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In case you’ve missed the earlier posts in this series, here they are: parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The best known of the minority MPs from David Cameron’s premiership — 2010 to 2016 — is Rishi Sunak, who is Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He represents the Richmond constituency in Yorkshire.

Early years

Rishi Sunak’s grandparents moved from the Punjab province of India to East Africa. Rishi’s mother Usha was born in Tanzania. His father Yashvir was born in Kenya. Both are Hindus.

Both sets of grandparents migrated to the UK in the 1960s.

After marriage, Usha and Yashvir settled in Southampton, on the southern coast of England. Usha worked locally as a pharmacist. Yashvir was a general practitioner.

The couple have three children: Rishi, another son Sanjay, who is a psychologist, and a daughter Raakhi, who works on COVID-19 strategy for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Rishi Sunak went to the renowned public (private) school Winchester College, founded in 1382, where he was head boy and editor of the student newspaper.

He then went to Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated with a First in 2001 in PPE, which is nothing to do with hospital gowns, rather Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Whilst at Oxford, he did a brief stint at Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

During summer holidays he worked at a curry house in Southampton.

Sunak began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he worked as an analyst from 2001 to 2004.

He then decided to study for an MBA at Stanford University in California, where he met his wife, Akshata Murthy, the daughter of the Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, the man behind Infosys. The couple married in 2005. Sunak, a Fulbright Scholar, completed his MBA in 2006.

Sunak and his wife settled in England and have two young daughters.

Prior to entering politics, Sunak worked for two hedge funds and was also the director of one of his father-in-law’s companies, Catamaran Ventures.

Political career

Former Conservative Party leader William Hague represented Richmond, which has been a safe seat for the party for over a century.

Rishi Sunak was elected comfortably to his first term with a majority of 19,550 (36.2%). Once in Parliament, he was appointed to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

Sunak was also committed to Brexit and was an early advocate of free ports, having written a report on the concept in 2016, the year of the referendum.

In 2017, with Theresa May as Prime Minister, Sunak won re-election with an even greater majority of 23,108 (40.5%). In Parliament, he continued to support Brexit, voting for Theresa May’s deal and against a referendum on a final withdrawal agreement in 2019.

That year, Theresa May stood down as PM. Sunak supported Boris Johnson in the ensuing leadership contest.

That autumn, during the general election campaign, he appeared on a television debate, representing the Conservatives:

I am sure Sunak did better than Iain Dale gave him credit for:

He also participated in a seven-way debate on ITV.

On December 12, Sunak further increased his margin of victory at the polls to 27,210 (47.2%).

The coronavirus Chancellor — and some inside scoops

Then, in February 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson replaced Sajid Javid with Rishi Sunak as Chancellor:

He gave his first budget less than a month later, on Wednesday, March 11, which I wrote about at the time.

The following Monday, March 16, Boris announced social distancing rules and the closure of pubs, restaurants and events venues. Rishi spoke at one of Boris’s televised coronavirus briefings with news of a generous financial package:

Guido Fawkes posted the full video and remarked (emphasis in the original):

You wouldn’t guess he’s only been in the job for five weeks…

Full details are here. Sunak also issued a Twitter thread with a summary:

Then lockdown came a week later on Monday, March 23.

A few days later, Boris was struggling with his bout of coronavirus, as was Health Secretary Matt Hancock:

The Conservatives soared to record approval ratings in the polls:

Early in April, Boris was quietly rushed to St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Rishi did another coronavirus briefing to reassure an anxious nation:

The well-spoken, gentle Sunak appealed greatly to the folks at home. The Independent did not like that one bit.

Society magazine Tatler began running articles on Sunak in March. They could see he would quickly become a cult personality.

On March 18, the magazine posted an article by Annabel Sampson, ‘Everything you need to know about Britain’s new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’.

It begins with this (emphases mine):

The virtues of 39-year-old Rishi Sunak have been extolled many times over; for his charming demeanour, his razor sharp brain and his acute financial sense. Now the man who has come to be recognised as the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’, thanks to his Indian ancestry and Yorkshire home, has been appointed to the highest office in the country, to Boris Johnson’s Cabinet in the role of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the second biggest government job; and the second youngest person ever to take the position.

The appointment follows the ‘Cabinet Reshuffle’ that occurred in February when Savid Javid, the former Chancellor, resigned when he was asked to get rid – reportedly a request linked to Dominic Cummings – of his closest aides. Rishi Sunak’s star has been rising for some time now, so his appointment to the position will have baffled few.

The article has several photos, including one of Sunak in the Yorkshire countryside and one with his dog, which resembles Boris Johnson’s Welsh rescue pup, Dilyn.

Sunak and his wife had a traditional Indian wedding:

Rishi and Akshata were married in her hometown of Bangalore, in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests.

Akshata is a working mother:

Akshata runs her own fashion label Akshata Designs and is also a director of a venture capital firm founded by her father in 2010. Her designs are wonderful; she’s been profiled by Vogue India and been credited for creating clothes that are ‘vehicles to discovering Indian culture’ – comprised of chic silhouettes with bold, Indian design.

Did we know that the Sunaks throw great parties? We do now:

With their combined wealth, they understandably have a generously sized home in Northallerton, North Yorkshire (in Sunak’s constituency). The Daily Mail reports that their annual summer garden party is a county highlight; where uniformed staff loft around serving ice cold champagne and canapés (no doubt prepared by the prestigious Yorkshire Party Company).

Sunak is a natural at politics:

According to the Daily Mail, ‘While many MPs stutter and trundle their way through their maiden speech in the Commons, Mr Sunak’s at-ease manner provided a glimmer of what was to come’. One ally in parliament told the Telegraph: ‘He’s ferociously intelligent and thoroughly decent at the same time’

He was one of the few Conservatives who were let loose on the air waves (14 times in total) and allowed to make public appearances during the election campaign last year. He has even been dubbed the ‘Prime Minister-in-waiting’, we’ll see. His first big challenge was the March budget; and now he is juggling the unprecedented complexity of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. The UK are in safe hands.

The article also has a photo of him supporting Yorkshire County Cricket at Edgbaston.

Early in July, Tatler‘s Ben Judah travelled to Sunak’s home town of Southampton and reported his findings in ‘Inside the world of Rishi Sunak’.

Naturally, Judah went to the curry house where Sunak worked during his summer holidays:

The kitchen at Kuti’s Brasserie, not far from Southampton docks, was not the sort of place, in August 1998, you would have gone looking for a future hedge funder, son-in-law of a billionaire and Conservative chancellor.

That summer – the summer of the France 98 World Cup and the Omagh bombing – Kuti Miah, the eponymous restaurateur behind the curry house, went to have a word with one of his waiters. ‘You’re going to be someone, Rishi,’ he said. The future UK chancellor flashed his famous smile. He was, adds Miah, ‘a brilliant talker’. Rishi Sunak, then 18, was about to go to Oxford, but that holiday he waited tables for Miah, a close family friend, to earn some pocket money. ‘I saw him grow up,’ says Miah. ‘His father used to bring him in his carry cot.’

Miah was fast friends with Yashvir and Usha Sunak, both Hindu Punjabis born in colonial Kenya and Tanzania respectively, whose parents had migrated from India. After India’s independence, both families left East Africa for Southampton in the mid-to-late 1960s. Yashvir and Usha met in Britain and married. He became a local GP and she ran a pharmacy. They were ‘brilliant conversationalists’ and ‘very strong believers’ who ‘worked very, very hard’, according to Miah, who also recalls that they were ‘passionately British’.

Rishi, the eldest of their three children, was cut from the same patriotic cloth. Not only did the young Sunak fall in love with the game of cricket, he fervently supported England over India at any opportunity. His career, too, has followed one of the most traditional and storied of England’s paths to power. Like five chancellors of the exchequer before him, Sunak was schooled at the ancient and distinguished Winchester College; and like three of those same Wykehamist chancellors, he went on, as was expected, to study at Oxford.

The article includes a photo of Sunak with his wife and in-laws.

