Britain’s Elites Can’t Ignore the Masses

Megan McArdle wrote the other day about her experience in a European airport and spending a day in Luton. if you would know the real reason that England specifically voted for Brexit, I think she found it, as well as anyone can sort out the many and varied reasons why the Brits decided to leave. None of it strikes me as racist, really, nor would I have expected it of the Brits. It merely strikes me as a feeling that the lifeboat is full, and that to swamp it will do no one any good.

The airport was short on seats and power outlets even before flight-delayed travelers were stacked eight-deep along the floors. Perhaps a dozen of us middle-aged folk had wrested a single power outlet from the teenagers who had tethered themselves to all the other sources of battery-life-giving energy in the vicinity. We huddled around this small electric flame in the manner of travelers everywhere, taking what sustenance we could, drinking wine and swapping stories of our homelands. I was asked to explain Donald Trump. And by way of getting my own back, I naturally asked about the referendum on Brexit, which is now just days away.

The folks I talked to were from all over Britain, but they had middle age in common as well as, mostly, membership in the petit bourgeoisie. What did they think about leaving the EU?

“I still don’t know how I’m going to vote,” said an adult-education teacher from the Midlands, who then proceeded to deliver a long and earnest speech about the cost of providing social services to immigrants, which suggested that she wasn’t really so unsure. Her sentiments were echoed by other people I talked to during that endless layover.

These weren’t racist diatribes; no one mentioned race or nationality, and, in fact, they were very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants. They just didn’t want to have to accept them into their country — operative words “have to.” The dominant tone was what is often called compassion fatigue, and their arguments were not unreasonable.

Riding a refugee-crowded ferry back from the Greek island of Lesvos last fall, my heart broke for every one of the families I saw. But I couldn’t help but ask myself just how many such people Europe could absorb in a short period of time. The people in the airport were asking themselves the same question, and the answer they were getting was “no more, please.”

Around 1:30 Monday morning, a budget jet brought me to Luton, where I stayed overnight. The next leg of my travel did not begin until late afternoon, and so I took the opportunity to walk around the area near the Mall Luton, which turned out to be a very good place to think about Brexit.

Luton is a city of about 200,000 people on the outskirts of London. It was once known for its manufacture of hats, and in 1905, Vauxhall Motors opened a manufacturing plant in Luton. The company stopped making passenger cars there in 2002, and the town is now — like so many places in Europe and America — looking for its post-industrial future. EasyJet, a budget airline, is based there, but as you so often find in similar cities in the U.S., the biggest employers are the local government and the local hospital. It has also had a dramatic shift in population. The Luton councilestimates that “between 50% and 75% of the population would not have lived in Luton or not have been born at the time of the 2001 Census.” It is now minority white British, and only barely majority white.

via Britain’s Elites Can’t Ignore the Masses – Bloomberg View

So very much of this, in my view, comes down to the ‘elites’ completely losing touch with the population, in Britain, yes. But also in America, where in my view it has propelled Donald Trump, and may well see him as President. Will it make America Great again? I doubt it, but there is a price to be paid for losing touch with one’s people, and the bill may be coming due, or perhaps overdue. It certainly did in Britain, where a majority of people, mostly working people like you and me, not the educated elites, have simply had enough, and whatever problems that causes, well, if the toffs had been listening, it need not have gotten to this point. In the final assessment, the people are sovereign, and while they care about others, they care more about those like them, and especially their children.

Don’t we all?

And the last Word, for our British Friends and Cousins.

Out brexit

This was Tweeted by Elizabeth Hurley, and I’m inclined to give it credence. http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/1500000/Elizabeth-elizabeth-hurley-1548027-1024-768.jpg

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

We’ve talked here about all the reasons you should vote leave, and I will not rehash them, yet again. But Thomas Paine was speaking to you, even as he was us, back on 23 December 1776 when he wrote this:

THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

And mind you, that is exactly what is at stake in this referendum, the heritage you built (and passed on to us) of a free people in a free land. Great Britain or Britannia as the Romans called it. A mere outpost of a nondemocratic empire.

Soon we will know what you have decided, we Americans, like your own writers have told you what we see, and what we think you should do. But, as it should be, it is up to you, the people of Great Britain, especially England, which will decide the issue. Vote as you think right.

But we will always remember the Great Britain that inspired us, and fought by our side throughout the last century, with awe and thanks, and we will always remember that your bequest to us was our freedom, and power, and ability to mostly do the right thing. You know, this Great Britain.

You may choose, of course, the temporary safety of the German Zollverein, that is your privilege, but the world needs Great Britain to help lead it to ‘the broad sunlit uplands’, of freedom and peace, and so do we.

And so, as Charles James Fox during the Revolution wore the buff and blue of the Continental Army into Parliament, today I shall be wearing, the Union Jack in my lapel.

