevor’s book first time round I was looking for extravert characteristics, which I found and which led to me applying the standard discount (I have abandoned this in recent times as extraverts write more or less everything that is worth reading). This time I will be refining my search and looking for evidence of fantasy as well as Moa’s specific objections.

            Do you know one funny thing about central European translations? They hate translating ‘he or she said’ directly and look for a synonym for ‘said’ every time it is repeated. The Civil Service here also have a bone headed convention against repeating the same word in speeches. It is striking how inaccurate translations are, even the best often make simple errors somewhere. The Beevor translator seems to think that ‘centralist’ on the first page means ‘centre-ground’ or moderate politically. Euro translators also seem to have an endearing know-all streak. Say the English original says something like ‘He jumped ten feet into the air’ they would either translate that as ’3.2 metres’ or (and this is my point) ‘two feet’. They are often stumped by English colloquialisms and this leads to howlers. (My favourite for this is the Catalan translation of the Tailor of Panama.)

            I hardly ever read a novel in English, perhaps only two or three over the last ten years, including David Mitchell’s excellent (and very funny) Cloud Atlas. Finding something worthwhile reading in a foreign language usually leads to me reading translations of English language books and limited availability meant that I have read more widely than I would have done if I had followed my tastes in English and I have stumbled into quite a few insights as a result.#

            I came across an excellent site on Breton (the language) last year, Breizh Digor. I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing worth reading in that language (as in Danish, and to a great extent in Dutch, where even English originals seem to be tainted with dullness) or to listen to (Breton-language radio seems stiflingly pc) but this young fellow in Bretagne Centrale interviews old people (the only people with genuine fluency) and transcribes the recordings (and even provides a dictionary). The result is similar to a lot of the older recordings you used to hear on RnaG: it is very personal, lively, diverse (as in ‘really diverse’), amusing and interesting. It is literally just like stepping back in time. Ray Darcy’s radio programme does not compare.

  11. I haven’t read much about the French election (not particularly interested) or looked at any polls but I have a feeling that Le Pen is going to win it.

    • McCawber

      Me too recently but 3 months ago La Pen would have been doing really to get even 30% in the head to head so it’s hard to see her making that gap up.

  12. michaelcoughlan

    Hi David,

    I am not sure that the youth in France are right wing. I’d say fucked off with the establishment and considering voting for anyone. For example; if they were right wing they would think that the Michael O’Leary approach to their employment circumstances is a good idea.

    Once again no mention of the banks. Why are you not mentioning the fact that country after country Europe is being laid waste to keep banks open?

    Deco is right re statisim; the older Brits know the price that has to be paid when head cases like Hitler or suds get in charge and have centralised power. All those unemployed young people will find themselves stopping bullets with their chests just like British (Irish) soldiers did at Waterloo, Passchendaele, Normandy etc. to solve the problem.

    I think myself that every mother in Europe should give and extra special hug going to bed to their teenage bullet stoppers David shouldn’t they?


    • Deco

      Another invasion of the Russian Steppe, beckons. One that will lead to central China, ultimately. (Because Beijing has no intention of tolerating Brussels or Washington installing a Latin American style CIA puppet regime, on it’s longest border).

      The problem for us is that those in control need a war.

      War never happens because the people want. It happens because those in control, need more control over the people. If you look at the machinations of Austria, Germany, Russia and Britain in 1914 you can see that.

      It is the same principle as the Third Punic War, between Rome and Carthage. It is about the level of dominance WITHIN the society, not the external enemy.

      The objective is the reshape structures in such a manner as to enable those with money, and power, to completely control the masses. Those that object are defined as traitors, and can be killed off. They are dissenters anyway, so killing them is an objective.

      And the Western Marxists will demand this war the loudest. Because of the power grab that it enables. After the punic wars, the Roman legionaires came home to find that they were deprived of their work and their small holdings. The Patricians were firmly in control.

      In order to keep the plebians weak and incapacitated, they instituted “bread and circuses”. It was the ultimate mind control mechanism. Loads of enthusiastic gobsh1tes cheering on a spectacle, whilst their freedoms were continually being undermined.

      It is not even the unemployed who will find themselves conscripted.

      Sweden has introduced conscription – officially announced to respond to the “Russian threat” that is relentlessly pumped out by the Swedish media. The state is angry because nobody is volunteering any more for service is support of a state system that is increasingly oppressive, hypocritical and dishnonest.

