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Last week I posted about the comedian Jerry Sadowitz, whose Fringe show was cancelled by Edinburgh’s Pleasance Theatre.

We have seen more examples of the demise of free speech, particularly in the UK, in 2022.

Restaurant’s help wanted ad

In February 2022, Steve Bothwell, who owns the 27-year-old Aberdeen restaurant Cafe 52, placed a no-nonsense advert online in an attempt to hire more staff:

The job advert went viral on Twitter

On February 28, Scotland’s Daily Record reported that the advert went viral and received much online how-dare-he criticism, included in its article.

However, the ad’s wording spells out what Steve Bothwell wants: a hard-working employee who is focused on continuing the excellent reputation of the restaurant rather than his or her social identity politics.

I admire a man who says he doesn’t want mask wearing Guardian readers, virtue signallers and self-testers. I wouldn’t, either. He was also right to say that hospitality works only when staff:

leave their egos in their lockers.

He gave an interview to the paper (emphases mine):

Speaking to the Daily Record he said: “I don’t regret the wording [of the job advert], but I wish people would get on their pins about more important issues.

“I’m not banning anyone. The advert was tongue in cheek.”

He added: “I’ve had three good applications this morning off the back of the advert.”

Some weeks later, one of The Guardian‘s restaurant critics, Grace Dent, had lunch at Cafe 52. Wow! If any of my readers are in Aberdeen, this place looks great. It’s right across the street from Aberdeen Market.

Dent’s review, complete with must-see close-up photos, appeared on April 1, but this was no April Fool’s joke:

The menu was full of delicious-sounding things such as cullen skink, hot smoked mackerel, and Normandy chicken casserole with leeks and tarragon. As I loitered by the door, something about the cafe’s name rang a bell, then, to my glee, I realised this was the place whose owner famously doesn’t like Guardian readers, and who earlier this year penned a job advert banning them. Perhaps I should have been offended, but there was a bread-and-butter pudding made with crumpets on the menu, plus, to quote Groucho Marx, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

… This charming, long, narrow strip of a bistro has survived for more than 25 years without the likes of me, and is these days serving a sort of boho, rustic, French-Scottish, casual-elegant menu to a unending stream of walk-ins. Cafe 52 has no need for my pronouncements.

Dent was complimentary about the servers as well as the food. So, the advert worked!

She described the food as follows:

I like Aberdeen a great deal, and spent three wonderful days there alone, talking to strangers and eating …

But Cafe 52 was my favourite. Proprietor Steve Bothwell … has created a place where glorious food matters, and I can say beyond doubt that my restorative bowl of Normandy chicken casserole will be one of the greatest things I’ll eat all year. Chicken soup – or stew, in this case – does touch the soul, and a good one is as close to a cuddle from Mother T herself as you can get. This one featured five or six chunks of soft, stewed breast, thigh and leg in a clear tarragon broth with the very occasional chunk of soft potato or slice of garlicky mushroom, and was way more than the sum of its parts. This stew, topped with a vivid pink bundle of pickled red cabbage, was a wonder, with fragrant tarragon the hero ingredient. I ate it with a side of kale, deep fried and laced with chilli, which is the only way to treat it – that is, mercilessly …

Steve Bothwell’s mother, who is in her 80s, makes all the desserts. Amazing:

Bothwell’s octogenarian mother makes all the puddings at Cafe 52, and just two spoons into her crumpet bread-and-butter pudding I felt the need to check with the staff if anyone had written down the recipes for her carrot and brandied fruit cake or her coffee cake with rum syllabub. The bread pudding is a fearsome, rib-sticking challenge of a dessert, with crumpet after crumpet smothered in sweet, eggy custard and served with vanilla ice-cream. It’s the sort of dish that makes guests at other tables wink and wish me luck, as if I was some sort of amateur at this game. The first four or five spoons were sublime, all sticky and compelling; I was living my best life.

The owner also asked if she had enjoyed her lunch:

“Yer stew all right?” he asked, semi-begrudgingly, as if he didn’t really care what the answer was going to be, but was curious anyway.

“Incredible,” I said. “I loved it.”

“Fine,” he said, and walked off without another glance in my direction. I have paved a way for all of us. Just don’t go in carrying this newspaper.

Edinburgh Fringe’s best jokes

Speaking of Scotland, the Edinburgh Fringe is supposed to be — and once was — the world’s edgiest comedy festival.

It was last held in 2019 and resumed again this year.

Each year, a series of comedy awards are bestowed upon the best talent. They were once sponsored by Perrier and propelled comedians to stardom. Now it seems that the UK comedy channel Dave has assumed the mantle.

On Monday, August 22, The Guardian gave us the top, award-winning jokes from the 2022 Fringe.

At best, these are Christmas cracker jokes, most of which a 10-year-old could tell:

1. I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta – Masai Graham (52%)

2. Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it’s next day delivery? – Mark Simmons (37%)

3. My attempts to combine nitrous oxide and Oxo cubes made me a laughing stock – Olaf Falafel (36%)

4. By my age, my parents had a house and a family, and to be fair to me, so do I, but it is the same house and the same family – Hannah Fairweather (35%)

5. I hate funerals. I’m not a mourning person – Will Mars (34%)

6. I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that’s four hours of my life that I’m definitely getting back – Olaf Falafel (33%)

7. I sent a food parcel to my first wife. FedEx – Richard Pulsford (29%)

8. I used to live hand to mouth. Do you know what changed my life? Cutlery – Tim Vine (28%)

9. Don’t knock threesomes. Having a threesome is like hiring an intern to do all the jobs you hate – Sophie Duker (27%)

10. I can’t even be bothered to be apathetic these days – Will Duggan (25%)

Dire.

On Sunday, the topic came up for discussion on Andrew Doyle’s Free Speech Nation show for GB News (54:43 to 58:00):

Doyle’s guests, fellow comedians, deplored the level of comedy at this year’s Fringe.

One said that there are ‘tastemakers’ who nominate comedians for an award and go on to nationwide shows.

Another said that, if this trend continues and edgy comedians like Jerry Sadowitz aren’t allowed back in, it will spell curtains for the top Fringe venue:

The Pleasance will die.

Another intimated that the establishment wanted to reshape comedy into something anodyne:

These big venues are getting large donations from the Scottish Government.

That might well be true. I read or heard somewhere that someone from the Scottish National Party owns a few comedy clubs in Edinburgh.

Hmm.

Censored television shows versus nudity

On the topic of censored comedy, British actress Vicki Michelle from the classic sitcom ‘Allo, ‘Allo! weighed in last week on the current preference for saucy reality shows over reruns of old family-oriented shows.

‘Allo, ‘Allo! satirised the Second World War and was a huge hit that ran for ten years. Until recently, it, and other classic sitcoms from the 1960s through to the 1980s, were often shown on the BBC.

Now they are all on a paid-subscription streaming platform called BritBox. It’s odd that the British paid in television tax to see these shows, now they are expected to pay again to see them.

BritBox has put content warnings on ‘Allo, ‘Allo! and other programmes from that era.

Television and streaming services are dictating what we can and cannot see.

On August 19, Vicki Michelle gave an interview to The Mirror, which The Telegraph reprised:

A string of content warnings for TV series was issued last year by streaming service BritBox – a collaborative venture between the BBC and other broadcasters – including one advisory note which told viewers that ‘Allo ‘Allo! featured “outdated” material.

Comedy is being neutralised – or nuked,” Ms Michelle said. “I think 80 per cent of this country would love comedy like ‘Allo ‘Allo! to be made again, so 20 per cent might take aversion to some of the content.”

The series which ran from 1982 to 1992 was set at the Cafe Rene in the town of Nouvion and followed the comic troubles of proprietor Rene Artois – played by Gorden Kaye – as he juggled the dangers posed by British airmen, the French resistance and Nazi occupiers.

The humour stemmed from innuendo and mockery of national stereotypes and accents, and in 2021 Britbox warned modern audiences about the supposedly dated content of the decades-old programme, with a note stating: “This classic comedy contains language and attitudes of the time that may offend some viewers.”

BritBox explained at the time that certain classic programmes required advice on the “potentially sensitive language or attitudes of their era”.

The actress objects, pointing out the near-obscene content of some of our reality television shows, both visually and orally:

Michelle argued that contemporary television is far more offensive than the comedy now deemed worthy of content warnings, telling the Daily Mirror: “People eff, blind and use the c-word on telly and that’s considered fine.

“And on reality TV people make love under a sheet, and that’s fine. There was none of that in ‘Allo ‘Allo!. I don’t think there’s anything in there that would upset a normal person.

She added: “‘Allo ‘Allo! didn’t send up anyone in particular – we sent up everyone.

“It was a family show where the adults got the double entendres and the children just thought the situations were funny. You can see someone on telly in a bikini and their boobs out.”

Let’s look at it another way. If Blazing Saddles were shown on television now, it would only be seven minutes long:

https://image.vuukle.com/7be2fc3b-e0e9-40d3-9ac0-27c21ba272b2-04dc70c2-ca8f-4962-a68e-f88f450a7770

Free speech, Salman Rushdie and the average Twitter user

Along with many millions, I hope that Sir Salman Rushdie is making a steady recovery from his attack less than a fortnight ago.