Ben Judah had met Rishi Sunak before, in 2015, just before the general election that year. They met up in Northallerton, North Yorkshire:

We were a long way from London – from where Sunak had been ‘parachuted in’ for the seat. During the interview, I had a distinct sense of being the only person in the cafe who knew that this slight man in a Barbour jacket was running for parliament. ‘I tell this story when I’m out and about,’ he said, coffee in hand, ‘that you can come to this country with very little… My grandparents came with very little from a village in northern India, and two generations on, their grandson has this enormous privilege of running as a candidate for parliament. For my family, the route was education.’

Well said.

Sunak’s candidacy in 2015 raised some eyebrows:

He was vying for a seat once presided over by Tory grandees William Hague and Leon Brittan. But I had spent days in Richmond and the surrounding area, reporting on the resentment his sudden arrival had stirred up among certain local Tory notables, who felt the seat in the Dales was rightfully theirs. ‘There was a very acrimonious constituency battle,’ claimed one source, with a lot of hostility to an outsider coming in.

Sunak’s wife had also met with some resistance on the campaign trail, says Judah.

However, Sunak’s father-in-law enthusiastically flew to England where he helped to campaign:

Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law, NR Narayana Murthy, however, has been so enthusiastic about Sunak’s parliamentary career that he’d flown in, and had even been leafleting on his behalf, wearing a Rishi sweatshirt. ‘To be honest,’ said Sunak in Costa Coffee that day, ‘I think it’s patronising to assume minorities should only run in minority seats.’

The article discusses Sunak’s property profile:

On 7 May 2015, Sunak won, with more than 50 per cent of the vote (a Ukip vote of 15 per cent had appeared from nowhere). He put down roots in his new constituency of Richmond, North Yorkshire, augmenting a £10 million property portfolio (metropolitan digs in London – a Kensington mews house, a flat on Old Brompton Road – and a place in California) with a £1.5 million Georgian manor in Yorkshire set across 12 acres, including an ornamental lake. Here, he now entertains the constituency membership with lavish summer parties at which uniformed staff serve champagne and canapés. He has been repeatedly dubbed by newspapers the ‘Maharajah of the Yorkshire Dales’.

The general public know less about those details. Nonetheless, Rishi Sunak has become a household name:

In a swift few years, Sunak has become known as many things: Dishy Rishi to the tabloids; one of the richest MPs in Westminster; the second-youngest-ever chancellor of the exchequer, presiding over a £350 billion package to boost the economy (the largest ever recorded in peacetime); and a former hedge funder whose profile has risen faster than stocks in a vaccine manufacturer.

However dazzling all of this is now, things were very different when Sunak entered Winchester College as an adolescent:

… Winchester would come at a price for the Sunaks. No sooner was he accepted than Rishi’s good fortune immediately foundered: he missed out on the expected scholarship. Desperate not to let the opportunity go to waste, his parents decided to take on the high fees themselves, picking up extra work and making what the chancellor has called considerable ‘sacrifices’. His brother would later follow.

One of his classmates discussed Sunak and described Winchester in the mid- to late 1990s:

Tim Johnson, now a lawyer, was in the boarding house next door. ‘Rishi was a good chap, in boarding-school idiom,’ he recalled. Sunak, he said, was a ‘reasonable cricketer’, who stood out in friendliness; and he was a solid, but never number one, student. ‘Rishi was always expected to do something,’ Johnson remembered. But exactly what, beyond Winchester, was vague. ‘He was always expected to be head boy as he was clever enough, reasonable enough and well behaved enough.’ This became Sunak’s thing – hard work and attainment, becoming the first Winchester head of school from an Indian background.

Sunak was different to other sixth formers in Winchester: a lifelong nondrinker, he wasn’t distracted by the allure of the pub. But there was something else that marked him out from the herd. He was a conservative in every sense: not only in his outlook and demeanour but in his religious attitudes, too – a practising Hindu who avoided beef. At school, where few boys were political, Sunak was clearly ‘associated with the Tories’, said Johnson. It was 1997, The Chemical Brothers were topping the charts and the mood was rebellious. Counterculture, New Labour and ripped jeans were in; the Conservatives were out. ‘That wasn’t his intellectual jam. Rishi didn’t play that game,’ Johnson explained.

‘Everyone was chipper about it when Blair won,’ Johnson said. But not Rishi. His family’s story was closer to Margaret Thatcher’s than that of his bourgeois Labourite classmates. Watching the early results of the landslide on election night 1997, Sunak sat down to write a gloomy article for the school magazine, The Wykehamist, lamenting the news. His main complaint: Europe. ‘He revels in the label of a patriot,’ he complained of Tony Blair, ‘but has plans for the possible break-up of the United Kingdom and membership of an eventual European Superstate.’ The seeds of Brexit were already in his mind.

‘Already,’ fretted Sunak, ‘the New Labour rhetoric sounds worryingly pro-European and avid pro-Europeans are being sent to Brussels’

Later, at Oxford, Sunak had a low profile, unlike his predecessor as MP, William Hague:

He was nothing like the young William Hague, who arrived at Oxford fêted and almost a Tory celebrity, or the young Boris Johnson, the blond beast who tore apart the Oxford Union. At Oxford, Sunak was a nobody, much like Tony Blair.

He continued to eschew strong drink:

Oxford acquaintances remember him as a nerdy teetotaller who was ‘just very clearly going into business’. He would ‘make this big thing’ out of drinking Coke in the pub. ‘Rishi was unknown to the student politicians, that gossipy overlapping world, who all knew each other,’ said Marcus Walker, then-president of the Oxford University Conservative Association, now a clergyman. Sunak was never a member.

It is hard to remember how irrelevant and demoralised Tory circles felt after 1997, but some do recall Sunak as a ‘Thatcherite’ and ‘Eurosceptic’. ‘That was absolutely par for the course,’ said Walker. ‘If you were still a Tory after 1997, you were a Eurosceptic. That was all you had left.’

Nevertheless, Sunak did develop a network from his Winchester College and Oxford days. Graduates from Winchester are called Old Wykehamists:

These days, socially, Sunak has been placed by some in Westminster’s Spectator set. He was best man to his lifelong friend and fellow Old Wykehamist James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator, at Forsyth’s politician-studded wedding in 2011, to Allegra Stratton, the national editor at ITV Newsand gave what one guest recalled was ‘one of the most touching best man’s speeches I’ve ever heard’. (In fact, Stratton has recently announced she’s leaving ITV News for a job with Sunak at the Treasury. Some have seen this as very Cameron-esque in its ‘chumocracy’.)

Allegra Stratton, also a good friend of ITV’s Robert Peston, now works for Boris Johnson as his notional press secretary, although she has not yet begun to give press briefings, probably because of coronavirus.

Imagine the son of immigrants having ties to Britain’s two oldest — ancient — magazines: The Spectator and Tatler. Wow.

Tatler‘s Ben Judah also spoke with people who had worked with Sunak during his hedge fund days. They painted a similar character portrait of the Chancellor:

After two years in California completing a CV-topping MBA, he returned to London and Mayfair in 2006, where a new type of boutique finance was booming: hedge funds. He was hired by Sir Chris Hohn at The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI). It was a dream job: a big role at an activist firm off Berkeley Square at the peak of their fame. ‘He appears to have been trusted,’ said a source. Indeed, Sunak was made a partner two years later. Contemporaries remember him ever-ready to meet and greet; a mixture of a junior, deputy and a bag carrier; the perfect foil to Hohn’s bolshy swagger. ‘Ridiculously nice.’ ‘Affable.’ ‘Approachable.’ ‘Charming.’ These are the words that come up again and again among Mayfair types who knew Sunak. The charm was of a particular kind: ‘There are two kinds of people at hedge funds,’ said one source. ‘Handsome and thin smooth-talkers who are always on the phone or going out to lunch with clients, getting them to part with their money. And then quants in the back room with their shirts buttoned up badly.’