      Of course, enforcement of control and obedience has nothing to do with the state of the financial system, and it’s long overdue implosion. Or the fact that Sweden is descending into anarchy. Or even the decline of gullibility amongst Swedes.

      Now, the state will instruct the young people on patriotism, whilst presenting an imagined enemy threat (even though that phantom enemy threat is barely able to keep the lights on in it’s own army barracks, let operate it’s rust bucket filled navy ). Of course, the real purpose here is to control how people think.

      The more unprosecuted crime that exists within a society, the further it descends into corruption and misery.

      The irony of the two biggest criminal / political rackets in IRL, demanding the resighnation of the Garda Commissioner, is deep and thought-provoking. They do not get the manner in which their arrogance smells.

      Will you join up in the armed forces when two of the three larest parties in the Dail are criminal outfits, and the other of the three has a history of authoritarianism ?

      The best defence, is an offensive means of making sure that it never happens. And that means allowing some sunlight (the ultimate disinfectant) onto the Irish political machines, and their crimes.

    • “Once again no mention of the banks. Why are you not mentioning the fact that country after country Europe is being laid waste to keep banks open?”

      Good question, Michael.

    • “”The US economist Thomas Palley* says that up until the late 1970s countries operated a virtuous circle growth model in which wages were the engine of demand growth.”"

      The Guardian is as guilty as all other commentaries in the mainstream. It observes the facts of the distortions in the economies of the world and asks many questions but solutions are non existent.

      The quote extracted above may be correct but it is curious to me that the timing of the problems manifestations correlates very nicely with the final elimination of the connection of currencies to the stability of gold.

      Nixon’s abandonment of the gold standard for the US dollar in 1972 allowed the creation of unlimited amounts of currency by all nations of the world. most of this money was accessed by the banking and financial centres. As the money was debt based debts exploded. Interest payments multiplied. business projects we financed by credit and not capital.

      projects were highly leveraged as were all other investments and banks themselves.

      Money was funneled to financial projects rather than productivity. Wages stagnated while inflation surged the 90% were left behind and marginalized. The 10% gained while the top one percent of that 10% grew unbelievably wealthy.

      The problem is the money system. It must be reformed or all other discussion and plans are in vain.

      It is time, David, for you to grasp the nettle and deal with this issue. You have the opportunity to be the economist of the age or remain an entertaining writer more interested in building your own financial empire than searching for the truth.

      That is the way I see it.

      • Copy of an email sent to the chairman of The National Citizen’s Coalition, Canada.

        There is no reason for Canada or any country to have a national deficit annually leading to an unpayable national debt.
        It is a fact that the money system used is for the sole benefit of the international bankers and cronies. The National bank, AKA The Bank of Canada, creates money out of thin air, issues it as a loan and charges interest.

        This same money can be issued by treasury directly. It would simply be issued, it would not be a credit, not an IOU , as is Central Banking money, but unencumbered money free of interest.

        At the stroke of a pen, the central banking function can be eliminated. The fiat tender script issued by it can be replaced by Treasury money and the national debt eliminated. In fact, taxation could be eliminated as well as all government funding could be directly from treasury.

        That still leaves the issue of excess spending by government with the resulting inflation. However we actually have higher rates of inflation than reported as the real rate is closer to 6-8% than 2%. Inflation is a stealth tax and not a requirement of a sound economy.

        Then there is the issue of the fractional reserve system of the chartered banks. The commercial banks. They use the central bank money as reserves. Using a reserve ratio of as little as 5% the commercial banks also create money from nothing and charge interest. All this money (about 95% of all money creation) is created from nothing and loaned out to borrowers as a debt charged at interest. As such the economy expands on an infusion of debt rather than accumulated capital and is as a house built on shifting sand with no foundation. In addition the interest is siphoned off the economy straight into the maw of the banks.

        Thus as the money supply expands so does the debt. This is a trap set to ensnare us and create economic serfdom of all peoples.

        It is a fact too, that the money used to pay the interest was not issued in to existence and so when it is paid it must be from someones capital account. The interest paid on the previous debts causes the money supply to shrink. In order to keep the money supply static then more must be issued in to existence. This is done in the form of yet more borrowers taking newly formed money from the banks. Thus in order to avoid a collapse of the money system there must be a constant stream of new borrowers. This is by definition a Ponzi scheme as new people must be added to the scheme in order for the previous buyers to have the money to pay the interest on the existing loans.