Conservative commentator Emma Webb told Andrew Doyle on his show last night (see video above) that no publisher would dare print anything like Satanic Verses today. Publishing houses are self-censoring, as if there were a blasphemy law in place:

This year, a few high-profile arrests have been made in the UK with regard to tweets that have caused other Twitter users ‘anxiety’. Not long ago, a middle-aged man was pinned down by five police officers in his garden, so it is a bit rich of Boris Johnson to come across as a big supporter of free speech in Salman Rushdie’s case when the average Joe is being arrested for lesser offences:

https://image.vuukle.com/63ebaa37-331d-4dc2-90ad-c81b2ee54efe-cafde0c8-a6fc-4408-83c4-e703a8da3b2c

On that subject, lefty lawyer Jolyon Maugham rightly condemned the attack on Rushdie, then asked who has a platform on which to speak.

Well, I do wonder.

A reply to Maugham’s tweet told the raw truth of the matter. The Left used to advocate free speech when they thought theirs was censored. Now that the leftist point of view is ubiquitous, they censor any opposing view:

https://image.vuukle.com/42c85f62-4bbb-4aff-b15a-100d5034d7aa-1ad7eb2a-b8f4-4af7-8869-fd9bce9ea47c

Scarily, this clampdown extends to health issues now.

Censorship of coronavirus vaccine opposition

The truckers’ protest in Ottawa in February showed how draconian censorship can get.

The men and women were protesting against the Canadian government for mandating coronavirus vaccines as a condition of employment. Justin Trudeau took the extraordinary action of freezing some protesters’ — and contributors’ — bank accounts.

On March 8, The Spectator‘s Jane Stannus wrote an excellent article about this, just as Premier Justin Trudeau visited the UK: ‘Where’s the outrage over Trudeau’s trip to Britain?’

She wrote:

Trudeau used the Emergencies Act to allow banks to unilaterally freeze accounts and assets, not only of participants in the peaceful Ottawa freedom convoy but also of anyone who supported the protest financially – all without a court order and legal immunity. And insurance policies of participants were subject to cancellation. Nothing says ‘free country’ like being able to freeze the assets of your political opponents without notice, judicial oversight, or possibility of legal recourse, on suspicion of having donated $25 to a trucker who parked in front of Canada’s parliament because he didn’t want the government to take away his job

Perhaps this seems unfair. Trudeau may have invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act to resolve a parking problem. An error in judgement, but in the end he rescinded it.

Quite true. But not before he suspended Canadians’ rights to due process and to peaceful assembly. Or delayed the Act’s debate in the Canadian House of Commons until after the protestors were forcibly removed by police. Or cynically strong-armed its approval through the House of Commons via a confidence vote – cleverly changing the subject of the vote to whether or not MPs wanted to call an election. And remember too that he hinted that the Act would be needed for months to come. Can the country ever be considered truly safe when – at any time – a truck driver apparently going about his business might approach the heart of Canada’s capital city and run up the Canadian flag, thereby magically metamorphosising into a terrorist?

Trudeau lifted the Emergencies Act on 23 February when it became apparent that the Canadian Senate was likely to vote against it. The next day, Russia attacked Ukraine and both national and international attention turned elsewhere – doubtless to the Liberal government’s great relief.

But anyone who thinks Trudeau has learned his lesson is sadly naïve. In a speech to the Toronto Ukrainian community on 4 March, he had the audacity to deplore the ‘slippage in our democracies’ and express concern about countries around the world ‘turning towards slightly more authoritarian leaders’. Why is this happening? According to Trudeau, it’s because ‘misinformation and disinformation’ are allowed to be shared on social media, thus ‘turning people against the values and the principles of democracies’. Right. To preserve democracy, what we need is censorship?

For all Trudeau’s talk, the real threat to Canadian democracy is not the truckers’ movement, whose actions revealed that large numbers of Canadians just want a return to normal life. No: the real threat to democracy is Canada’s ideologically driven leadership, seizing more and ever more unchecked power so as to force Canadian society into the mould of a collectivist utopia. It would be nice if the British parliament cared enough to discuss it.

Lord Ridley — Matt Ridley — pointed out that it was quite the opposite for the British parliament with regard to President Donald Trump. MPs wanted to ban Trump for ‘hate speech’:

When Trump came to the UK, neither House of Parliament extended him an invitation.

Yet, when Trudeau uttered real hate speech against people who did not want to be vaccinated, that was A-okay with our parliamentarians:

Fortunately, he was not invited to address Parliament.

He did, however, address EU parliamentarians in Brussels. A German MEP, Christine Anderson, took strong exception to Trudeau’s actions over the truckers’ protest and pointed out his love of Chinese coronavirus policies.

This very short video is a must-watch. Anderson’s English is flawless in every respect:

I don’t know what the reaction was, but at least she said it and he was there to hear it.

GB News’s Mark Steyn has been interviewing British family members of those who have died from the coronavirus vaccine and have been receiving compensation (£100,000) from the British Government.

Unfortunately, many are heartbroken as they share their stories on Twitter and other social media platforms. Not only do they get harsh feedback from readers accusing them of lying, but the social media moderators accuse these people of peddling mis- or disinformation.

This has been going on not only in the UK, but also in other Western countries.

Alexandra Marshall, the editor of the online edition of The Spectator in Australia, says the censorship is taking place because the push to get people to take potentially harmful vaccines has been a ‘global error’, one that, in some countries, could result in class action lawsuits. This catastrophic failure is too big to fail and no politician wants to jeopardise his or her career by facing a legitimate pushback from citizens. This video is from May 11:

The Online Safety Bill

Meanwhile, our Conservative Government has put forward a potentially damaging Online Safety Bill, notionally designed to protect the most vulnerable but which, in reality, will ‘protect’ — restrict — everyone else.

Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that she wanted to stop social media ‘pile-ons’. It’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Guido Fawkes explains in a Twitter thread:

Who is going to define what a ‘pile-on’ actually is?

And will different rules apply online and offline? Think of newspapers:

On May 11, Kathy Gyngell, editor of The Conservative Woman, wrote:

YESTERDAY marked a black day in British history. It was the most repressive Queen’s Speech ever. A reversal of Britain’s centuries-long march to freedom. 

It contained not one, but a number of ‘innovative’ measures that threaten to curtail our basic rights, including our freedom of speech and movement, under the guise of what are, I am afraid, spurious claims to reform the law and protect us.   

The proposed new Bill of Rights and a series of other state interventionist and regressive measures will make it harder for any who ‘dissent’ the official narrative – whether on ‘pandemic’ policy, vaccine risks or further lockdowns – to air and share their critiques and evidence, or to publicly protest against such curtailing of our rights. 

The Bill of Rights is set to replace current Human Rights law in the name of curbing an incremental rights culture. However, it will quite specifically undermine, if not take away, individual choice and responsibility when and where it is deemed to conflict with the State’s definition of the common good.  

Back in March, I asked whether this was the reform of human rights we need? My answer was that it emphatically was not. I argued that the proposed legislation is a perversion of the traditional notions of rights and duties, and a mendacious and threatening one at that.  

Who will decide what those broader interests of society may be? The Government, the World Health Organisation, or any other international public health body with undue influence over our political masters? The last two years of irrational lockdown and all but compulsory vaccination, all in the name of the higher public good, fills me with foreboding. 

The proposed Online Safety Bill is also deeply worrying. Under its terms, ‘major social media firms will face fines worth up to ten per cent of their global turnover if they fail to tackle illegal content getting on to their sites under reintroduced duty of care plans to protect users from online harms’.

At the rate we at TCW are already being censored, under the notion of ‘harms’, this also bodes very ill for us and any other dissenting or free speech site

The proposed Public Order Bill and its additional police powers, also in yesterday’s speech, again would be welcome if it was restricted to stopping eco-protesters blocking roads and inflicting fuel shortages on motorists, and not used against peaceful protest against government policy.  

However, it will allow police to ban suspected troublemakers from attending specified events. Does that mean Piers Corbyn, for example? I defend his right to protest and so should anyone. Does it mean in fact any government critic or opponent could be singled out? How will it be interpreted? The degree to which the police are already politicised and discriminate does not augur well … 

All this proposed new legislation needs to have a bright torch shone on it. We need to protest against it and remember those of centuries past who gave their lives for today’s, now to be curtailed, freedoms.

I could not agree more. It is difficult to believe that Conservatives have come up with this unholy intrusion into our lives and thoughts.

Labour have since said that they would take these laws even further once — or if — they are ever in power. We would do well to take them at their word.

On June 27, Lord Frost urged Conservatives to scrap the Online Safety Bill. The Daily Mail reported:

The Tory peer claims the Online Safety Bill contains so many flaws ‘it is hard to know where to start’.

He singles out for criticism the fact that it will outlaw comments on social media that would be legal in the real world.

Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, says the move will be ‘highly damaging’ to free speech and will benefit only the ‘perennially offended’ who want to be protected from anything they disagree with.

He says: ‘A Conservative Government should not be putting this view into law. The best thing the Government could do would be to slim down the Bill so they can proceed rapidly with the genuinely uncontroversial aspects, and consign the rest where it belongs – the wastepaper basket.’

It is hoped that a new Prime Minister will sink this bill once and for all in September.

I certainly hope so. We have bigger worries right now.

My advice to social media users? If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The 150th birthday of Speaker’s Corner

In late June, advocates of free speech gathered at London’s Speaker’s Corner to celebrate its 150th birthday.

The day before, police arrested a female Christian apologist at Speaker’s Corner because she wore a tee shirt with a Charlie Hebdo cartoon featuring an image many think should not see the light of day.

I do not know if this was the same lady who was brutally attacked with a knife there some months earlier for giving a defence of the Christian faith.

Toby Young, the General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, was at Speaker’s Corner on its 150th birthday and gave Mark Steyn his report, including one about the Christian lady:

Young pointed out that, in Victorian times — certainly leading up to the founding of Speaker’s Corner in 1872 and beyond — people were much more able to speak their minds than they are today.