Sunak was one of the smooth-talkers, his charm honed on calls to investors, getting them on board with whatever drastic moves the fund wanted to make. The kind of charm that prizes clarity and persuades people to part with their money. It worked: but hedge-fund charm is designed to hide as much as it reveals. The atmosphere at TCI was buccaneering and bold; it both led and profited from a controversial banking raid that eventually meant a £45.5 billion public bailout of the Royal Bank of Scotland. (The Treasury and TCI say Sunak was not involved in the deal.) He left when TCI split in 2009, and joined the breakaway hedge fund Theleme Partners. His new firm’s reputation took a knock when its founder was revealed to have used a notorious tax avoidance scheme. The Labour Party researched Sunak’s past during the 2019 election. ‘But he was too little known for us to use it,’ said one source

His reasons for entering Parliament are equally obscure. Those who know him have different opinions as to why. One thing that everyone agrees on is his penchant for order:

Many in Westminster see his motivation as status. ‘He’s not an ideologue,’ said one Tory source. ‘He wanted to enter politics in that old-fashioned way, because it was seen as the good thing to do.’ Good, as in socially ambitious. Whether that’s true is another matter, because first came a stint at Policy Exchange, leading a unit researching black and minority ethnic attitudes. The scruffy but influential Conservative think tank world is seen as a de facto holding pen for future special advisers, but it was nonetheless an unexpectedly technical way into Westminster for someone with means.

Sunak quickly made an impression. ‘He’s got that Blair-like ability to hold your eye,’ says Nick Faith, who worked with him there. Sunak cut a snappy figure amid slovenly suits. ‘He’s into his clothing.’ His is not the fusty establishment Rees-Mogg or Nicholas Soames style, but more the wiry Emmanuel Macron look. Everything Sunak wears, many remarked, is immaculate, even at the end of a Treasury work day, and fits perfectly. Faith says that ‘everything, from how Rishi dresses to how he structures his life, is very well organised’. Sunak’s elegant house in London, with a touch of Indian decor, reflects that. ‘Nothing is out of place. For someone with two small kids, that’s quite an achievement.’

Having learned from his background in finance, Sunak also knows how and when to place his bets:

‘His mind works in Excel,’ said one City contemporary. But like all hedge funders, it also works in bets: and the two biggest bets that Sunak has made in his career have paid off spectacularly – Brexit and Boris. David Cameron knew the gravity of his predicament when Sunak came out for Leave. ‘If we’ve lost Rishi, we’ve lost the future of the party,’ he reportedly said. The same thing played out in reverse in June 2019 when Sunak came out for Boris in The Times with two other MPs during the party leadership elections. This was widely seen in Westminster as a decisive turning point: the one where Johnson won over ‘the sensibles’ and pivoted the backbenchers. The PM seems to agree: all three have been handsomely rewarded.

In Parliament, he keeps a low profile but, to those who know him, is loyal:

‘He’s unknown in parliament,’ said one MP. ‘He doesn’t play the parliamentary game at all.’ Tory Remainers are sceptical of him. ‘It’s Star Wars,’ said one MP, referring to the chancellor’s strange and classically ‘geek-chic’ hobby for minutely detailed models of spaceships and video games. ‘Most of his political philosophy comes out of the Star Wars trade wars that are about the independence of various kingdoms from the Empire. He’s not someone intellectual.’ Loyalty has been his strongest suit. Sunak is a No 10 man. ‘He’s a grown-up,’ said one MP. ‘The only grown-up in Downing Street, despite him being 20 years younger than them.’

At the height of tensions over Brexit last year, he was cheerfully going around Westminster saying he would back ‘no deal’ if push came to shove. He struck the right note, in the right place, at the right time. Tensions between Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid’s teams exploded in February, when the then-chancellor resigned after refusing to fire his own special advisers and submit to an unprecedented joint team with Downing Street, effectively under the stewardship of Dominic Cummings. It was Sunak, with high skills and no clear agenda or faction behind him in parliament, whom Downing Street turned to. He quickly agreed to the joint team, once again becoming the perfect foil for an outsized boss

Even now, it’s still too early to say whether Rishi Sunak will become a future leader of the Conservative Party and, as such, a possible prime minister. A week is a long time in politics.

When Boris’s erstwhile special adviser Dominic Cummings broke coronavirus rules in travelling from London to Durham and back during Boris’s time in hospital, Sunak tried to calm the ever-turbulent waters surrounding Cummings, who was never popular with the Remainer media. He tweeted this after Cummings’s lengthy press conference in May:

In June, Sunak was tactful about the reopening of shops and businesses in Britain after the first coronavirus lockdown:

He also warned that his generous financial package could not go on indefinitely:

A few weeks later, in early July, pubs were allowed to reopen:

The Government launched the Enjoy Summer Safely campaign. Pictured below is Piccadilly Circus:

On July 8, he issued a Summer Economic Update, with financial help continuing (more here):

This included the launch of his Eat Out To Help Out plan, which lasted to the end of August:

A lot of Labour MPs didn’t like the plan. I don’t know why. Leftists own restaurants, too.

He cut VAT for the hospitality industry, too.

He also issued a detailed jobs plan, including an apprentice scheme:

Some men in the media were taking a shine to Dishy Rishi, including the leftist Owen Jones of The Guardian and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine:

At that time, the attention being given to Sunak and Boris Johnson got the better of Conservative MP Caroline Dineage, a Culture minister, who was questioned on masks, which were strongly suggested (mandatory only on public transport) but still optional in what now look like heady days. This was from a BBC interview:

asked why the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak had not worn one in public, she snapped: “You’d have to ask the Prime Minister and the Chancellor that, with respect.

“But it is something that is advised and we keep it under review.”

At the end of September 2020, the coronavirus crisis dragged on. Talk intensified about a winter lockdown.

On September 24, Sunak issued a Winter Economy Plan, about which I wrote at the time. When he presented it in the House of Commons, he advised all MPs to live ‘without fear’.

By October 6, Sunak was being blamed for an uptick in coronavirus ‘cases’ (positive test results, not necessarily hospital admissions) for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme:

A US study, which did not cover Britain, showed that hospitality venues were shown to be responsible. However, the study did not cover workplaces or hospitals. Nonetheless, it is still a contentious point even to this day.

The Sun‘s Harry Cole rightly, in my opinion, defended the Chancellor’s restaurant promotion.

Then talk of hospitality curfews emerged. Fellow Conservative MP Matt Vickers defended the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out programme, which had come to an end five weeks earlier.

The calls for a winter lockdown grew. The Chancellor rightly opposed them:

By then, more areas of England had moved into tiers, indicating more coronavirus cases. Sunak increased financial support to those cities and counties. He also offered more help to businesses, including the self-employed.

By November, some thought a storm was truly brewing between Boris and Rishi. Despite all the talk from the Government about people being able to meet loved ones at Christmas — for the first time in months, for many — a pessimistic undercurrent, which turned out to be accurate, seemed to be part of every news cycle.

Rumours circulated that Sunak was ready to resign. However, on November 1, the Daily Mail reported:

A source said there was a ‘collective decision’ to back a second lockdown, and that Mr Sunak ‘accepted it’ – and he did not threaten to resign, as some whispers around Westminster were suggesting yesterday.

The November lockdown was supposed to prevent a Christmas lockdown, but that was not to be. There was a brief re-opening before Christmas, and on December 19, the hammer fell once more.

Interestingly, the minority MPs in Cabinet shared Sunak’s concerns.

By the middle of December, Sunak was clearly worried about how long the borrowing could go on. On Saturday, December 19, the day when Boris announced Christmas was cancelled, The Spectator reported what the Chancellor said about borrowing and quantitative easing (QE):

‘Are you or anyone else going to guarantee me that, for the duration of this parliament, rates might not go back to 1 per cent?’ he asks, pointing out that this almost happened in March, before the Bank of England started printing money to bring rates back down. There is this very large QE thing that’s going on. No one has done that before. There are plenty of smart investors who are also thinking about the risks of inflation over the next 12 months. Because we are now so levered, small changes have huge cash implications. If I have to come up with £10-£20 billion a year in a few years’ time because things have changed — well, that’s a lot of money.’

To Sunak, it’s not just an economic problem but a political one. ‘If we [Tories] think borrowing is the answer to everything, that debt rising is fine, then there’s not much difference between us and the Labour party,’ he says.

The media criticised him for going to his constituency of Richmond for Christmas. To be fair, he did work while he was there, visiting a local hospital and a vaccine centre. He did not rush back to London.

On February 3, 2021, Sunak rightly accused scientists advising the Government of shifting the goalposts regarding lockdown:

This might be causing a rift in Boris’s Cabinet:

On a brighter note, Time magazine has included Rishi Sunak on its list of 100 ’emerging leaders’. On February 17, the Daily Mail reported:

Under the ‘leaders’ category, Chancellor Rishi Sunak landed a spot on the list, being described as the ‘benevolent face of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic’ by Times reporter Billy Perrigo.