        We now are reaching the limit of people to absorb debt. Peoples ability to pay is being exhausted. This results in loss of demand but causes lower interest rates. The lower interest rates have reach 0% and going negative. Defaults are a record levels. Indebtedness is at record levels . We approach the blow up or implosion of the system.

        It is therefore imperative to escape from the current system be fore the super nova happens. One way as a temporary reprieve is as described, by using Treasury money and closing the central bankers and commercial bankers system.

        The ultimate fix for the economy, and the freedom of the people, is to reduce the role of government and return to a money system not based on debt and also one in which there is a natural restriction on how much money can be created.

        You as the National citizens Coalition Need to promote a sound money system that is the only way to freedom and prosperity.

        Best Regards

        • Hoggie

          Hi Tony,

          Did you get a response to that mail?

          Regards and keep up the good work.

          • As follows


            Many thanks for your very well thought out and detailed email. It is certainly food for thought.

            I will keep this email and use it for future reference points to be sure.

            Best Regards
            Perhaps I’ll be able to do some follow up with more specific activity.

  13. Truthist

    Irish populace are very tolerant of the revolting Irish State Civil SERPENTS’ :

    grotesquely large salaries + extras
    hostility towards the public
    immunity from dismissal for incompetence & hostility

    The above should be the basis of a revolution by the Irish nation.
    Then, the Irish nation should “revolve” the other abominations sequentially.

    U must get ur own household [ Irish State with its Civil SERVANTS ( ostensibly ; But, woefully in the main are SERPENTS ) ] in order before u start tackling the private, & foreign, & trans-national, foes ;
    After all, “A house divided among itself cannot stand.”.

    And, here is a feature from today’s Irish Independent illustrating the crassness of the Servant being paid more by the Master than the Master is able to pay himself from the Master’s own toil & sweat ;

    Public sector pay ‘outstrips private workers by 40 %

    “Pay scales in the public sector are often unrepresentative of actual earnings due to a myriad range of :

    & other payments.”

    • Deco

      You left out one very important word – “output”.

      It seems that in the Irish public sector, “output” is a very vague concept that never gets mentioned often.

      Instead there is a sales pitch, that is emotive, and completely disconnected with what gets done, on aggregate (because productivity is abysmal).

      • Truthist

        “Well, spotted Jeeves.
        I say, I only realised that upon viewing the post immediately after submitting it.”

        Output involves :

        Necessary Efficiency
        Necessary Economy
        Necessary Quality
        Necessary volume
        Service with a smile ; Unless undeserved ; In that case, a discreet manner will suffice [ one must be fair master to one's servant ]
        Proper Attitude
        inter alia

        The sales pitch reminds me of RTE’s recurring efforts highlighting its broadcasting personalities as montages in various settings within what is in total a very lengthy advert.

        Instead of broadcasting aul bollox stuff [ e.g. the above ], RTE should bring back the proper Angelus.
        And, also have Matins etc.
        Truly, this policy would be very healing for the nation.

        • Deco

          The solution to RTE is to sell it off, in it’s entirety.

          They can say whatever they want.

          The rest of us are also to be given back our liberty, of not having an extortion racket in place, backed up by threats, forcing us to pay for a farce.

  14. Excellent article and very lucid.

    It was wonderful read but dismissive to agree . I am reminded how the wrong reason can give the correct solution and how the right reason can give the incorrect solution. Fooling a reader is political correct if you can get away with it . Getting paid is even better .

    I am only a punter and what I say will never buy anyway and neither will any other punter on this site.

    I believe that the rise in the National Front is due to the political policies within France and being unable to agree to operate a viable economy. French Trade Unions hold the country to ransom and protect their elite members with over paid salaries, pensions and conditions . French Train drivers come to mind . I watch many retired train drivers over 50 years old sunbathing with their wives and enjoying the luxury that no country or tax payer can afford while nearby young unemployed educated men in their twenties gather idly and disenchanted .I remember the period before the Euro was born how the politicians were unhappy with the French Franc and how that was impacting on the French economy then. Their trick was to agree a good discounted conversion rate with the new Euro and pronto all economic ills are solved . And that is what happened and it did work for a few years but the Trade Unions et al continued to fester and erode all those gains .It is a musical chair that returns continuously no matter what you call it .

    Comparing the success of the National Front with events in USA and Brexit lacks proper insight and relevant analysis .It is an easy excuse to observe but not to agree that they are related .A weak sense can only agree.