Young lamented the fact that not many people were present at the 150th birthday celebration. Nor did the mainstream media cover such an important event.

He said that, if people want to read or hear free speech, they now have to go online.

Conclusion

The great irony in all of this censorship is that it took a Russian emigré to the UK to point it out.

Author, comedian and podcaster Konstantin Kisin is putting his views, personal and historical, into a book on the subject: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West.

On July 10, he discussed free speech with Andrew Doyle and told him that, right now:

We are in the late Soviet stage …

He went on to describe how his grandfather fell foul of this in Stalin’s Soviet Union. He lost his job and ended up in a gulag as a result.

Here’s the video:

It is sad that it takes an emigré to point out how far down the rabbit hole we are.

That said, thank goodness for Konstatin Kisin. I hope that people listen to him and read his book.

We must defend free speech at all costs.

Candidates for the Conservative Party leadership race began putting their hats in the ring last weekend.

Many of those MPs are promising everything, and pundits are having a field day in the press:

While it is true to say that a lot of them are alike — yet not all — in policies, let us look at the diversity among the original 11 candidates:

Among those original 11, we had five women and six minority candidates.

No one can say today, as Theresa May did many years ago, that the Conservatives are the ‘nasty party’:

The Conservatives had no quotas. These MPs merely had to come forward and declare their interest in the leadership contest.

As I write in the early afternoon of Wednesday, July 13, we now have eight candidates.

Four are women and four are from racial minorities:

Brexit Leaver and former Labour MP Kate Hoey, now an unaffiliated Baroness in the House of Lords, told Mark Steyn of GB News how pleased she is that the Conservatives managed to accomplish what Labour only talk about:

How the winner is chosen

Late on Monday, Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, announced the Conservative Party leadership rules. The loud voice heard in the background is none other than the daily disrupter, Steve Bray:

Darren McCaffrey of GB News has more:

The goal is to have a new Prime Minister in place by September 5, when Parliament returns from summer recess.

Conservative MPs will participate in a series of voting rounds between now and July 21, when Parliament goes into summer recess. The final two MPs on the list will then spend the next several weeks going around the country to campaign to Conservative Party members.

Party members will receive a ballot with the final two names and vote for their choice.

GB News has more on how the voting will proceed, beginning on Wednesday, July 13:

Sir Graham said the first ballot will be conducted on Wednesday with candidates required to obtain backing from a minimum of 20 MPs.

In the second ballot, on Thursday, MPs are required to obtain support from 30 MPs in order to progress to the next round, accelerating to the final two as soon as possible.

Disillusionment and a wish for Boris to return

Conservative voters, including those who are not Party members, are disillusioned about this contest.

Many wish that Boris Johnson’s name were on the ballot. This petition to ‘reinstate’ him ‘as Prime Minister’ has garnered 15,000 signatures in only a few days. However, Boris is still Prime Minister, just not the leader of the Conservative Party.

Neil Oliver, not a Boris supporter, by the way, tweeted that the leadership decision has already been made:

It is rumoured that Bill Gates arrived in England just before Boris resigned. If true, that would not come as a surprise:

Bob Moran, the former Telegraph cartoonist, hit the nail on the head as he expressed the sentiment of many of those who voted Conservative in 2019. We also need an outsider to win so that we have some fresh thinking in Downing Street:

A number of the candidates have ties with the World Economic Forum. One is known to be friends with Bill Gates. Ideally, we would have transparency in this area:

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been in the lead since the contest began. He was one of the first two main Cabinet members to announce his resignation last week. Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid was the first.

It has come to light that the photo of the Downing Street drinks party held during lockdown in 2020 was taken from No. 11, where Rishi Sunak worked. Some people think that Boris’s then-adviser Dominic Cummings played a part in getting those photos released to the press. Did Rishi know?

Sajid Javid declared his candidacy, possibly taking a pop at Rishi Sunak’s slick candidacy operation.

On Monday, July 11, GB News reported:

Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid addressed media gathered at Westminster this afternoon, outlining his leadership bid.

Mr Javid said “I don’t have a ready made logo or slick video ready to go”, adding: “I have a passion and desire to get Britain on the right course.”

Acknowledging his resignation last week, Mr Javid said “Five days ago I stood up in Parliament and I spoke from the heart and I believe I spoke in the national interest.”

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson endured a series of scandals throughout his premiership, most recently Partygate and the allegations against Chris Pincher.

Addressing the ongoing investigations, the former Health Secretary said: “We need a leader who makes credible promises.”

He added that “our party has lost its way”.

Javid bowed out late on Tuesday. No one was disappointed:

Rishi, on the other hand, seems to have had his candidacy in mind for some time, since 2020. Interesting:

Note his professional campaign logo in the upper left hand corner of this tweet:

Guido Fawkes has a critique of the various logos, some of which have been rushed to market, as it were.

To make matters worse, rumours have circulated about infighting and dirty tricks among Conservative MPs. The public have taken note:

The Sun‘s political editor, Harry Cole, tweeted:

On that note, is it possible that Conservative Party members might not even get a vote should one of the final two winners concede to the other? That is what happened in 2016, when Theresa May became PM. Andrew Bridgen MP thinks this is a possibility:

Voting records

This graphic (credit here) shows how the candidates have voted in Parliament on various issues:

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Candidates who bowed out

Let us look at the candidates who have bowed out thus far.

Sajid Javid

Conservative voters thought that Sajid Javid was a safe pair of hands as Health Secretary until he started laying out his coronavirus wish list. Only last month, Desmond Swayne MP pointed out the online job advert for a national manager of coronavirus passports:

On July 10, Javid appeared on a Sunday news programme.

He promised tax cuts. No surprise there. It was also unconvincing, considering the tax burden we have been under the past several months, possibly higher than we would have had under Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn:

Javid also discussed his non-dom status, which is curious, as he was born in Rochdale:

On Tuesday, July 12, broadcasting from Northern Ireland, Mark Steyn said this about Javid’s bowing out of the race:

Rehman Chishti

Rehman Chishti had an even more lacklustre campaign.

He was still on the fence last Saturday, proving that dithering gets one nowhere quick:

He declared on Sunday. Unfortunately, the photo is not a good one:

He dropped out on Tuesday:

Grant Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps declared his candidacy on Saturday, making much of his loyalty to Boris (Nadhim Zahawi is pictured below):

He appeared on Sky News on Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, viewers and voters rooted round to find out more about Shapps’s parliamentary career.

Cabinet of Horrors has a fascinating profile of him, the first half of which follows (emphases mine):

Grant Shapps resigned as a minister in 2015 following revelations of his involvement with a bullying scandal that had led to a young Conservative Party activist taking their own life. Few would have imagined he could ever be reappointed to cabinet, still less to a more senior role. But in July 2019 Boris Johnson replaced the hapless and incompetent Chris Grayling as Transport Minister with someone even more discredited: Grant Shapps.

Then again, Shapps is no stranger to the art of reinvention. Indeed, he has proved remarkably inventive with his own identity.

In 2012, one of his constituents noticed that, while working as an MP, Shapps had also been peddling get-rich-quick-schemes online under the assumed names ‘Michael Green’ and ‘Sebastian Fox’. The schemes, marketed by Shapps’ company How To Corp under such titles as ‘Stinking Rich 3’, promised unwary punters that they could make large amounts of money very rapidly if they followed ‘Michael Green’s’ instructionsThese included the instruction to recruit more punters to sell get-rich-quick schemes to the public – a classic feature of pyramid-selling schemes.

Shapps at first attempted to deny this, saying: ‘Let me get this absolutely clear… I don’t have a second job and have never had a second job while being an MP. End of story.’ He also threatened to sue the constituent who had uncovered what he had been up to. Days later, he was forced to admit the truth, though he did this in a characteristically slippery manner, saying that he had ‘over-firmly denied’ the story.

One might think that being exposed as a liar, a huckster and a bully would have led to an immediate end to Shapps’ career in politics. Instead, he was demoted from cabinet but handed a more junior ministerial portfolio and allowed to continue as co-chair of the Conservative Party.

On Sky News’s Sunday news programme, Shapps presented his credentials.

He was squeaky clean. Hmm:

He took credit for Boris’s resignation as party leader. Really?

He promised a tax cut:

He said he was relaxed about identity issues:

And he was sure he had the numbers:

Then, suddenly, he didn’t.

Oh, well. Too bad.

Conservative Party voters name their candidates

Since the weekend, various polls have been conducted of rank and file Party members.

The results go against the MPs’ wishes.

This is where MPs are as voting opens on Wednesday afternoon. I’ll post results tomorrow:

A Conservative Home poll (image credit here) shows that Party members want either Penny Mordaunt or Kemi Badenoch to win. Rishi Sunak is a distant third on 12.1% support:

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The next poll shows the wishes of Conservative members in Mrs Thatcher’s birthplace of Grantham, part of the Grantham and Stamford constuency. They are not fans of Rishi Sunak, either:

However, Rishi does top another poll of Conservative and other voters. Note the Don’t Know (read Boris?) percentage:

Some dispute the results. However, as someone points out, this could have to do with name recognition from news programmes and the papers:

I’ll have more on today’s vote tomorrow.

News events from the past ten days have been strange, indeed.

That they are happening all at the same time shows that truth is stranger than fiction.

This is like something out of a dystopian film.