The Chancellor’s profile piece discussed the furlough scheme, describing how he approved ‘large handouts’ for people whose jobs had been affected by coronavirus.

The piece also paid respect to Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which the magazine described as an attempt to ‘revive the economy’ by subsidizing dining out at restaurants.  

Although his profile acknowledges that Sunak bears more responsibility than most for his calls to ease lockdown restrictions, Time’s profile for the Chancellor admits he has earned himself a ‘legion of fans’.

Sunak’s accompanying profile points to a YouGov poll showing him to be the nation’s most popular politician and even tips him to be the bookmakers’ favourite as the next Prime Minister.  

Again, a week is a long time in politics. We shall see about the future as and when it happens.

For now, Sunak is focussing on the budget, to be delivered on March 3. He is asking industry leaders for their thoughts.

Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay was one of those leaders:

If Rishi Sunak ever tires of being an MP or Chancellor, a job in media awaits.

He is an excellent interviewer and researched Gordon Ramsay well. The 15-minute video is worth watching.

The list of minority Conservative MPs continues. All being well, more tomorrow.

Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series show what a diverse party the Conservatives have become in England.

More black and ethnic minority Conservatives entered Parliament during the years when David Cameron was Prime Minister between May 2010 and June 2016.

The list continues.

James Cleverly (Braintree)

James Cleverly is a Londoner, born and bred.

He has served the Essex constituency of Braintree since 2015. He also was the London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley between 2008 and 2016, during which time Boris Johnson was Mayor of London.

Prior to entering politics, Cleverly worked in publishing, both print and digital.

He has also been a member of the Territorial Army since 1991 and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel.

James Cleverly’s father is white British. His mother is originally from Sierra Leone. In 2020, at the height of last summer’s protests, to which he firmly objected, Cleverly told a BBC Question Time panel that he grew up at a time when interracial marriages were unusual. He said that the early 1970s for him were unpleasant and hurtful as a child as people sometimes made open remarks to or about his parents as they walked down the street.

One of his pet peeves is the biased BBC:

Cleverly is the first black to be appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party (2018-2019) and Co-Chariman (2019-2020). Ben Elliot was the other Co-Chairman:

He laid out the Party manifesto in this short video:

Prior to that appointment, he worked on Brexit as a junior minister for the Department for Exiting the European Union:

Later that autumn, he campaigned tirelessly for the Conservatives before the December 12 general election, in which they routed Labour …

… including in constituencies that had never before had a Conservative MP, such as Bishop Auckland (near Durham) and North Stoke (Stoke on Trent):

Early in 2020, he enjoyed posting this video in which Prime Minister thanked Labour voters for their support:

He was also able to get his Brexit countdown clock back on the wall:

Cleverly is currently the Minister for State for the Middle East and North Africa, to which he was appointed on February 13, 2020.

He is married and has two children.

Nus Ghani (Wealden)

Nus Ghani has served the constituency of Wealden, East Sussex, since 2015.

She was born in Kashmir to Pakistani parents in 1972. Her parents later moved to Birmingham, where she grew up.

Ghani worked in the charity sector before becoming an MP.

Since 2015, she has held a variety of posts on parliamentary committees and all-party groups.

She was Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, serving under Theresa May (2019) and was also Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Aviation and Maritime under May and Boris Johnson (2018-2020).

Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire)

Ranil Jayawardena is the son of a Sri Lankan father and Indian mother.

He has served the North East Hampshire constituency since 2015. He knows Hampshire well, having spent most of his life there. His parents moved there from London when he was a boy.

He graduated from the London School of Economics and worked as a senior manager for Lloyds Banking Group in capital markets, corporate banking and group executive functions.

Between 2008 and 2015, Jayawardena was a councillor of the borough of Basingstoke and Deane.

Since becoming an MP in 2015, he has held a number of positions on All-Party Parliamentary Groups. He has also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Work and Pensions as well as to the Ministry of Justice.

He was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in the early part of 2020.

Jayawardena is currently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Trade and helped to formulate Britain’s new trade deal with Japan:

He is now working on enhancing Britain’s trade with India:

Jayawardena is a Christian and was a trustee/director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.

He is married and has two daughters.

Alan Mak (Havant)

Alan Mak has been the MP for Havant, Hampshire, since 2015.

His parents were born in Guangdong then lived in Hong Kong before moving to England. Alan was born in Leeds in 1983.

He is the first MP of Cantonese and Asian origin. However, he wants to be known for representing all of Havant, as he told the South China Morning Post‘s Post Magazine:

It’s a stupid story. I am not standing for the Chinese population of Britain. I am standing for the people of Havant and my country.

Mak is a high achiever. He read Law at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he won the coveted ECS Wade Prize for Administrative Law. He then completed a post-graduate law and business diploma at Oxford, where he was runner-up for the Oxford Leadership Prize.

Before entering politics, he practised law as a solicitor for a large firm in the City of London and, in 2010, won the award of Young City Lawyer of the year in Square Mile magazine’s 30 under 30 awards.

Suella Braverman (Fareham)

Suella Braverman was first elected in 2015 to represent the constituency of Fareham in Hampshire.

Born in 1980, she is the daughter of Christie and Uma Fernandes, both of Indian origin, who migrated to England from Kenya and Mauritius.

Suella Fernandes grew up and attended schools in North West London.

She read Law at Queens’ College Cambridge, where she was Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association.

Afterwards, she completed a master’s degree in European and French Law at Pantheon-Sorbonne University. She was an Entente Cordiale Scholar.

She was called to the bar at Middle Temple in 2005 and was a barrister until 2015.

She married Rael Braverman in 2018 and took his name. The couple have one child and are expecting a second this year.

Braverman is a practising Buddhist.

A firm Brexiteer, she came to prominence in 2018, being one of the MPs who objected to Theresa May’s Chequers agreement with the EU:

She also said that Britain could survive a no-deal Brexit:

She further objected to May’s deal in early 2019, when it went through a series of unsuccessful votes:

During that time, she came under fire for using the term ‘C u l t u r a l  Marxism’. It turned out that many of her critics thought she was white because she was a ‘Conservative Brexiteer’:

It took some time for the dust to settle.

Suella Braverman is currently Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland.

I wish her and all the aforementioned MPs continued success.

——————————————————————————

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor to the Exchequer, who also began his term as an MP in 2015, will be the subject of a post next week.

This is part of a series about Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

This entry covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016 as The_War_Economy laid out in his brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I will be excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Emphases mine below.

Events of 2015

On April 7, 2015, the Democrats were already plotting against the GOP in the upcoming 2016 presidential race (45):

The Clinton campaign intended to institute a Pied Piper campaign into the Presidential election, where they selected three Republican candidates for their project: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president on June 16.

Sometime in August, he met with Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at Trump Tower. The meeting was scheduled to last for 30 minutes. Instead, it lasted 90 (43).

At that time, Flynn had already retired as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He and his son, Michael G. Flynn, founded the Flynn Intel Group, Inc. in 2014. It closed in 2016.

In September, the Department of Defense (DoD) hired Stefan Halper as a contractor (44):

On September 25, 2015, Stefan Halper was hired on a contract basis by the DOD’s Office of Net Assessment for a total of $244,960.00. This was his third contract. A few days later, on September 29, Evelyn Farkas resigned from the DOD.

Evelyn Farkas is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia.

In November, George Papadopoulos joined Ben Carson’s campaign team (46):

George Papadopoulos would join Ben Carson’s campaign in November 2015, until February 2016, where he joined the London Centre of International Law Practice, where Joseph Mifsud worked as Director of International Strategy.

On December 7, Michael Flynn attended Russia Today’s 10th anniversary celebration. He sat next to President Vladimir Putin (47).

According to The Guardian, Britain’s GCHQ started picking up intelligence about links between Trump associates and Russians (49).

Events of 2016

GCHQ continued passing along their intelligence to their US counterparts. By the summer, other European countries joined them (51):

Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Netherlands and France’s DGSE.

In February, Michael Flynn became an informal adviser to the Trump campaign.

That same month (53):

Natalia Veselnitskaya’s Significant Public Benefit Parole document ended, preventing her from returning to the US.