    French people are not fat because their foods hold no destructive additives as much as foods from The Isles & USA do.Yes they smoke heavily but they also have a better health care system . They don’t drink in volumes and beer is consumed less . When they play sport they do it with passion that marks them above most.

    Finally the NF has no more money left to finance their campaign and may well rely on a foreign proxy to borrow. Their campaign may be a success in the first round thus reason why all the frenzy is building . The second round is a different matter unless the Kremlin decides differently.

  15. Bamboo

    Hi David, I know you don’t decide on the headings.
    Question: Why do we need to insert the words brexit, trump, populism and/or climate change in every heading of an article? Is there no other way to attract attention to an article?

  16. coldblow

    This is the Politico article David used.

    The furthest I can get that Bannon share Maurras’ss views is:

    “Bannon has also expressed admiration for the reactionary French philosopher Charles Maurras, according to French media reports, confirmed by Politico.”

    I don’t know what these reports were or the nature of Politico’s confirmation, which may have been no more than confirming that this is what they were told. We are getting into fake news territory.

    • Deco

      Bannon produced a documentary with an Irish oligarch front and centre. He took shots at Tammany Hall political aristocracy (the Clintons).

      Well, Bannon broke an important rule that must be obeyed – he spoke the truth, and pushed it.

      Just reflect for a moment on the fact that a US Democrat Party Congressman wanted to “drone Assange” (effectively an act of war against sovereign Ecuadorean territory).

      With regard to Fake News – the entire media narrative on the corrupt Democratic Party is evidence that it existed for decades. Woodrow Wilson tried out numerous ‘regime change’ projects 100 years ago – what people forget is that he was already playing Imperial overlord in Latin America, before he decided to put on the Batman suit and present himself as saviour of civilization in WW1.

      There is a massive difference between the rhetoric/image/superficiality that they sell, and the results (damage, bankrupt cities, prison contracts, civil wars, juntas, etc..) that they deliver.

      Bannon committed the ultimate crime – he exposed that discrepency, and made it a media event.

      Needless, to say “Hollyweird” did not think of giving any Best Documentary award to Bannon for

      CLINTON CASH :)))))))))

  17. Deco

    The EU is starting to behave like a cult, in a world of their own imagination, where they can do no wrong, and nobody is allowed out, and everybody is bribed to enter.

    Oh, look into the clouds as they approach….the 4 donkey-men of the EU-Collapse.

    Martin Schulz, expected to lead the next German government, who only exhibited competence when he was running a small town. He inhertits a inheritance that amounts to a diplomatic deficit that is out of control. And he will not fix it.

    Macron, the amateur, running a serious country with serious problems, and track record that is even skinnier than Schulz. Le Pen might poll well, but she will not win.

    Grillo, a joker, in two careers – show business, and show-business for ugly people (politics). A track record as a fool. A clown in charge of another serious country, with very serious problems. Everything he has done amounts to a dsiqualification for responsibility.

    And bringing it up to four, we have Jean Claude Juncker. Enought said.

    Meet the future of “More EU rope”.

    We need an exit plan, to extricate ourselves from this quagmire. And we are not even talking about it. In fact discussion is completely forbidden.

  18. Deco

    Transparency International ( only as relevant, as their donors admittedly, and I have no idea of their donors ) is sceptical of the ECB and it’s handling of the Irish banking crisis.

    But, anyway – never mind. Trichet, obviously was doing something exceptional. He was looking after the banks of an exceptional country. Or at least one that believes itself to be the exception.

    The current Eurozone is the merger of German concepts of economic organization, and the French concept of political organization.

    For some strange reason, everything is now an absolute mess.

  19. Truthist


    BBC News Anchor Live News Blunder Fail Strange Behavior Explained – 3/22/17 Skull And Bones Hoax

    I suggest that viewers of this link :

    bookmark it & give it apt name for ready recall

    & also

    copy & paste it as :
    video file & save it with apt name for ready recall
    audio file & save it with apt name for ready recall

    & also copy & paste the transcript [ even though it may be flawed transcript ] & save it with apt name for ready recall

  20. SMOKEY

    The French drink and let me assure you they are alcoholics who DO get hammered, thats a myth that they stay in control. They snort coke, eat pills and get wasted on tasty booze.
    As for the youth being conservative right wing? They cant stand what Muslims have done to their country in one generation and want to change it. Simple as.