Neil Oliver’s editorial

On Saturday, July 2, Neil Oliver presented his weekly editorial on GB News:

He said that the supposed new world utopia is not working. He discussed possible Chinese social credit scores coming to the West and the increasing government control over our lives. He talked about racism from progressives towards their perceived ‘wrong kind’ of minorities who believe in conservatism, such as Justice Clarence Thomas on the overturning of Roe v Wade. He showed us the clip of Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau joking about the size of their jets at a time when Western governments are discouraging their citizens from flying — anywhere. He looked at the hypocrisy of the Glastonbury music festival, with environmentalist youths leaving behind them a load of plastic rubbish all over the massive field where it was held. He talked about how people were increasingly unable to put food on the table and asked why this was in the 21st century, a time when we have never been so advanced as a society:

It makes no sense.

He said that the elites want:

the poor to become poorer, the hungry to become hungrier and the cold to become colder.

He concluded:

… here’s the hardest pill to swallow: it’s not supposed to make sense. This is planned, done on purpose. It’s supposed to make us do what we are told. It’s supposed to make us stop asking impertinent questions and just submit to The Man. It’s supposed to divide us, one from another, until everyone feels alone. It’s supposed to make us scared, angry, cold, hungry and sick to death. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has turned into a dystopia, the kind that Neil Oliver spoke of in his editorial.

The Express summarised the situation, caused by a debt crisis (emphases mine):

Unrest has been ongoing for several months over a debt crisis that has crippled the economy.

Reserves have been drained to minimum levels and the country has defaulted on several debts, meaning it is now struggling to secure essential imports like medicines and fuel.

The south Asian nation has been plagued by sky-high inflation, rolling blackouts and mile-long queues to secure essential goods.

Sporadic protests began in late March, but have since galvanised huge support from the wider public.

Last week, after months of shortages of nearly everything in the country, protesters stormed the presidential palace and the prime minister’s residence, both of which are in the capital Colombo:

The homes of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have been occupied by local people furious with their leadership for throwing them into a staggering economic crisis …

They have since occupied the building, making themselves at home by using the pool and kitchen.

Sri Lankan police had attempted to use tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds, but they have remained defiant and are still refusing to leave.

The Express has several pictures of protesters occupying the presidential palace.

Although the president and prime minister have since resigned, protesters remain sceptical:

some are sceptical of the legitimacy of the resignations.

In a late-night announcement on Saturday, President Rajapaksa said he will step down on Wednesday.

But under Sri Lanka’s constitution, his resignation can only formally be accepted when he resigns by letter to the Speaker, which has not happened yet.

Protesters have said they will continue to occupy official buildings until both have officially stepped down.

The country’s political parties have resolved that, once both the president and the prime minister formally step down, the speaker would take the role of acting president before parliament votes for a new president on July 20.

On Monday, July 11, Dan Wootton discussed the situation, saying that much of the unrest had been sparked by green policymaking. The president’s drive to turn Sri Lanka into an organic-only country with no fertiliser has led to widespread food shortages. The pertinent part is in the first minute and a bit of this video:

Dutch farmers

Meanwhile, another chilling news story emerged, this time from the Netherlands, that of farmers protesting against possible confiscation of their land.

This, too, bears out what Neil Oliver discussed on July 2.

The EU has decreed that nitrogen emissions must be cut. They blame farmers.

Dutch farmers have been protesting against their government’s latest policy on nitrogen emission reductions, which, if Prime Minister Mark Rutte gets his way will put many of them out of business.

This was the scene on Friday, July 8:

Below are some of the replies to that tweet:

The Dutch, like most European peoples, are unarmed. The authorities prefer it that way:

Imagine if the government took away the land that you and generations before you had farmed, with either dairy cows or crops. It’s unthinkable, but it is a real threat for these men and women:

In reality, there is no emissions problem in the Netherlands. This is about something else — control:

How interesting that the BBC hasn’t covered it:

On July 7, Tucker Carlson interviewed the Dutch lawyer Eva Vlaardingerbroek, who is also a regular guest on GB News.

The Vigilant Fox has the video of her talking to Tucker as well as a transcript.

She said:

what this is about is the Dutch government stealing our farmers’ land, and they’re doing this under the guise of the made-up nitrogen crisis. And that is basically going to put most of these farmers completely out of business.

And thankfully, the Dutch farmers aren’t having it. So they’re going out in the streets, they’re blocking distribution centers, they’ve blocked the high roads, they are fighting back! And they’re right to do so; this is their life’s work. They’re really at their wit’s end. They’re devastated by what the government is doing, and it’s very clear that the government is not doing this because of a nitrogen crisis, they’re doing this because they want these farmers’ land, and they want it to house new immigrants.

They also want it because the farmers are obviously standing in their way of The Great Reset plans that they have for us. Farmers are hard-working, God-fearing, and especially self-sufficient people that are just standing in the way of their globalist agenda. And it’s driving a lot of these farmers even to something like suicide. So really, there’s only one term that we can use for the things that our government and their Premier Mark Rutte is doing right now, and that is communism.

Scary.

Tucker, like most of us, tried to wrap his head around this:

So messing with the food supply tends to cause food crises and then famines. You’re seeing this in the developing world, thanks to climate activism and the war in Ukraine. Are normal Dutch citizens who aren’t farmers worried about what happens when you shut the farms down?

Eva said that the Dutch public understand what is happening:

Absolutely! They understand it. ‘No farmers, no food,’ and that’s why the farmers have blocked these distribution centers because within a matter of a couple of hours, we saw that the supermarkets were empty, and ordinary citizens understand this.

She says the Dutch government either doesn’t understand the consequences of what is happening or they really do want to destroy farming:

The problem is that the state doesn’t seem to understand this, or it’s what they want. And the police have responded in an incredibly violent way. So as you guys have seen, now, they have even shot at a 16 year-old-boy. These are not things that you should see in free Western countries, especially not targeted towards peaceful protesters, but it’s happening.

She explained the red handkerchief she was wearing and said that similar nefarious events could happen in other Western nations:

Everyone around the world, and especially you in America, should be supporting our Dutch farmers because this could be happening to you. It’s actually the very reason why I’m wearing this handkerchief right now. It’s become the symbol of these farmers’ resistance, and they’re doing it so courageously, and they have the manpower to do it, so they really deserve your full support.

This Dutch farmer agrees with the assessment that the Dutch government wants the land. He says that it is in order to make the whole of the Netherlands one urban sprawl. You could not make this up:

It seems this is a World Economic Forum idea:

Eva gave an interview to Rebel News and confirmed the link with the WEF:

Once farmland is built on, it cannot easily be reclaimed for crops or grazing:

It sounds like fascism — corporations aligning with governments for control over the people:

Unfortunately, the British government — Conservative! — is trying the same thing in England by politely offering to buy farmers’ land. Amazing, at a time when we have so little food security:

On Monday, June 11, Neil Oliver appeared on Dan Wootton’s GB News show to discuss the unrest both the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.

Oliver said that Sri Lanka has also been affected by green policies which have been responsible for shortages plunging the country into crisis. He surmises that the governments have been told what to do. He doubts whether politicians will listen to the people and referenced Canada’s trucker protests earlier this year as a case in point. Trudeau froze some protesters’ bank accounts in response. Wootton responded by saying that the media were ignoring what has been going on in both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. Oliver said that this will become so big in time that the media can no longer ignore it.

To be fair, the replies to this tweet do indicate that the BBC and Sky News have been covering these stories for the past few days.

Allow me to point out that the World Economic Forum had big plans for Sri Lanka, predicting an economic boom by 2025:

These green policies are hurting people, and it is time they were stopped:

On Monday, June 11, Patrick Christys of GB News spoke to Jeroen Van Maanen of the Dutch Dairy Farmers’ Association. Van Maanen has been on GB News a lot over the past few days. He said that the government has different emissions targets, depending on the region. If this law is not stopped, he, for one, will not be able to continue farming. He also said that the government forbids using technological innovations to reduce emissions. Unbelievable. Like Eva, he stated that this is about the government buying land to house refugees:

Christys then spoke to energy analyst Andy Mayer, who said that misguided green policies are going to become problematic across Europe first, then other Western nations. Mayer said that the EU law on emissions originated in the UN. Like Tucker Carlson, Christys had a hard time wrapping his head around governments that seemingly wanted their farmers to go out of business. Mayer said that political leaders are so obsessed with reaching environmental targets that they are making terrible decisions. He said that the Netherlands exports £100m of farm products per year. Here in the UK we get a lot of produce from the Dutch all year round. Mayer says the grand plan is to have food in the West grown in other countries. Sheer madness, when we can see the result of this right now in Ukraine as Putin has prevented their grain from being harvested:

Returning to the Netherlands, it is heartening to see the farmers protest into the night:

Eva also spoke with Mark Steyn on Monday evening. Well done, GB News, for keeping this story going:

Shinzo Abe assassination

When it wasn’t governments controlling their people, it was a madman settling an imagined score last week.

On Friday, July 8, Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe, 67, was campaigning for a political candidate in his party and was shot in the city of Nara:

He died soon afterwards:

What happened with security at the event?

Donald Trump’s supporters remember how close he was to Abe:

Boris Johnson also admired Abe:

When Abe’s death was announced, Boris sent a message of condolence in English and Japanese:

Abe had a long relationship with the UK. Here are photos of him with our past three Prime Ministers:

The gunman had served in the Japanese navy.

The Express reported:

A number of makeshift weapons were said to have been discovered at the home of Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, who was arrested after the attack.

The navy veteran was thought to have had improvised devices, including the one used in Friday’s killing, by taping steel pipes together.

The gunman held Abe responsible for his (the gunman’s) mother’s bankruptcy. She happened to belong to South Korea’s Unification Church, the Moonies, and gave them a large donation. The gunman believed that Abe had connections to the same group. Apparently, he thought that Abe somehow influenced his mother to give her large donation.