Natalia Veselnitskaya is the Russian attorney who met in June 2016 with Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower. She also has business connections to Fusion GPS.

Meanwhile, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, then-director of the NSA, began working on NSA21 (54):

to merge the spying and hacking arms with the Computer Security Division into one Directorate of Operations.

On February 21, Evelyn Farkas contacted John Podesta, head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask if she could do ‘surrogate work’ with Eastern European communities for the campaign (55).

In March, the Washington Post pressed candidate Trump for the names of his foreign security advisers (56). This list is not very exciting, because Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush already had the cream of the crop. Nevertheless, this is where we first see the names of Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos is listed, because he had left Ben Carson’s campaign in February:

Trump got five: Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joseph Schmitz and Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos was in touch with Professor Joseph Mifsud, who (58):

was promising him connections to Russian officials laced with conversations about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, travelling to Italy and UK to do this.

That said (59):

Joseph Mifsud’s career at Link Campus, the London Academy of Diplomacy and more would suggest an allegiance towards western intelligence more than anything else, especially since agents at the FBI have visited Link Campus.

Carter Page had past involvement with Russia in 2013 (60):

where he spoke with the FBI as Russians were attempting to recruit him as an intelligence asset, which led to the Russians arrest.

Fusion GPS and Democrat-centric law firm Perkins Coie got together around this time (61):

Fusion GPS needed somebody to keep paying them, so they reached out to Perkins Coie, with FULL KNOWLEDGE that Perkins Coie represented both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. In April, they accepted.

March was also the month when CIA director John Brennan made a ‘secret’ visit to Russia, which, according to the Russian government was unrelated to Syria (64).

In April, James Baker, then FBI General Counsel, met with Perkins Coie’s Michael Sussmann at the Global Privacy Summit (68):

Sussmann would later integrate himself with the DNC’s cyber team after introducing them to CrowdStrike.

On April 18, Mike Rogers closed off random access to raw FISA information which vexed a number of contractors doing work for the NSA (70). Interestingly, Mary Jacoby, the wife of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, visited the White House the following morning (71). Could these events be related?

According to the BBC, John Brennan received a tape from the Baltic States concerning money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. The Trump campaign was not mentioned (72). Brennan then (73):

created two task forces to get around the problem of being unable to act domestically – the Domestic task force (FBI, DOJ and Treasury) and the Foreign task force (CIA, ODNI and NSA).

The US Treasury began investigating certain bank accounts:

Later that month:

On May 23, Nellie Ohr applied for a ham radio licence (82).

In June, Christopher Steele flew to Rome to meet with the FBI’s Michael Gaeta (83):

to discuss the dossier, while Natalia Veselnitskaya was granted permission from the US Government to come to the US on a B-status non-immigrant visa.

That month, the FBI tried unsuccessfully to obtain a FISA warrant to monitor four members of the Trump campaign team (90).

It is unclear who those people were, but speculation abounds.

The next post in this series covers the summer of 2016, when everything started to heat up.

The other day I wrote about Seth Rich, a DNC employee who was murdered in mysterious circumstances on July 10, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Yesterday, I provided the source for the beginning of the Russian narrative used against President Donald Trump.

Both are WikiLeaks related.

Today, those who do not already know will find out what Hillary Clinton’s campaign had in store for leakers.

That, too, is related to WikiLeaks.

The Podesta WikiLeaks revealed that Hillary’s campaign team and advisers wanted to make ‘an example’ out of ‘leakers’, even if nothing could be proven.

WikiLeaks released this tweet on October 30, 2016:

The source is Podesta WikiLeaks email no. 36082 from February 21, 2015.

That day, the Washington Post printed a story about Hillary Clinton’s campaign branding. Two of the people interviewed were involved with her presidential campaign in 2015:

Ahead of her campaign launch, Clinton has tapped some of the Democratic Party’s star strategists as well as two of corporate America’s branding wizards: Wendy Clark, who specializes in marketing age-old brands such as Coca-Cola to younger and more diverse customers; and Roy Spence, a ­decades-long Clinton friend who dreamed up the “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-littering slogan as well as flashy ad campaigns for Southwest Airlines and Wal-Mart.

Clark took an unpaid leave in January from Coca-Cola, where she is president of brands and strategic marketing for carbon­ated beverages in North America, to help Clinton in what Clark called “a passion project.” Spence is co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, an Austin-based corporate ad firm, and has experience in politics, including with Clinton’s 2008 campaign.

John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and political operative Joel Benenson discussed their displeasure with the article and with those two people for talking to the press without consulting the campaign managers first.

Podesta wrote (emphases mine below):

we need a strategy on this that goes beyond internal discipline. This story could have been written without any of these big mouths blabbing …

Benenson agreed:

I think we have to make examples now of people who have violated the trust of HRC and the rest of the team. People going forward need to know there are stiff consequences for leaking, self-promotion, unauthorized talking with the press. No one – literally no one talked to the press in either Obama campaign without clearing it with campaign brass.

Podesta replied in a curious way:

I’m definitely for making an example of a suspected leaker whether or not we have any real basis for it.

Campaign manager Robby Mook, who was copied on the exchange, agreed:

I would love an example being made.

How far did this go in reality?

No one knows, but many suspect — rightly or wrongly — that Seth Rich’s alleged leak of 40,000+ emails to WikiLeaks — the DNC WikiLeaks — might well have led to his death in July 2016.

On Tuesday, May 16, the torchpaper was lit. As Fox News ran with the Rich story, bringing it to the attention of the general public, three new Twitter hastags were busy: #HisNameWasSethRich, #SethRichCoverUp and #SethRich.

Some leftists did take note, primarily those employed at David Brock‘s Media Matters, who now realise they’ve been paid to circulate ‘lies’ online and said so on 4chan.org/pol/. Let’s hope that they do resign now that they know the truth.

Other Americans also doubt the Russian narrative.

With all the law enforcement silence around Rich’s murder and little information to go on over the past ten months, people are naturally suspicious details are being covered up or that nothing is being done:

People following the case since last year do not believe that Rich had no involvement in the DNC WikiLeaks:

Equally, they are disappointed that so much wasted energy is being spent on the Russian narrative and James Comey:

This could be why:

Incidentally, Seth Rich was not the only man to die mysteriously in the summer of 2016:

Pray that the truth comes out about these four men, all of whom had a relationship with the Democrats.

My intention last year was to write about the WikiLeaks emails from the Democrats.

Because of all the hubbub surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign, I never got around to it. I still have all the bookmarks of the emails themselves and related analyses from The_Donald. They are a revelation.

I hope that some people will be wondering how and where the Russian narrative used against President Donald Trump started.

Look no further than Hillary Clinton’s campaign supremo John Podesta and a journalist, Brent Budowsky, who writes for The Hill.

Much of the Podesta WikiLeaks email no. 25651, dated December 21, 2015, concerns Hillary Clinton’s stance on ISIS and Syria. There is also a mention of campaign advertising and getting out the vote.

However, the key to this is the Democrats’ strategy against Trump, primarily this one from Brent Budowsky (emphases mine below):

Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin

Budowsky was also interested in finding and releasing incriminating tapes of Trump to help Hillary, whom they knew even then was not doing well in the polls:

I suspect her negative trust ratings are locked in through election day. If there is a Trump ISIS video the campaign release it. If not, her untrustworthy numbers will remain further locked at high levels. These trust problems are self-induced and keep occurring.

Budowsky became more insistent:

Re the Trump ISIS video, if we don’t have the proof campaign should assign 100 people to look for it ASAP, there is probably something on tape somewhere.

With regard to campaign adverts, Budowsky already noted that Trump was not running them:

It is no coincidence that this year Trump runs no ads, while Jeb and Hillary run the most ads with little effect. Voter registration by contrast creates real voters and changes—and improves—the playing field itself. There is no ad on earth that will increase her trust ratings or the enthusiasm of her voters the way a mega-registration project will increase her support on election day.

They knew then that Hillary was scuppered. Based on the context, they also seemed to discern that Trump was going to be Hillary’s opponent in 2016.

In June 2016 — one month before the Republican National Convention declared Trump the GOP presidential candidate — Trump Derangement Syndrome was flying high in the Democrat camp. Obama’s campaign manager from 2008, later a senior adviser, tweeted:

On November 9, 2016 — the day after the election — Hillary’s campaign heads decided to run hard with the Russian narrative:

The quote in blue comes from an investigative book about the Clinton campaign, Shattered, which came out earlier this year.