I Tweeted this morning a comment from The Conservative Woman because it says it all, and besides, there is nothing little about England, it’s freedom and language is the aspiration of the entire world.

 

 

Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions

Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief. Uber is on its way to amassing $15 billion in real cash since starting in 2009. Its valuation on paper is $68 billion. Credit Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

This is interesting, and a chase of pace. Apparently Uber is sitting on a pile of cash and borrowing more. I don’t know enough here to even have an opinion, but it tends to fascinate me. Here, read the whole thing.™:

It feels like almost every other week there is a new headline about Uber raising more money. “Uber Closes $1.6 Billion in Financing.’’ “Uber Turns to Saudi Arabia for $3.5 Billion Cash Infusion.’’ Last week, we got this one: “Uber to Raise Up to $2 Billion in Leveraged-Loan Market.’’

If you add up all the money Uber has raised since it started in 2009 — the idea was born when its founders became annoyed that they could not get a cab in Paris — the ride-hailing app company is on its way to amassing a colossal $15 billion. That’s real cash, not some funny-money, paper-based valuation. (That figure is $68 billion.) It has done all this while still managing to remain a private company, and its chief executive,Travis Kalanick, has insisted that a public offering is not coming soon. “I’m going to make sure it happens as late as possible,” he has repeatedly said.

Consider this: When Amazon went public in 1997, it raised $54 million and was valued at $438 million.

So what exactly is Uber doing with all that money? And what does it say about Uber — and the financial markets — that the company has turned most recently to selling the equivalent of junk bonds?

Yes, Uber has to finance an all-out war to gain market share in China and India. But there is more to it than that: Uber’s money-grab is seemingly part of an unspoken strategy to mark its territory.

Every time Uber raises another $1 billion, venture capital investors and others may find it less attractive to back one of Uber’s many rivals: Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Gett, Halo, Juno. In other words, Uber’s fund-raising efforts have seemingly become part of the contest: It’s not just a rivalry over customers and drivers; it’s a war of attrition, a mad scramble to starve the competition of cash.

At the moment, Uber’s success has had the opposite effect: It has spawned a long list of rivals, big and little guys who say, “We can do it too.” But over time, as the smaller competitors run out of cash — after heavily subsidizing riders in an effort to steal business from Uber — venture capitalists should be less inclined to put up even more cash to go up against Fortress Uber.

via Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions – The New York Times

Like I said could be. But at the very end, the author makes a silly mistake. He forgets, if he ever knew, that there are no monopolies in nature (or free markets), somebody will always compete, usually better. The only way a monopoly exists is when it enforced by strong arm tactics, either of the players or the government.

Just ask the US carmakers, back in the 50s and 60s they could sell us any piece of overpriced junk they wanted to, no matter how shoddily manufactured. What happened? Volkswagen and Toyota. The Brits were at least as bad, so we’ll finish with Jeremy Clarkson on how they killed their auto industry.

We got a little luckier, we made it worthwhile for foreign makers to build plants here, and they did, in states that had never (for the most part) built cars or been unionized, and that’s why so many cars with funny names actually are American made, sometimes with American parts. And those workers have gained a reputation as the best in the world. Something that no one who ever dealt with the UAW ever said.

 

Hullo, Mummy. Welcome to the Revolution!

World US

How Americans see Europe

Over here, we’ve long viewed the United Kindom as the mother country. After all, we based our freedom on English practice, as we did our law, our trade practices, and even our treatment of each other. In fact, that was so strong that our founders referred to the Revolution, not the rebellion. That is because we were completing the revolution, restoring our rights as Englishmen, not rebelling against lawful authority. That is most of the reason that after the unpleasantness in 1812-1815, it became pretty easy for us to resume our friendship.

And you know, the revolution is completing yet again, as the United Kingdom itself finds itself in exactly the same position as we did 240 years ago, being ruled by another power, without representation, in their case, Brussels and the European Union. Mark Twain said history rhymes, but this is almost as close as history ever comes to repeating.

Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has also noticed this phenomenon:

[Recently at Colonial Williamsburg] Oh yes, and we also got together in a mob outside Raleigh Tavern and hanged Lord North in effigy. […] Most of you, I suspect, will not know who Lord North was or why we were (symbolically) hanging him. But it’s entirely relevant today.

w1056 (1)Lord North was His Majesty’s Prime Minister during the crucial years of the American Revolution, from 1770 to 1782. The specific infractions for which he was subjected to mock trial and hanging in effigy were the Intolerable Acts, a series of punitive measures against Boston that were widely interpreted as a declaration of war against colonial America.

Today, we tend to think of the American Revolution as a war against King George III. But it was just as much a war against the British Parliament and its leadership, which was increasingly regarded by Americans as a “foreign” body that did not represent them. We already had our own, long-established legislatures (Virginia’s General Assembly, for example, will soon celebrate its 400th anniversary and is one of the oldest in the world), and we considered them to be our proper representatives, solely authorized to approve legislation on our behalf.