Hmm. There is no information about security at the event, only about it being heightened in the days that followed, culminating on July 10:

The assassination has shaken Japan – a country where political violence is rare and gun ownership tightly controlled.

Mr Abe was speaking during an event for his former party, the Liberal Democrats, ahead of upper house elections.

Security was heightened as voters went to the polls yesterday and party leaders avoided mingling with crowds during their final hours of campaigning.

Abe’s traditional funeral ceremony, the tsuya, was held on Monday, July 11. It was a small gathering, led by his tearful widow Akie, 60, and attended by former prime ministers and American officials.

Boris Johnson’s ousting

Finally, at the beginning of last week, Boris Johnson was abruptly and unexpectedly ousted as leader of the Conservative Party, although he remains Prime Minister for now.

On Saturday, July 10, Neil Oliver had a pertinent editorial on Boris, saying that our MPs do not care about us, we the people. We are in their way. We count for nothing in their eyes. He was appalled by the party atmosphere surrounding Boris’s resignation and took exception with former Prime Minister John Major’s suggestion that Boris should be removed immediately from No. 10. He also criticised another former Conservative MP, Michael Heseltine, for saying that, with Boris’s departure, Brexit is now over. (Brexit was the largest plebiscite in British history.) He then went on to rightly criticise MPs for the damage done to British society with lockdown and Net Zero policies. They are now our masters, no longer our servants:

I will have more on what allegedly happened to Boris and profiles of Conservative MPs who are campaigning to succeed him as leader.

Dystopian events

That so many strange events could happen at the same time strikes me as dystopian.

I’ve never experienced a news cycle like last week’s.

Let us hope this is not a regular occurrence.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 proved to be a memorable day for Boris Johnson for all the wrong reasons.

Last weekend, details emerged of Conservative MP Chris Pincher’s inebriated groping of another man at the Carlton Club in London’s St James. The Carlton Club is the private members club for Conservatives. Chris Pincher had been a Government minister and Deputy Chief Whip.

Lest anyone think the furore about Chris Pincher and blaming Boris for it is about cleaning up government, the end goal remains: get rid of Boris because Boris represents Brexit.

Chris Pincher

Chris Pincher has been a Conservative MP since 2010, the year David Cameron became Prime Minister.

Theresa May gave him his first ministerial role, that of Comptroller of the Household, in 2017. A few months later, she appointed him Treasurer of the Household, the next move up from Comptroller of the Household. In 2018, he then became Deputy Chief Whip, which is a role given by the Chief Whip, not the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson gave Pincher other ministerial roles. I watched him at the despatch box regularly as Minister of State for Europe and the Americas and Minister of State for Housing. In February 2022, he once again became Treasurer of the Household, a Boris appointment, and Deputy Chief Whip, a Chief Whip appointment.

Then the Carlton Club scandal broke, with Pincher freely admitting in writing what he had done. He has had the Conservative Party whip removed, although he remains an MP for now.

The question from Boris’s enemies is how much blame should the Prime Minister carry.

It looks to me as if it all started with Theresa May, especially as he resigned his 2017 appointment as Comptroller of the Household when sexual misconduct allegations involving MPs swirled into a scandal that year. Pincher was accused of misconduct at the time by then-MP Tom Blenkinsop and Olympic rower Alex Story.

Shortly afterwards, in January 2018, Pincher became Deputy Chief Whip, so the Whip’s office is partly responsible, too.

On July 5, the veteran journalist and columnist Charles Moore explained in The Telegraph how the Whips Office selection process works (purple emphases mine):

The coverage of the row about Chris Pincher, the allegedly groping and confessedly drunk former deputy chief whip, suffers from a false premise. It is said that Boris Johnson appointed him. This is true only in a formal sense. I feel that lobby [press corps] journalists should have made this clear.

This custom is not just a reflection of the fact that any prime minister pays less attention to junior appointments than to Cabinet-level ones. It is also – and mainly – because the whips are a law unto themselves. The idea is that they will know best how to achieve the necessary geographical and ideological spread to look after all sections of the party. The Chief Whip is therefore free – “100 per cent” in the words of one former chief to me – to appoint whoever he thinks fit. This seems sensible: how on earth would a prime minister know that level of detail about who’s who in the parliamentary party? Backbenchers would be suspicious of a whips’ office filled with a prime minister’s favourites.

Each prime minister sees the government chief whip’s list before it is announced and is free to comment on it, but the chief decides. So Boris Johnson would have been breaking the unwritten rules if he had either forbidden or insisted on Mr Pincher’s appointment. If it can be shown that he did the latter, he is in a bit of trouble on the issue. If not, then not.

Lord McDonald

Until July 5, I had never heard of the life peer Baron McDonald of Salford, or Simon to his friends.

Lord McDonald was the Permanent Under-Secretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office between 2015 and 2020.

On July 5, he wrote to Kathryn Stone OBE, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for the House of Commons.

Guido Fawkes posted a copy of the letter, which takes issue with a BBC report of complaints made against Pincher and says that, indeed, allegations had been raised against the MP in 2019.

Two brief excerpts of his letter follow.

In the summer of 2019, after Pincher received his first ministerial appointment (at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) under Boris Johnson:

… a group of officials complained to me about Mr Pincher’s behaviour. I discussed the matter with the relevant official at the Cabinet Office … An investigation upheld the complaint; Mr Pincher apologised and promised not to repeat the inappropriate behaviour. There was no repetition at the FCO before he left seven months later.

The BBC had changed the text of their present-day article about whether Boris knew or not.

Lord McDonald’s letter says:

Mr Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation. There was a “formal complaint”. Allegations were “resolved” only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr Pincher was not exonerated. To characterise the allegations as “unsubstantiated” is therefore wrong.

I am aware that it is unusual to write to you and simultaneously publicise the letter. I am conscious of the duty owed to the target of an investigation but I act out of my duty towards the victims. Mr Pincher deceived me and others in 2019 …

He tweeted the text of his letter:

Hmm.

Could there be any bad blood between McDonald and Boris?

Downing Street claims that Boris forgot about the investigation into Pincher.

A commenter on Guido’s post about this claim makes pertinent points:

I find it strange that the criticism is of the appointment of Pincher as Deputy Chief Whip in February. He wasn’t promoted from the backbenches, he was already a minister in the Dept of Levelling Up. If he was unsuitable for ministerial office in Feb, he must have been unsuitable in Jan, so why the focus on the Feb appointment?

Lord MacDonald is another nasty CS mandarin in the Philip Ruttnam mould. His letter is very carefully phrased but disingenuous. If he was unhappy for Pincher to continue as a minister in the FCO for seven months after the 2019 complaint, what did he do about it? If he was content with the arrangement, then clearly the matter was indeed resolved.

Pincher was first appointed to the Whips’ Office by Theresa May. Is anyone in the MSM questioning her judgement?

Gordon Rayner’s Telegraph article, ‘Lord McDonald: The former civil servant who “never saw eye to eye” with Boris Johnson’ has an account of what happened between the peer and Boris, the then-Foreign Secretary during Theresa May’s premiership:

A former civil servant publicly accusing a Prime Minister of lying is a rare event, but Baron McDonald of Salford is unlikely to have had any pangs of guilt about calling out the man who effectively ended his career.

During his time as Boris Johnson’s Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, Lord McDonald – or Sir Simon, as he was thenwas suspected by Mr Johnson of running a spying operation and orchestrating damaging leaks about the then foreign secretary.

Mr Johnson believed that media stories accusing him of being lazy and failing to attend properly to his red boxes of ministerial papers were being briefed by Lord McDonald’s department. When the Foreign Office merged with the Department for International Development, Mr Johnson, by then Prime Minister, saw to it that Lord McDonald was squeezed out.

So when he had the chance to expose Mr Johnson’s Downing Street operation for what he says is a lie over the Chris Pincher affair – an undeniably important intervention – he is unlikely to have spent much time wrestling with his conscience.

Does Brexit enter into this? You bet it does:

“They never saw eye to eye,” said one former minister. “Simon never made a secret of the fact that he was a strong Remainer and he has always had big issues with Brexit.”

Another insider said:

“So it does feel a little bit as though Simon has been waiting three years to get his revenge, and has finally had his chance, notwithstanding the fact that what he says may well be true.”

Lord McDonald took early retirement in September 2020. Since then, he has spoken freely:

In March last year Lord McDonald, 61, was interviewed by the think tank UK In a Changing Europe, when he said he was one of three senior civil servants on a Downing Street “s— list” who were “all for the high jump”.

He said that he was “one of those that were soaked” by former Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings’ threat of a “hard rain” falling on Whitehall

Mr Johnson softened the blow by giving Lord McDonald a peerage, not an automatic appointment for retiring civil servants. But it has not prevented him from criticising the Prime Minister since then.

So now we know.

It is unlikely that Gordon Rayner’s article will be getting any traction in the media. Will GB News pick it up? I hope so.

McDonald’s letter sends Conservative MPs flying in all directions

Note that McDonald tweeted his letter at 7:30 a.m., just the right time to dictate the news narrative for the day.

And so it proved.

For those in the political bubble, BBC Radio 4’s Today show is required listening.

Guido has a summary of what happened. Deputy PM and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab gave an interview, followed by Lord McDonald (emphases in the original):

… Following ex-Foreign Office Permanent Secretary Sir Simon McDonald’s bombshell letter this morning, Dominic Raab had the task once again of spinning the latest unsustainable No.10 line to the press. Through plenty of coughing and spluttering, Raab insisted on the Today Programme that 

Aside from the Westminster rumour mill, any allegation that had resulted in formal disciplinary action… whilst there was inappropriate behaviour [from Pincher], it didn’t trip the wire into disciplinary action… the individual who made the complaint did not want formal disciplinary action taken.