On April 21, Breitbart included the quote in their report, which began:

The blistering behind-the-scenes book, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, illustrates how Hillary Clinton furiously blamed her defeat on the FBI investigation into her private emails, Russian interference, and Trump’s supposed support from “white nationalists” …

Also:

The Clinton camp settled on a two-pronged plan — pushing the press to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign, overshadowed by the contents of stolen e-mails and Hillary’s own private-server imbroglio,” while “hammering the media for focusing so intently on the investigation into her e-mail, which had created a cloud over her candidacy,” the authors wrote.

And so the Russian narrative survives, alive and well, to this day.

The Democrats and the media have been displaying abject contempt for the people of the United States ever since.

Anyone who still thinks either camp cares about them is sorely mistaken.

This week, the regional minister of the interior of North Rhine-Westphalia made public the statistics surrounding Cologne’s New Year’s Eve nightmare.

Nationality

An article from Le Monde on April 5, 2016, states the nationality and refugee status of the 153 ‘suspected of committing assault’ as follows:

  • 4 Germans
  • 103 Moroccans and Algerians
  • 47 nationality unknown (e.g. no papers)

Twenty-four suspects are still in ‘preventive custody’.

Of those arrested:

  • 68 are asylum seekers
  • 18 are illegal immigrants

On February 17, Le Monde published an article on the refugee status of the assailants wherein Ulrich Bremer, Cologne’s chief prosecutor, said:

The overwhelming majority arrived in 2015.

The foreign defendants, in a very, very great majority, arrived in Germany during 2015, whether they arrived illegally in this country or whether they are asylum seekers. It would not be accurate to say that we’re talking about people who have lived in Germany for a long time.

So, there you have it. Consider that quote emboldened in triplicate and highlighted in all the colours of the rainbow.

Number of reports

Police in Cologne:

  • Received 1,527 official complaints
  • Have a list of 1,218 victims
  • Recorded 626 sexual assaults

One Le Monde reader wrote on April 8 that Cologne police said 2,000 individuals were involved in assaults on New Year’s Eve. Interesting. What happened to the overwhelming majority of them?

Other unanswered questions remain. We still don’t know what happened to the defendants who are no longer in custody. Were they convicted of anything? Do they have pending court cases? Are they on the loose, perhaps even out of the country by now?

For now, at least we have some statistics.

Lyin’ media

It’s not nice to call people liars, but, in this case, the accusation fits.

Remember when the media suppressed this story? It only came to worldwide attention through independent sites such as Breitbart. Social media trended on it and the MSM had no choice but to report it. The MSM were hoping they would not have to publish the raw truth. Withholding the truth is as big a lie as a deliberate distortion of the facts.

Left-wing handwringers were worried that publicising it would cast aspersions on refugees. In fact, refugees cast aspersions on themselves through these heinous crimes against women from their host country.

Le Monde‘s readers react

When the April 5 article appeared, investigations were still going on into cases of sexual assault by French soldiers in Central Africa. Readers were careful to mention that.

Most comments concerned the Moroccans and Algerians. Four follow:

Having lived in Morocco for a year and having come to an appreciation of the kindness of the population, unfortunately, I have to mention the lack of consideration of their men towards women. The firm police stance and rigorous morals result in outbursts. Left in a tolerant European country where women don’t hide themselves, a minority [of men] behave like animals. Therefore, this is a problem of cultural inadaptation and has nothing to do with sociology, as intellectuals and do-gooders would have you believe.

It’s better to talk about refugees rather than state the facts!

Appalling. How can Moroccans and Algerians be refugees? Furthermore, 47 have no clear status. Finally, these 153 haven’t committed 1,200 sexual assaults, so we’re missing a number of non-identified [suspects]! Therefore, we cannot draw any definitive conclusions except to note that there is certainly a real problem … It was deliberately premeditated and poses a serious problem with regard to cultural differences.

The political and educational systems as well as society in Morocco and Algeria over the past 25-30 years have created two tiers of youths: those who do well in their studies, their work and the business world and those who are marginalised and excluded from the system who become either delinquents or radicals.

Since the events of New Year’s Eve, the German government has made it policy to return Moroccans and Algerians who have entered the country illegally back home. It is unclear how well that will work in practice.

Refugee situation in Europe

Onto the larger question of refugees, without papers, it is unclear who Germany is accommodating within its borders. Legitimate refugees have ways of applying for asylum via legitimate channels, aided by equally legitimate human rights organisations and procedures. Those people will not show up by boat or by a 1,000-mile land crossing. Germans and other Europeans need to think more logically and less emotionally about this problem.

It is unclear how the agreement with Turkey on refugee resettlement will work. On April 8, The Guardian stated that this was the second day of implementing the agreement:

The deal is designed to send back all migrants and refugees who enter Greece illegally, including Syrians, in return for the EU taking in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey and rewarding it with more money, early visa-free travel and progress in its EU membership negotiations.

Hmm. What happens once or if Turkey becomes part of the EU in a few years’ time? We will be back to square one.

In September 2015, Germany began taking in a regular stream of migrants, some of whom displaced native Germans from their homes by order of local or state councils.

Well intentioned families took in migrants for short stays until long-term housing was arranged.

Journalist Konstantin Richter, who writes for Die Welt and contributes to the European edition of Politico, was one of these kind-hearted people.

Recently, Richter wrote about his and his wife’s experience for The Guardian. Most of those who lodged with them were young men. They did not say much, if anything. They could not even manage a ‘thank you’. One refugee felt sorry for the Richters because they have no sons, only daughters. Another asked Richter if his wife was Jewish. This is out of bounds behaviour for a guest in someone’s home.

The Richters went on a ‘long trip abroad’ late last year. They returned to Germany to find a divided nation. One group of Germans points to New Year’s Eve in Cologne. Another side wants an open border policy. A group in the centre supports limited entry of refugees. The open border folks call anyone not supporting their position racist.

Richter has no regrets about taking in refugees. He explains that, at the time, he assumed Angela Merkel had a workable plan because everything in Germany runs like clockwork. If her Plan A did not work, then, surely, she had a Plan B. But, no. Furthermore, as of March 2016, Germany has 400,000 newcomers who have not yet applied for asylum:

Which means we have no idea who they are or where they are from. It wasn’t supposed to happen like that.

Another difficulty is the educational level of actual refugees. They’re not brain surgeons or rocket scientists, as we were told last year. Richter explains:

… the experiences of companies that hired refugees as trainees have been disheartening. Most people they took on lack even the basics of a high-school education.

He concludes:

What now? The EU’s borders are pretty much closed, at least for the time being. We don’t have people calling any more asking us to host refugees. And if we did get another call, I’m not sure I’d happily say, “OK then, why not?” That doesn’t mean we’ve turned into barbarians.

Getting the refugee thing right will be Germany’s biggest challenge in coming years, and we want to make a contribution. But the spirit of the Willkommenskultur – taking in people randomly, exuberantly, without getting to know them and establishing a meaningful relationship – doesn’t feel right any more.

Millions of us could have told the Germans this last September as we watched events unfold. The sexual assaults and mayhem in Cologne on New Year’s Eve were shocking but not surprising. Nor is it surprising that 400,000 notional refugees have not applied for asylum. Where are these men? What are they doing? How do they survive?

German voters expressed their discontent in regional elections a fortnight ago. However, that still does not solve the problem of 1 million newcomers in their country. A widespread integration into the general population and culture looks increasingly unlikely. Good intentions and all that …

ben carsonIt was disappointing that Dr Ben Carson, 64, had to drop out of the Republican (GOP) presidential race at the weekend.

(Photo credit: Blue Nation Review)

Carson’s campaign

In October, despite his being a Seventh Day Adventist (sect), I was hopeful for his campaign. Polls showed that only he had a chance of beating Hillary Clinton: early in December, he was ahead by one point and early in February 2016, she was ahead by just 1.3 points.

However, the endless focus on race in the West, particularly in the United States, makes it difficult for a black to declare himself (or herself) as a conservative. An offended Left — including the MSM — would have to take Carson down.