    • McCawber

      It’s amazing how a country, any country can sleep walk itself almost to the point of no return.
      France is on the edge or will soon be on the edge of something very nasty.
      They have consistently ignored EU rules regarding budget deficits and will continue to do so regardless because they don’t have the bottle to tackle the problem – that is obvious.
      However your reference to the destabilising muslim influence on France has been going on for a long and France has done little to control this influence.
      The problem is PC.
      Hopefully Donald Trump and the British will be able to provide them with an example of leadership in that regard.

      • McCawber

        Sure the brits might have wrinkled their noses at Trump’s biases but hey this is the country that gave us the carry on filns and probably the page 3 girls (still does, one way or another) they’ve got very little credit in the kitty when it comes to moral rectitude but they like to pretend that’s all in the past.
        Like hell it is – the veneer is just that, a veneer.
        The Germans and French have tried on many occasions to do for the Brits and have always failed – they should be asking themselves, why so!
        I’d be interested to hear from other punters on the UK v EU with Trump the towel man in the UK corner, who’s the EU’s towel man?
        After 15 it’s a fair that the UK will be bloodied but unbeaten, what shape will the EU be in, one (0r many) will be wondering.
        The EU hold all the aces bar one – they don’t have the UK on their side.

      • Deco

        France is already passed the stage of “something very nasty”. Trichet, Sarkozy, the [unsecured] Anglo Bondholders, the bailout of Greece, and a centralised state system that is rotten with corruption, micro-megla-mania (if such a concept can be defied) and inefficiency.

  21. McCawber

    “Core inflation remains sluggish”
    If prices went up, they went up.
    The “pound in my pocket” doesn’t know the difference between core inflation and any other kind of inflation.
    Just having a rant.
    I don’t know much about statistics but one of the things I do know is that very, very often they are used (manipulated) to tell lies or evade telling the truth.

  22. Deco

    Well, now, it seems that the EU grand illusion, has shown an essential absurdity in the clear light of day.

    The key element, from the EU’s dictat of terms – reveals an inability to grasp that monopolistic thinking is the problem, not the solution.

    ( bear in mind, that the terminology used have been deliberately manipulated so as to convey moral superiority)

    No tax cuts or bonfire of regulations

    Any free trade agreement should be balanced, ambitious and wide-ranging. It cannot, however, amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof, as this would undermine its integrity and proper functioning. It must ensure a level playing field in terms of competition and state aid, and must encompass safeguards against unfair competitive advantages through, inter alia, fiscal, social and environmental dumping.

    “unfair competitive advantages”

    Needless to say, ECB policies that favour certain countries, are not deeemed to qualify as “unfair competitive advantages”.

    Neither are “bailouts” that punish workers, whilst propping out speculative activity.

    This stinks. It absolutely stinks.

    The imperialists have learned ZERO.

    And….the imlications are considerable with regard to Ireland’s ambitions for attracting international investment.

    I just the feeling that the EU are completely disconnected from reality, in this respect.

    To say nothing of the hypocrisy that exists whereby countries that lecture Ireland, can use the ECB to screw Greece, for every last debt.

  23. Deco

    The biggest liability that any Irish negotiations on Brexit, can hold, is FF as the back seat driver of the government.

    The party that bankrupted Ireland, is a back seat driver, and they are prepared to sabotage our interests, for a few crumbs off the master’s table in Brussels.

    • McCawber

      FF are a lot worse than you give them credit.
      FF will do anything to promote FF no matter the cost to the citizens of Ireland.
      Perhaps your reference to crumbs/EU is just meant as an example of that but it totally underrepresents the lengths FF will go to get/retain power.

      • Lads, a large percentage of the population voted for Fianna Fail, a few short years after they bankrupted the country so as far as I’m concerned those voting turkeys are welcome to Christmas and fully deserve what they get.

    • A guardian viewpoint is one to be on your guard about. It is always socialist in outlook as demonstrated..

      ” As the self-hating state destroys its own power to distribute wealth, support public services and protect the NHS from ruin; as it rips up the rules protecting workers, the living world, our food, water and the very air we breathe; as disabled people are pushed off a cliff and poor people are evicted from their homes, we stand and stare.”

      From this one is under the impression that the state saves us from devastation rather than creation of a reliance bordering on constant servitude to the state.

  24. “”Many individuals see the attempts of the EU to take over Europe as the same as any foreign invader. After all, they have examples like Greece to look at. The title of one Russian-Insider article puts it succinctly: Greece to Surrender Gold, Utilities and Real Estate in Exchange For Pieces of Paper Printed in Brussels.”"

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