[and] The key issue — the breaking point — is the European Union’s practice of seeking to validate its authority through popular referendums then ignoring them when they don’t get the result they wanted.

The EU crossed a fatal line when it smuggled through the Treaty of Lisbon, by executive cabal, after the text had already been rejected by French and Dutch voters in its earlier guise. It is one thing to advance the Project by stealth and the Monnet method, it is another to call a plebiscite and then to override the outcome.

[…] And when you think of it, we were just following the British example. Britain had faced its own conflicts between the authority of Parliament and the overreaching ambitions of its kings, and they had already set the example of removing the king to preserve the power of Parliament. Before we did it in the 18th century, they did it in the 17th century — twice. Britain itself had established the precedents of the rule of law and the consent of the governed. I don’t know why they would want to throw that away now.

via Brexit: Welcome, Britain, To Our Revolution

You know he is exactly right. We took those (God-given) rights that the English had taken back for themselves, and enforced that they could not be removed from the people, as the English had done over the centuries. That is really how the Amerexit from the first empire came about. Now it’s up to the British to take back Britain for themselves, with Brexit. If you think you need justification, how about John Locke, who said this:

The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, no body else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative[,] being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.

He was hardly alone, he was supported in Parliament (the only time it happened) by both William Pitt the Elder, and Charles James Fox, who took to wearing the blue and buff of the Continental Army in Parliament itself.

John Adams chimed in with this:

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.

Yes, we’ve talked about this before, that article is here.

One of the things that America has preserved is the written history of liberty, it is probably harder with the government in Parliament, and that problem is why our founders organized these United States as they did. We’re an originalist bunch, basing ourselves on rights hard won by Englishmen and Americans alike.

UKIP has a very cute video out as well.

Come on out, the sun is shining and there’s corn, and most of all, there’s freedom.

Something I rarely do, but I think you should also read this:

 http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/06/21/this-realm-this-england/

 

Jo Cox, RIP

Jo-Cox-2Yesterday, a British MP was assassinated. Yes, I know, you missed it on the news, well I hate to say it I did too. I guess it wasn’t important enough to tell Americans about, but it is. Here’s why.

First off she was a woman, her name is Jo Cox, in her early 40s, married, mother of two small children. By all a counts a very decent, charming, humanitarian, gifted woman. Our thoughts, like those of the decent Britons, are with her, and her family, we share in very small measure, their loss.

The problem is, as it is here, there wasn’t time to wash up the blood before the blaming and recriminations began, just as it was after Orlando. This unseemly finger-pointing has become the hallmark of our societies, and I think we would be well advised to simply stop it. No Nigel Farage didn’t want Jo Cox to be murdered, nor did he order it, but when rhetoric runs as hot and fast as it does lately, should we really be surprised when things like this happen. No,we should not be, nor should we be, when they happen on the other side, for that matter. If we characterize everyone who opposes us as evil, well, first we denigrate the term evil, for evil is much worse than misguided, and that’s mostly what we see in political terms. Yes, I mean that to be taken both ways. Second, our words may, in fact, call forth evil, as may have happened yesterday.

Cranmer this morning says this:

And then a brief thesis from EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos: “Jo Cox murdered for her dedication to European democracy and humanity. Extremism divides and nourishes hatred..” And with this, you begin to see how the laudable fight against hatred becomes a fight against what some people hate, and evil becomes all that is disagreeable or contentious. Brexit? Good Lord, no, not now. It is driven by the demons of prejudice, hatred and bigotry. Jo Cox was for Remain, and we must honour her memory by voting to remain. It is what she would have wanted.

And that is also what we saw at last weekend, isn’t it? The rush to man the barricades for our causes, to cast ‘the other’ into the den of iniquity, while wearing our pure white garments. Well, I call nonsense on all of us. We’re men and women, all of us, trying to do good while trying to pick our way through a minefield, while seeing through a glass darkly. Good and evil exist, and they have their place in the discussion, but they are not what motivates most people, most of the time. Give the opposition this much credit, in very few cases, if any, does anyone in either Britain or America seek to wreak actual harm on anyone. Most of the harm is unintended consequences, no less harmful, maybe, but not intentional, either.

Jess too, wrote about this today, and I think her perspective is important.

I would go further. Rhetoric is meant to have consequences – that is its purpose, that is why it is used at all. We see this same toxic rhetoric of betrayal used in the sphere of religion too – anyone who reads certain blogs where the Pope is called ‘Bergoglio’ will have some idea of the form this rhetoric takes, excusing itself by saying that what its exponents believe is true and urgent and justifies the language and tone; so say all rabble-rousers. Contemptuous rhetoric can easily lead to contempt in action.