Before that happened, however, Carson revealed vulnerability in the GOP (Grand Old Party) debates, particularly on foreign policy.

Another thing people remember from his participation in the debates was his statement that the pyramids were grain silos. Before I go into that, however, leftists commenting online seized on it and called him all sorts of names, including ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ and ‘fool’. They were frothing at the mouth. These comments continued until Carson dropped out of the race.

Early in November, Politico tried to make Carson out to be a liar. Mollie Hemingway, writing for The Federalist, explains the story and subsequent retraction. In short, Politico‘s Kyle Cheney accused Carson of fabricating receiving a West Point scholarship. Cheney had to retract this shortly afterwards.

Hemingway says:

Ben Carson’s campaign did not “admit” that a central point in his story “was fabricated.” Quite the opposite. The central point of the story is falsely described by Cheney/Politico as being that he applied and was accepted at West Point. Carson, in fact, has repeatedly claimed not to have applied. So any claim regarding the absence of West Point records of such an application would not debunk Carson’s point. And, again, Carson’s campaign never “conceded” the story was false at least in part because the story, as characterized by Politico, is not one he told. Further, Cheney is unable to substantiate his claim that Carson told this story. Nowhere in the article does he even explain, with facts, where he came up with the idea that Carson has ever made this claim.

What happened was that, in 1969, as a 17-year-old, Carson had the exceptional opportunity to meet General William Westmoreland, recently retired from service in Vietnam, for dinner. Westmoreland offered him a full scholarship to West Point, but Carson politely declined. Politico said there was no record of Carson’s application to West Point. Again, he never applied.

Politico changed the headline of their story to:

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied

Hardly an improvement.

Carson had been in the cadets in high school in Detroit. Furthermore, as one would expect of a future brain surgeon, his academic performance was excellent. It’s no wonder the general asked him to apply to West Point, offering a full scholarship.

By December 19, GOP polls had changed. Fox News reported:

Donald Trump, a candidate even Republicans once considered a side show, increases his lead yet again in the nomination race, according to the latest Fox News national poll. 

The poll also finds Ted Cruz ticking up, Marco Rubio slipping, and Ben Carson dropping.

At that point, he was in fourth place on

9 percent. He was at 18 percent last month and had a high of 23 percent support earlier this fall.

Yet, he still had more approval points than Jeb Bush, who had 3%!

On December 26, Real Clear Politics had a go at Carson about his paid speaking engagements and book tour during his candidacy. This ‘concern’ piece wondered if there was enough separation between his revenue generating interests and his campaign. Carson’s campaign spokesman Doug Watts said:

We segregate as much as feasible.

The Atlantic had similar ‘concerns’.

Most of this would have gone under the radar of Republican voters. However, as with the grain silos, Carson’s book tour became a running theme of online leftists. That also continued until he dropped out at the weekend.

Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s cheating at the Iowa caucus — saying Carson had dropped out of the race — cost the good doctor dearly. Donald Trump still talks about it, and rightly so, because Cruz’s team’s intimidation of Carson voters created a win for the Christian constitutional expert from Texas, pushing Trump into second place — and leaving Carson in fourth with 9% of the vote.

Cruz and his team seized their opportunity when Carson said that he was going home to Florida the weekend before the Iowa caucus for a change of clothes. Cruz’s people said they got the information from CNN.

I feel badly for Carson. He assumed Cruz was a nice guy and that the media would play fair ball. At a press conference held after the Iowa caucus, Carson rightly took issue with both.

However, I wonder why Carson didn’t just say that he was going home to regroup before going to Washington DC for the annual National Prayer Breakfast, after which he would go on to campaign in New Hampshire. Donald Trump is always clear about where he is going next, probably to avoid similar speculation.

So, as much as the Left wanted Carson to fail because, in their eyes, blacks have no business being conservatives, the true kisses of death came from two of his fellow candidates — avowed Christians, let’s remember — and their people. In addition to Cruz’s was Marco Rubio’s team. The Politistick has the full story about a tweet from a Rubio supporter, since deleted, which said that Rubio’s campaign was spreading the narrative that Carson was dropping out of the race.

Whilst there were also internal issues in Carson’s campaign, such as spending, the Iowa rumours dogged him in New Hampshire. His party after the primary there was a damp squib, sadly.

In mid-February, he said he would be open to discussing running with Trump as the Vice Presidential nominee and would stay on through the South Carolina primary to help the billionaire. Having a lot of primary candidates is good; they help split the vote, thereby preventing an immediate overall dominant front-runner.

Super Tuesday — March 1 — was the decider. The next day, Fox News reported that it was ‘game over’ for Cruz, Rubio, Kasich  — and Carson. (Since then Cruz is proving to be Trump’s main rival.)

He suspended his campaign on March 4, which also made the news in France.

How Carson’s campaign came about

The Washington Post (WaPo) report was the only one I saw that actually explained how Carson came to run for president in the first place.

In 2013, he addressed the National Prayer Breakfast where:

he spoke about the dangers of political correctness, put forward the idea of a flat tax and criticized President Obama’s health-care law. What stood out was that he did so right beside a steely-faced Obama.

Brilliant!

The Wall St Journal thought so, too, and they carried an editorial to that effect days later, entitled:

“Ben Carson for President.” By August of that year, there was a “National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee.” Before he launched his presidential bid last May, the group had raised close to $16 million, gotten a half-million signatures encouraging Carson to run and had 30,000 active volunteers across the country, according to organizers.

WaPo‘s article goes on to say that, at age 33, Carson was the youngest major division director in the history of Johns Hopkins Hospital and:

he was the first pediatric neurosurgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. He wrote a best-selling book, “Gifted Hands,” about his life, which later became a television movie.

He got a lot of flak for his blunt opposition to Obamacare, his comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany and his denunciation of same-sex marriage.

It was hard for him to not speak about morality in uncertain terms and, paradoxically, be more assertive against other GOP candidates, such as Trump. If he knew something to be immoral, he would say so. Yet, he did not want to be seen to go on the attack against a candidate just for a show of strength.

Of politics, WaPo quotes him as saying:

“Many people told me that this business is corrupt, that it’s evil, that it’s how it’ll always be,” Carson said in a phone interview Monday. “But I don’t believe that we have to accept that. We should rail against that, fight against it, and get something that’s decent and inspirational.”

I couldn’t agree more. This is one of the reasons I read a lot about politics. I continue to look for the ‘decent and inspirational’. Hmm. Like digging for gold.

One thing Dr Ben Carson can be proud of in his campaign: he outlasted Jeb!

Tomorrow: Ben Carson and the grain silo theory

Over the past five years or so, the hipster has been on the rise in Britain.

As we saw yesterday, hipster Anglican priests in London’s East End are embracing the trend of facial hair as an evangelism tool. Let us know, chaps, when your parish churches show a rise in attendance. I won’t hold my breath waiting.

I reread the comments that accompanied Christopher Howse’s ‘peak beard’ editorial for The Telegraph in 2014. The readers made a few socio-political and hygienic points related to beards.

Ian B wrote about the waxing and waning of Puritans versus Cavaliers since the 17th century. From the Puritans we inherited not only a certain strain of Christianity but along with that Cromwell and the English Civil War. Hairlessness, he rightly says, denotes Puritanism. Cromwell’s army were the Roundheads. The hairy, pleasure-loving monarchists were the Cavaliers.

Ian B explains that the later Victorian period

was the last valiant battle by men to be allowed some form of individualist display, when their clothes had been dowdied-down. It was eclipsed.

Another reader explains the reason why beards disappeared in the early 20th century, which I’ll come to shortly.

Back to Ian B, who says that the 1960s and 1970s popularised hirsute men, but that, too, disappeared and in more recent years gave way to the shaved or stubbled head. With more beards within the past few years

it may be a hopeful indication of a weakening of puritan hegemony and the first green shoots of another attempt to return to (our more natural, for England) liberal individualism.

However, George Williams gave us the reason why beards went out of fashion in the early 20th century (emphasis mine):

In World War 1 commanders learned the only way to control head lice in the trenches was to cut off all hair. Soldiers mustering home were regarded as heroes and their short-haired clean-shaven look remained the manly ideal until the rebellious ’60s.

That makes sense for both eras. Note the hygiene aspect with the Great War.