Just minutes later, McDonald appeared on Today himself to once again take a sledgehammer to No.10’s line that Boris wasn’t briefed on Pincher’s behaviour in person in 2019, and Raab’s claims that since no “further disciplinary action” was taken, the matter was resolved:

I disagree with that, and I dispute the use of the word ‘resolved’… the complaint was upheld… Number 10 have had five full days to get the story correct, and that still has not happened… it’s sort of telling the truth and crossing your fingers at the same time and hoping people aren’t too forensic in their subsequent questioning.

In a matter of hours, the line has gone from “it’s not true” to “the PM didn’t know of any formal complaints”. Chaos.

In Downing Street that morning, a Cabinet meeting took place. Why cameras were allowed, I have no idea. What a silly thing to do, especially when all hell was breaking loose:

At lunchtime in the House of Commons, Michael Ellis, Minister for the Cabinet Office, had to answer an Urgent Question (UQ) from Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner about what Boris knew of Pincher:

This is the most succinct quote from Ellis:

As I have articulated, there was an exercise in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the matter, which I believe went on for several weeks. I need to confirm the details, because I had insufficient time to do so this morning, but as I say, there was an exercise, and it concluded to the satisfaction of all involved. That was within the Department and, it appears to me, before the Prime Minister was made aware.

One of Guido’s readers sums the matter up as follows:

1. Pincher’s conduct in 2019 was investigated and did not result in disciplinary action in 2019.

2. Independent advice was sought from Simon McDonald and the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team, which also did not result in any form of disciplinary action.

3. The victim in 2019 DID NOT WANT aany disciplinary action against Pincher.

4. Pincher’s appointment to government had followed all set procedures, including oversight by an independent QC. Until this point, as Pincher had kept a clean disciplinary record up, there was no reason to block his appointment to government.

Boris would have no grounds to refuse Pincher’s appointment as there were no official disciplinary action against him up to that point, which is in line with the rules set out in Westminster.

All this drama over whether Boris knew of Pincher’s indescretions would not have changed anything in terms of his appointment to government as he had satisfied all the requirements in terms of pedigree (appointed by two PMs and vetting).

The Opposition benches were full for Ellis and the UQ.

Watching at home, I nearly applauded when Peter Bone got his chance to speak:

Recently, at a Brexit opportunities debate here, there were no Liberal Democrats and virtually no Labour Members. The only time they turn up here is to bash Boris. Does my right hon. and learned Friend think that our constituents in Northamptonshire, which we both represent, are more concerned about an MP they have never heard about, or the biggest tax reduction in decades, which will happen tomorrow?

Ellis replied:

My hon. Friend hits the nail on the head, as usual. As he points out, Labour Members have made frequent requests for business in this House to be about not what our constituents primarily care about, but personalities. They do not raise the issue of policies, because when they do, they lose. Instead, they focus on personalities, and that has been the drive of the past six months.

Guido covered MPs’ reaction to the events of the day:

Number 10’s spin operation today after the McDonald letter has, unsurprisingly, gone down like a cup of cold sick with the Tory benches, including amongst Boris loyalists. Guido’s spoken to several MPs following the lobby briefing and Michael Ellis’s Urgent Question response, and they all agreed it was a “disaster“. One said it was “the last days of Rome”…

There were also raised eyebrows – and that’s putting it mildly – over No.10’s decision to allow cameras in to the Cabinet meeting this morning …

Where, one might ask, is the counter-attack? What is Downing Street doing to get on the front foot? What is CCHQ doing? MPs who are hardcore supporters of the Prime Minister are fed up. Trying to push the “biggest tax cut” talking point today won’t work to set the agenda when you put up the same taxes only a few months ago. If the government wants to shift the media’s focus on to the economy, what will they do that Starmer won’t? Tory MPs want a sense of purpose and direction, rather than constantly ricocheting at the hands of the media from one minor negative process story to another, that the general public doesn’t really care about… 

Chancellor and Health Secretary resign

Worse was to come later that afternoon.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid tendered his resignation, followed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak minutes later.

Some pundits say there was no connection between the resignations.

Others say that the two men are friends and agreed on a plan.

GB News covered the resignations and analysis all evening long. It was a good move. The shows were excellent.

In other news, Theresa May was at the opera with her husband Philip and friends:

Returning to GB News, the resignations happened just before Nigel Farage’s show at 7 p.m. Not surprisingly, Farage thinks that Boris should resign, something he has said many times before and will continue to say for weeks, if not months:

Farage used Guido’s video of that day’s Cabinet meeting:

Discussion continued on Mark Steyn’s show at 8 p.m. By the end of the show one hour later, Boris had appointed Steve Barclay as the new Health Secretary:

Dan Wootton came on at 9 p.m.:

By the time his show was halfway through, Nadhim Zahawi became the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. The conversation between him and Boris in No. 10 was a long one. Apparently, Zahawi was eager to relinquish his role as Education Secretary and really wanted the No. 11 job. Michelle Donelan is the new Education Secretary, having been Minister of State for Higher and Further Education from 2020 to 2022.

Boris deflected a crisis within three hours.

Guido has an ongoing list of other Cabinet resignations, which are, as I write, for minor posts. Red Wall MP Jonathan Gullis, once a staunch Boris supporter, was among that number. It should be noted that the main Cabinet appointees are still in place.

Unfortunately, during that time, Lord Frost, usually a voice for sanity, fell for the McDonald bait. He wrote an article for The Telegraph, ‘It is time for Boris Johnson to go’:

I resigned from the Government on a matter of principle. On Tuesday, Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak did the same. Other Cabinet Ministers now need to consider whether they are truly happy with the current direction of travel.

Boris Johnson’s place in history is secure. He will be one of the past century’s most consequential prime ministers. If he leaves now, before chaos descends, that reputation is what will be remembered. If he hangs on, he risks taking the party and the Government down with him. That’s why it is time for him to go. If he does, he can still hand on to a new team, one that is determined to defend and seek the opportunities of Brexit, one that is able to win the next election convincingly. That is in the Conservative Party’s interest, in Leave voters’ interest, and in the national interest. It needs to happen.

PMQs on July 6 could have been worse. It was more of the same from the Opposition. On the Conservative benches, which were packed, only Tim Loughton, Gary Sambrook and David Davis (once again) rebelled, all saying that Boris should resign.

After PMQs, Sajid Javid was granted a statement about his resignation. Boris remained seated behind the despatch box. Javid put a big emphasis on ‘integrity’. He said that, for him, ‘loyalty and integrity’ were at loggerheads over the past few months, hence his resignation. He could no longer defend the indefensible, from Partygate to Pincher, especially to his constituents. He told his former Cabinet colleagues that not doing ‘something’ — i.e. resigning — would look bad. Boris left immediately afterwards to jeers of ‘Byeee, Boooris’ from the Opposition benches.

Lee Anderson withdraws support

In an unexpected development, Red Wall MP Lee Anderson has withdrawn his support for Boris:

Guido has the full text of Anderson’s letter, excerpted below:

With A Heavy Heart.

I have remained loyal to the Prime Minister since being elected in 2019.

However my position has changed over the past few days since the incident which led to the Deputy Chief Whip losing the party whip

I do not hold a position I can resign from so the only thing I can do is make my feelings known to my constituents and party members. This statement may upset some people and I am sure some people will be delighted with the demise of our PM but I have a job to do and I must do it with a clear conscience.

My focus has always been my constituents many of whom are friends, family and neighbours and my loyalty to them is paramount.

Finally, I will do all I can to make sure our party wins the next election to form a Government of low taxation and who will be tough on illegal immigration as I feel we could have done better, that said the thought of a Labour Government terrifies me so please keep the faith.

I hope that explains my position.

Perhaps he will throw his hat into the ring when the leadership contest begins in due course.

Meanwhile, Conservative voters are fuming

At home, Conservative voters are perplexed by the actions of what is supposed to be an orderly, no-nonsense Government. Most do not know who Chris Pincher is. They are interested in what Boris and his team are doing to improve our lives which, at the moment, isn’t much.

This is what we have at present, ably stated by a Guido Fawkes reader:

80 seat majority

1: Thousands of illegals being transported across the channel and housed in 4* hotels.

2: Petrol prices through the roof and unexploited known reserves in the North Sea

3: Hundreds of years of coal under our feet, coal fired power stations demolished

4: Fracking abandoned yet we could easily extract sufficient gas for our needs

5: Brexit Done! You’re having a laugh

6: Net zero! The future is frightening

Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera

Guido, thanks for the Muppet Show extract.

I couldn’t agree more.

The story continues. More to follow next week, no doubt.

Last week, I posted the first part of my defence of a constitutional monarchy.

Today’s post concludes that defence of the UK’s system of government, the Queen being our Head of State.

Longest reigning monarch?

Since I wrote the first part of this series, the Queen became one of the world’s longest-serving monarchs.

On June 12, 2022, the Mail on Sunday reported (emphases mine):

The Queen has reached an incredible new milestone after becoming the world’s second longest reigning monarch.

Her Majesty, 96, will overtake Thailand‘s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who reigned for 70 years and 126 days between 1946 and 2016, from today.

Earlier this month, the Queen surpassed Johan II of Liechtenstein, who reigned for 70 years and 91 days, until his death in February 1929

Louis XIV of France remains the longest-reigning monarch, with a 72-year and 110-day reign from 1643 until 1715, while the Queen’s stint on the throne now stands at 70 years and 126 days, equal to King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s.