Pope St John Paul II described ‘solidarity’ with others as not a ‘feel of vague compassion or shallow distress’, but rather a ‘firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to see to the good of each and every individual, because we are all really responsible for all’. Jo Cox showed that sort of solidarity, first at Oxfam, and then, as an MP, as a prominent campaigner for more help to be given to Syrian refugees. I have no idea whether she was a Christian, but she lived by St John Paul’s definition of solidarity. She was, by all account, an excellent constituency MP, engaging closely with the community into which she was born.

Our world is a worse place today because Jo Cox is no longer in it. She was taken from us by an evil man, likely a deranged one, we don’t know, we may never really know, why. But the incredibly bad campaign rhetoric over Brexit, while it likely wasn’t the only cause, may have a share in the blame.

We, in Britain, and in America, can and must do better than this.

Yes, I’m sure that Ms. Cox and I disagreed about many things, in life, and in politics, but she made us all better, for there is nothing worse than working without opposition, it causes so very many mistakes.

God grant you peace, my sister, Jo, and provide comfort to your family.

 

The Stupidest Thing on the Internet

5002I was going to pass up this story, it’s essentially published bullshit, but found enough commentary from others to at least make it funny. Yes, I know it’s not kind to point at others and laugh, but I’m inclined to think it’s alright when they take wrong information tie it together with lies and expect to convince anybody. Case in point, from The Victory Girls.

After firing the AR-15, NY Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman is terrified – of the gun

by JENNY NORTH on JUNE 14, 2016

VG readers, it is hard to believe that any self-respecting person, much less someone who identifies as male, would actually publish a confessional like this: Firing an AR-15 is horrifying, menacing, and very very loud.

It feels like a bazooka — and sounds like a cannon.

Gersh Kuntzman, an award winning journalist at NY Daily Mail, is curious, and with all the talk about the big bad weapons of war in the news, he thought he should go try them out for himself.

Gersh_kuntzman_2015

Gersh Kuntzman, not a fan of the AR-15

But that is not the first reason he cited for trying out the AR-15 – what he said was this:

One day after 49 people were killed in the Orlando shooting, I traveled to Philadelphia to better understand the firepower of military-style assault weapons and, hopefully, explain their appeal to gun lovers.

So that’s what drives him to the range – seeing how it would feel to be a murderer?

Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened. In fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in front of your barrel.

All it takes is the will to do it.

Forty nine people can be gone in 60 seconds.

Hey, that’s why I go the range, don’t you?

But what old Gersh finds out is that it is the gun itself – not the person behind it – that terrifies him:

I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).

The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.

Ahhh, deep breath. Warning, readers, some profanity does follow.

Gersh, I have to speak to you directly. You are a complete moron. I have to question what “pistols” you’ve shot before. They were water pistols weren’t they?! Can’t have been more than a .22 for you to have such a big surprise upon shooting some real ammunition.

Via After firing the AR-15, NY Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman is terrified – of the gun. Do read the whole thing™, I laughed till I cried, and I also cried until I laughed. It’s that kind of story.

I’m like anybody else who grew up in the country, I started shooting as a kid, with a Daisy BB gun, and occasional lessons on Dad’s .410 bolt action shotgun, starting at, heck I don’t know, 7 maybe. Never could shoot that particular gun well, but did OK with the bolt action .22 I got for my 10th birthday. Being a responsible kid had its rewards, I also got a new (used) lawnmower.:) Both were mine to use as I saw fit, to take care of, and to be responsible with. (The mower was actually far more dangerous in my hands than the rifle).

But .223 Remington that the AR 15 fires a very nice mild round, that’s why we all like it so much, it’s a perfect round, and the AR 15 itself, is nearly a perfect rifle for what I tend to call a ranch gun. The one we drag around with us out on the ranch, for snakes, coyotes, perhaps the occasional calf that has to be put down, whatever. Rather like the Winchester that our Grandfathers carried on the saddle, except it’s a lot tougher, and better in almost every way. Kind of like the Leatherman we also carry around.

For me, at least, it’s marginal for anything else, multiple rounds well, placed, will work, but you may or may not have time. That’s when it time to go what we used to call battle rifles, M1s, M1As, Springfields, and such. I find it interesting that all of those rifles, including the Winchester’s daddy, the Henry, started out with the US Army. They, unlike the AR 15, can bruise your shoulder, they can also get the job done on anything in North America. Yes, they’re fun too. But they cost more, are noisier, and more expensive (last I looked) to feed. And truthfully, in a semi rural setting, they’re likely more powerful than is warranted, albeit a whole lot better than nothing, but not what I’d buy for rural self-defense, either.

So maybe when whatshername up above gets her (child-size) knickers untwisted, (s)he can go back to reviewing frappes or whatever he does to supposedly justify his income. He sure has no insight to be sharing on the affairs of men.

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