In reaction against the Vietnam War — and the establishment — facial hair made a big comeback as a statement decades later.

Although Christopher Howse, himself hirsute, predicted peak beard in 2014, by the end of 2015, it still hadn’t happened. However, The Sun reported several weeks ago that historian Alun Withey told sister paper The Times that

2016 would see the end of the beard trend.

One wonders. Last year, a study was widely reported around the world which said that beards harbour all manner of bacteria. It’s believable. Have you ever had occasion to examine paperwork closely with a bearded man hovering next to you? Some — some, not all — of these men smell unclean, as if they need a good wash with soap. I know of women who dislike bussing bearded acquaintances on the cheek or eating with them. In the latter situation, crumbs or soup drops, even when momentarily visible are off-putting. As for the bussing, one woman I know said:

He smells positively sebaceous.

Agreed. A bit like the aforementioned guy co-examining paperwork: too much information. I don’t want to smell it.

If you want a pleasing beard, you really do have to keep all of it well washed — especially the bit from lip to chin — down to the skin.

Yet, in 2016, the beard picture changed, perhaps to avoid offending the sensibilities of men of a certain religion who think they have to be hairy in order to demonstrate their piety. On January 20, 2016, Dr Adam Roberts, a microbiologist from University College London, claimed that good beard bacteria killed harmful beard bacteria. Roberts purports that clean shaven men have more facial bacteria. I doubt that very much. I would also like to see a photograph of Dr Roberts to see if he has any biases in the hirsute direction.

Bottom line — and this goes for women, too — a person of breeding (rich or poor) avoids touching his or her face during the day. Wash it, moisturise it and leave it alone apart from dabbing the lips at mealtime.

Furthermore, only a few months ago, The Sun reported that Britons ‘slam beards in workplace poll’, along with showing too much of the body, flip flops and high heels.

What The Sun doesn’t say is that workers object to beards which are ‘unkempt, long or full’. That objection is No. 15 in the list, far below the other three that I mentioned which come in at Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 13; No. 5 and No. 14.

In closing, there’s another growing male fashion craze involving hair — the man bun — yours for only £9.99.

As the illustrations show, it goes so nicely with a beard.

European politicians are increasingly worried about the migration crisis and how it ties in with the upcoming UK referendum on EU membership.

On January 25, 2016, The Guardian reported that former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta said it would be better if the UK delayed the referendum until 2017, when he thinks the migration crisis will have subsided.

The referendum might be held this summer, which worries Letta:

… the link between the two issues will be terrible.

On the contrary, it could even be worse by next year if we are forced to take in 90,000 migrants in 2016 and contemplate their eventual family reunification process in the meantime.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempts at renegotiating our membership prior to the referendum have also frightened his EU peers (emphases mine):

Letta was among a phalanx of senior European politicians, including two former prime ministers, who said the British renegotiation agenda was either completely impossible, self-defeating or, at points, crazy. In particular, Britain was warned that its plan to prevent non-UK citizens from receiving in-work benefits for four years could attack one of the key tenets of the union, since it threatened the principle of free movement of workers and would require a treaty change that other EU countries would not tolerate.

A bigger problem might be the automatic right for an EU citizen to claim benefits without being in work.

The Dutch, the Poles and the French are upset. France’s former Europe minister Noëlle Lenoir accused the UK of putting the immigration crisis in the forefront of Britons’ minds rather than the the principles of the free market.

Meanwhile, veteran Guardian columnist Michael White fears that the immigration crisis could create any number of Donald Trumps in Europe. However, even he grudgingly admitted that comparisons between the current situation and the Fall of the Roman Empire might have some merit.

He is old enough to remember DPs — displaced persons — coming to Western Europe, including the UK, after the Second World War. He says the continent was ‘full of’ such people, meaning that our present influx is very similar. I wonder, but I do not think so, otherwise everyone over the age of 70 would be claiming that. And they aren’t. Also, the DPs looked forward to practising their religion in peace and working hard for a living. I have never heard or read of any assimilation problems relating to them, probably because they were fellow Europeans.

The Anglican priest, the Revd Giles Fraser, worries that some in Britain are stigmatising our refugees. Whilst I agree with him that it is ill-advised for Middlesbrough’s refugee homes to have red doors (now being repainted) and for Welsh asylum seekers to wear red wristbands (since dropped) as a means of identification, to claim that we are in the run-up to a 21st century Holocaust seems wide of the mark.

Fraser then points a finger at the recent Charlie Hebdo cartoon which conflates the late little Aylan Kurdi with migrant adolescents who are teenage bum-gropers. In the process, Fraser mistranslates fesses, which is the word for ‘buttocks’, not ‘a*s’.

Actually, given recent events in Europe this month, that cartoon — whilst meant as a poke at racists — might be more prescient then the magazine had anticipated.

Guardian readers spent several days and a few hundred comments debating the cartoon and what it meant. One wrote:

I think it’s saying that you start off getting all dewy-eyed about a dead boy, and end up inviting a horde of bum-gropers into your country.

Adding:

Did the right in France cry at the sight to the dead boy? Did they change their policy towards migrants because of the picture and demand that all and sundry be accepted because we must think of the children?

Because if they didn’t, then the picture of A[y]lan doesn’t ‘satirise’ them, but the virtue-signallers who failed to see the risks.

But I agree that my interpretation is only one of many possible explanations.

And how is it that so many have entered? Yes, we know about the boat smugglers, but a fascinating, informative article from 2015 by Nicholas Farrell for The Spectator explains how Italy accommodated them over the years, to the point where Italy’s leftist government in 2013

took the extraordinary step of decriminalising illegal immigration, which means among other things that none of the boat people are arrested once on dry land. Instead, they are taken to ‘Centri di accoglienza’ (welcome centres) for identification and a decision on their destinies. In theory, only those who identify themselves and claim political asylum can remain in Italy until their application is refused — or, if it is accepted, indefinitely. And in theory, under the Dublin Accords, they can only claim political asylum in Italy — the country where they arrived in the EU. In practice, however, only a minority claim political asylum in Italy. Pretty well all of them remain there incognito, or else move on to other EU countries.

The numbers have been so overwhelming that police do not force registration, which includes consenting to a photograph and fingerprints. Many migrants just disappear. Those who do decide to go into the accommodation centres are given mobile phones and €3 a day pin money as well as lessons in ice-cream making or driving.

Farrell says that, in 2014, 64,000 asylum seekers submitted their applications to the Italian authorities. However, the government was able to only process half of those claims. Those whose claims were refused can still stay in the country indefinitely because of human rights laws. Italy deported only 6,944 people that year.

When the influx is particularly heavy, Italian police bus migrants in to larger towns and cities, leaving them in town centre squares or main railway stations.

Untreated health issues, including diseases Europeans thought were long gone, pose a real risk:

Scabies is rife (of 46,000 migrants tested this year, 4,700 were infested) and one in four migrants is said by doctors to have Hepatitis C.

And 2016 looks to be no different: 400,000 migrants could be headed for Italy in the next few weeks. With Schengen hanging in the balance, passport checks are back in place, meaning that those arriving in Italy may well have to stay there. Breitbart explains:

As a country of first arrival, Italy has more to lose from the breakdown of Schengen than any other European nation, perhaps with the exception of Greece. In 2015 alone more than 150,000 migrants reached Italian shores, but the vast majority continued north, with many heading to France, Germany or the countries of Scandinavia. Now that the Schengen Treaty is all but a dead letter, the Alps have once again become an insurmountable barrier.

In this dramatic panorama the bulk of the migrants are expected to come through the “Balkan route,” and according to experts, some 400 thousand immigrants will be arriving in the coming weeks. Sources at the Interior Ministry have also expressed fears that many migrants will begin to circumvent Greece and Croatia and come directly to the ports of Ancona and Bari in southern Italy.

Perhaps it is time for Italy or the EU to consult the Australians for advice.

Farrell says we have no moral obligation to take migrants in these circumstances:

All of us feel it to be our moral duty to save lives where we can. Yet it cannot be our moral duty to ferry such vast numbers across the Mediterranean into Italy and Europe for ever, unless they are genuine refugees. In fact, our moral duty is not to do so

The same applies to land crossings. This year, it will become incumbent on individual countries or the EU to come up with a comprehensive and sensible refugee migration policy.

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