The milestone comes as Her Majesty celebrated her Platinum Jubilee last week, with four days of parades, street parties, and other events, after officially reaching the milestone on February 6 this year.

But — and it’s a BIG BUT — two days later, on June 14, the Daily Mail posted an article proclaiming, ‘Queen is the world’s longest actively reigning monarch, royal expert claims’:

Although it’s widely reported she holds little interest in breaking records, her astonishing reign would only be beaten in length by King Louis XIV of France.

Known as Louis the Great, the French ruler became king at the tender age of four following the death of his father Louis XIII, and he ruled from 14 May 1643 to 1 September 1715.

According to the record books, only Louis XIV, or ‘The Sun King’, ruled for longer than the Queen.

But royal biographer Hugo Vickers says Her Majesty may be able to lay claim to being the world’s longest actively serving monarch by virtue of the fact the French monarch did not fully ascend the throne when he was aged four.

Although he was crowned King Louis XIV from May 1643, he technically served under his mother Queen Anne’s regency for eight years, owing to his tender age

In a letter sent to the Times, Mr Vickers writes: ‘In Louis XIV’s reign, there was a regency between May 14, 1643, and September 7, 1651, until he reached the age of 13.

‘Hence, while he may have been king the longest, our Queen is unquestionably the longest actively reigning monarch in the world.’

Sour republicanism

Republicans, i.e. anti-monarchists, are a dour lot.

Cromwell had Charles I beheaded and banned Christmas celebrations, so it was a relief when, after England’s Civil War, Charles II ascended the throne in 1660. That period in British history is called the Restoration.

The anniversary of the Restoration is on May 29:

Maypoles, music and gaiety were also banned. The Calvinistic Puritans were the Taliban of their time.

Like the Taliban, they ruled for the people’s ‘own good’:

The article that barrister Francis Hoar cites says, in part:

The seventeenth century Puritans did not impose their austere rules purely for the sake of it … Their banning of Maypoles and Christmas and football was ultimately about top-down, rationalistic social control to the end of spiritual and ethical purity, an attempt to eliminate anything untidy, spontaneous, and in particular to impose their own (extremely unpopular) ideas within the cultural and social vacuum thereby created.

Moving to the present day, in 1977, pundits predicted that few in Britain cared about the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, especially with the Sex Pistols’ caustic God Save the Queen being banned from the airwaves but purchased in record stores such that the single sold out.

Columnist Rod Liddle remembered the mood well. That year, he, too, was caught up in punk and republicanism. On June 5, 2022, he wrote an article for The Sunday Times: ‘As a teenage punk, I sneered at the Queen. Sadly, the music is almost over’:

I enjoyed the Queen’s Silver Jubilee immensely, shouting out horrible things about our monarch on stage with my punk band at a “Stuff the Jubilee” gig in a pleasant suburb of Middlesbrough. We were in a tent, erected with great magnanimity by the organisers slap bang in the middle of the proper, official Silver Jubilee celebration, with its stalls of cakes and beer wagons and plates bearing pictures of her Maj.

It may have been HM’s Silver Jubilee, but 1977 was also the year of punk, even if its impact on the charts was marginal. It is often suggested that punk was a left-wing phenomenon, but in truth it was far from it — even if one or two of the bands, such as the Clash, later proclaimed their left-wing credentials for the benefit of the very liberal hippy music press. In truth, punk at its core was energetically poujadist. It was lower-middle-class kids who were tired of, or bored with, the sclerotic institutions in our country — the big record companies, the civil service, the BBC, the aristocracy and so on.

It was individualistic, not communitarian. It had no great quarrel with capitalism, only with capitalism done badly. It saw Great Britain as stagnating and it wanted change. It had no time for the unions either — it was the unions that boycotted the pressing of the Sex Pistols’ second single, God Save the Queen.

The Queen represented continuity, much as did Jim Callaghan’s hobbled government. We didn’t want that and nor did the newish leader of the opposition [Margaret Thatcher], who was also lower middle class, despised outdated institutions such as the trade unions and the BBC, and was for individualism

As for 2022, with age, Liddle has had a change of heart:

This weekend’s celebrations are very different. Never before have we craved continuity quite as much as we do now, faced with an array of existential threats from which you can take your pick as to which is the most pressing: newly belligerent Russia, China’s quest for world domination, radical Islam, climate change, weird viruses …

Under a lesser monarch our disaffection with the royal institution — and, as a corollary, with our own history as a nation — might have spilt over long before. But she ruled with a dignity, duty and dexterity that precluded such an eventuality.

I wish I’d remembered, while standing on stage in that tent 45 years ago, the words of an old hippy: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Returning to 1977, in a retrospective for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, The Telegraph pointed out that people turned out in the millions to celebrate her Silver Jubilee, proving that republicanism was as unpopular then as it is now:

Elizabeth II has demonstrated that, in fact, the monarchs do possess a power: an unactivated power, one that a partisan, career-politician president would hastily trigger – and divide us – but which the Queen handles judiciously. She uses the authority of her office to carry out and promote public duty. And, refreshingly, she simply gets on with things – no grumbling, no complaint.

When the country celebrated her Silver Jubilee, in 1977, the cynics predicted a washout: what was the relevance of royalty in an age of strikes and national decline, they asked? In the end, one republican rally, on Blackheath, attracted just five people and was cancelled. Millions turned out to celebrate the Queen, with such passion that it surprised even her: I had “no idea”, she told a lady in waiting, that the people valued her so much.

On May 30, 2022, the left-wing New Statesman tried to rally its readers around republicanism, but the magazine’s Twitter thread was unimpressive:

The magazine suggests eco-warrior David Attenborough as someone around whom we could all rally — heaven forfend! Ugh!

There can never be a charismatic republican leader, because that is an oxymoron.

And, no, we can’t have Boris, either. Although he’s probably not much of a republican, when he was a boy, he announced to his family:

he would be “world king” one day. 

On Friday, June 3, some broadcasters picked up booing outside of St Paul’s Cathedral as he and his wife arrived for the Queen’s Service of Thanksgiving:

Boris was booed only on one side of the cathedral’s exterior. This is why the BBC did not pick up the sound on the day, whereas some other networks did. It depended on where their film and sound crews were located:

The culprit was a Frenchman:

I do hope that M. Jacquemin did not have the bad grace to take advantage of Boris’s Special Status scheme, granting — to as many EU citizens as cared to apply — official leave to remain in the United Kingdom post-Brexit.

Finally, let none of us think that doing away with the British monarchy will resolve child poverty — or even pay for the NHS:

All we would get would be President Blair — UGH:

How awful that would be.

Ireland loves our Queen

Given Britain’s fractious relationship over the centuries which caused the Emerald Isle to achieve independence in 1921, one would expect that the Irish would want no further reminders of the monarch.

In another retrospective for the Platinum Jubilee, The Times published a series of historic milestones about the Queen.

Regarding an independent Ireland, the article says:

Northern Ireland has been a key feature of her reign, during which the Troubles have erupted, calmed and simmered. This conflict hit close to home in 1979 with the IRA’s murder of her cousin, Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Time heals many wounds but forgiveness is a choice. So it was, in 2012, she shook the hand of Martin McGuinness, the former IRA man who was then deputy first minister in the province. Queen or not, it was an act of which many would not have been capable.

It came as a direct consequence of her successful state visit to Ireland the year before, the first by a reigning British monarch since independence. The events were examples of where she has perhaps done her greatest work: as a stateswoman.

The Irish were indeed delighted to have the Queen visit in 2011. A 2010 article from the Irish Independent reported that many towns and villages requested that she pay them a visit:

THE British Ambassador to Ireland has revealed he has received dozens of letters from towns and villages across the country inviting Queen Elizabeth to various events.

As speculation grows over a visit by the British monarch, the ambassador Julian King said his government was committed to a visit.

He said he was encouraged by the response among Irish people. Mr King was speaking to reporters in Muckross House during a visit to Killarney, Co Kerry, after accepting an invitation from the chairman of the board of trustees, Marcus Treacy.

Her popularity in Ireland continues. On her Platinum Jubilee weekend, an Irish poll showed that the Queen was more popular than past or present Irish presidents. The Queen scored a 50% approval rating compared to everyone else who scored 40+ per cent or lower.

Unfortunately, this clip from Mark Steyn’s GB News show doesn’t show the poll graphic, but the aforementioned Royal expert Hugo Vickers explained the Queen’s enduring popularity and the hope he has for her successor:

The enduring Commonwealth

The Queen is credited for creating the Commonwealth of Nations affiliated with Britain and/or the Crown.

Any of these nations can pull out of the Commonwealth voluntarily. Neither the Queen nor the British Government can forbid them from doing so.

Australia is once again considering renouncing the Queen as their Head of State. However, we must remember that they have important ties with China that might be persuading them in that direction. The same is happening in the West Indies. Money talks.

Similarly, a nation that has not been part of the British Empire may apply successfully to become a member of the Commonwealth. Rwanda is one such country. It was originally a Belgian trust territory that had been a German colony until the First World War.

A nation can also leave the Commonwealth and rejoin at a later date. The Gambia left in 2013 and rejoined in 2018.

In November 2021, Barbados removed the Queen as its head of state but remains a Commonwealth member.

A Forbes article from December 2021 explains the permutations of this group of nations:

… Queen Elizabeth II currently serves as the Head of State of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

These Queen-led nations are known as “Commonwealth Realms,” which are distinct from the broader 54-nation Commonwealth of nations that have some connection to Great Britain, but do not necessarily have the Queen as Head of State.

The Queen’s role as Head of State is largely ceremonial, and she is represented in each country by a governor-general who carries out the Queen’s day-to-day duties.

In addition to Barbados:

The last country to remove the Queen as Head of State was Mauritius in 1992, and other Caribbean countries that have removed the Queen are Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica, which all removed the Queen in the 1970s.

Participation in the Commonwealth is voluntary, and in response to Barbados’s decision to remove the Queen, Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.”

Monarchy — an eminently sensible way forward

The Revd Marcus Walker, whose thoughts have graced my ‘What’s on Anglican priests’ minds’ series, wrote a thoughtful piece for The Critic this month.

In it, he points to the great strengths of the British monarchy:

He begins by giving us the sour republican narrative:

The State Opening of Parliament last month saw three narratives promulgated at the same time by very different people, all of which (deliberately or not) betray a fundamental lack of understanding of monarchy.

The first, by the Left, saw an attempt to heap ridicule on the rituals of the ceremony: of the procession of the Imperial State Crown, of the uniforms worn by those involved.

The second, by a more centrist kind of commentator, asked whether it was fair or just to have as our Head of State a woman of 96 who is no longer able physically to take part in major ceremonies.

The third, by the pro-Putin end of the Right, saw continued attacks on Prince Charles, whom they seem to have anathematised because he likes the environment. The political categorisation is a tad crude, and I’m sure you’ve seen overt and covert republicans using all of these lines over the last few years.

He explains why those narratives are so misguided:

What’s interesting about these attacks is that they unintentionally highlight the strength of monarchy, not its weakness. The ritual is not meaningless; it unveils layers of history. The Commons slamming the door in the face of Black Rod tells of the struggles between Parliament and the King which have been settled in our constitutional framework of the Crown in Parliament.

The Crown has the history of the nation woven into it, bearing within its frame St Edward the Confessor’s sapphire, the Black Prince’s ruby, the Stuart sapphire, and the Cullinan diamond.

Each tells a little bit of the past that brought us to today. In the chamber we have elected parliamentarians, peers, senior judges, bishops: an interweaving of the different perspectives and professions which collectively set the political culture. This will change over the years as the nation changes, and this too will be good.

Ritual is not empty; it tells a story, and all nations have their rituals and their stories. If you are embarrassed by monarchical ritual, I caution you not to cross the Channel and find yourself in Paris for Bastille Day or Moscow for Victory Day. Losing your monarch does not remove your need for ritual and story. What you lose, though, is an embodiment of that story.

He asks us to consider the life cycle that the monarchy represents. A life cycle is something all of us can understand and appreciate:

The human realities of life, death, love, marriage, childbirth (and betrayal, hurt, and divorce) are at the core of the strength of monarchy. They are experiences we all share.

Monarchy, no matter how set-up in trappings of ritual, is a profoundly human institution. Its rhythms are human, as are its failings …

So why not be rid of the Crown and its rituals? Because they hold the space at the centre of our national life, preventing it from being held by a politician. No Trumps for us, no preening Macrons, no sour-faced Putins, no German Steinmeier with his terrible legacy of appeasing Russia. The centre holds, while the political world swirls around it.

Over this month we will be celebrating the Queen’s personal achievements across her 70-year reign, but we will also be celebrating the institution which she has embodied these many years, and doing so by marking in great state that most natural and human of all things: the passing of time.

I will have more on how society has changed over the past 70 years next week and how the Queen has adapted to those changes during her marvellous reign.

Last week, Mark Steyn had excellent coverage of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos.

Neil Oliver also had a round-up of Davos news on his GB News show on Saturday, May 28, 2022. One of his guests was Sophie Corcoran, who went to the Swiss resort with Rebel News. She then went on to cover the WHO meeting.

Most of the tweets below are hers, although there are also some from Mark Steyn’s correspondent.

Sophie, a British university student and regular GB News commentator, left for Switzerland on Saturday, May 21:

Here’s the Rebel News team and a cartoon insight of the elites at play:

The summit started on Sunday, May 22. Apparently, attendees had to be treble-vaxxed in order to get in:

Employees had to be masked:

One wonders if the masked woman was able to enter the Equality Lounge. Probably not, because she would not have had a badge:

A small anti-WEF protest about the planet took place:

There was also an anti-coronavirus restriction protest:

On a lighter note, Sophie met a Swiss GB News fan:

Cars were heavy on the ground:

The great and the good relied on cars throughout their stay:

I saw the following video on Mark Steyn’s show. It’s short and to the point. The Rebel News reporter, Avi Yemini, was gentle and polite when he asked the New York Times journo to answer a brief question, but she refused. This has been going on for decades at these events, as the quote from David Rockefeller shows:

Day 1 left Sophie singularly unimpressed:

The next day did not change her mind as she saw all the private jets. There was a record number of them this year:

Yes, they are hypocrites:

TalkTV — and former GB News presenter — Tonia Buxton agreed:

This is yet another case of ‘for thee but not for me’:

British television presenter (and GB News guest) Carol McGiffin approved of Sophie’s coverage:

Another security measure was the WEF’s own police force. Interesting:

So many questions — and no answers:

Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the conference proceedings. If only:

Avi Yemini of Rebel News had the good fortune of running into UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mark Carney, a Canadian who used to head the Bank of England. When asked about the huge carbon footprint of those few days, Carney replied jovially, ‘Drop it! Drop it!’ The two ran into each other again the next day:

WEF co-founder and head Klaus Schwab proclaimed, ‘The future is built by us’:

Mark Steyn picked up on that for his show:

Here’s a bit more about Klaus:

Freedom of speech will have to be curtailed, according to this WEF panel:

Twitter, it has been reported, even suspended the account of the person who first tweeted that video.

Natalie Winters from National Pulse said that the woman calling for a curb on freedom of speech used to work for Twitter. Hmm. Interesting, in light of the aforementioned account suspension:

Some journalists ran into trouble:

This video is about one of them, Jack Posobiec:

Here’s his video account of the incident:

Here is Sophie’s coverage of Day 2:

It received this reply:

On Day 3, Sophie visited the shops:

Keeping in mind the aforementioned David Rockefeller quote, here is the Wall Street Journal stand:

On a happier note, she was looking forward to discussing her trip with Neil Oliver on his Saturday evening show:

Bill Gates spoke on Day 3, about — surprise, surprise — preparing for the next pandemic:

He also thought that vaccine passports were useless. That’s easy to say after the fact:

That day, Dr Tedros was re-elected as the head of WHO. We hope that the UK does not sign up to the WHO treaty about global management of the next pandemic:

On a related topic, National Pulse‘s Natalie Winters discovered alleged deletions of certain attendees’ names:

The next video comes from Sav Hernandez for Rebel News. This is one of the few times I’ve agreed with a left-winger:

Meanwhile, Reuters was busy fact-checking independent journalists:

On Mark Steyn’s show, True North journalist Andrew Lawton discussed Metaverse’s Nick Clegg, the one-time Deputy Prime Minister, and his hefty security entourage:

The next day, Lawton reported on the head of Oxfam who spoke about how profitable the pandemic was for some. From what Lawton said, it was not meant as a criticism:

The next video is of Albert Bourla, head of Pfizer, moaning with Klaus Schwab about people who disagreed with coronavirus vaccines:

Meanwhile, Sophie spoke with a Colombian who said that lockdowns were so helpful during the coronavirus crisis that they should be implemented for the climate crisis. He said that the climate could renew itself while people stayed at home:

Who is going to argue with a military officer, though?

Lockdowns only work if people are getting paid to do nothing. Perhaps that’s part of the plan, but where will the money come from?

As Sophie points out, if they’re so concerned about the planet, perhaps Zoom would have been a better vehicle than a private jet, helicopter and limo:

They’re lording it all over the rest of us:

Ironically, this year’s WEF summit theme was regaining public trust:

It seems the WEF lost world leaders’ trust, too, as very few heads of state attended.

It also seems that, to the WEF, everyone else is a problem. The theme of their 2017 summit was populism.

On May 25, the Rebel News team gave their conclusions of the summit. Concerning the reply, I agree that the WEF is what happens when a majority of people lose their religious faith, and more than just the global elites:

Sav Hernandez said that Davos is a microcosm of the world as WEF would like to see it, with the great unwashed (my words) looking in from a very safe distance outside. Another reporter said that he was shocked to see how small the WEF bubble is and how isolated it is from society. Someone also remarked at the shock of WEF attendees in being confronted by independent journalists. 

And they wonder why they have lost the public’s trust:

Rebel News boss Ezra Levant was proud of his team:

He is looking for more talent to join Rebel News:

Then it was time for Sophie Corcoran and Sav Hernandez to travel to Geneva for the WHO assembly, where the new global treaty for pandemic response was discussed. One pandemic, as mentioned above, could be climate change:

They went straight to the WHO upon arrival:

Although there are no mask mandates in Switzerland, isn’t there an irony in the WHO support for masked children during the pandemic. Did this lady wear a mask at the height of the pandemic?

Here’s the thing about the WHO. We will never truly learn what goes on there outside of what we read in mainstream media:

Sophie was delighted to have been able to make the trip from Thurrock, Essex, to the WEF and WHO:

She appeared on Neil Oliver’s show on May 28:

Her segment was excellent.

Oddly enough, although most people do not pay any attention to what the WEF does at Davos, it is possible that what they discuss does have an impact on our daily lives.

What about this experiment in Wales with serving schoolchildren protein-rich bugs for lunch?

Just below is a charming film from the WEF about eating less meat.

Keep in mind that Welsh farmers produce some of the world’s best lamb.

Why then should Welsh schoolchildren be eating locusts? First Minister Mark Drakeford (Labour) has much for which to answer:

But, wait, there’s more in store for children — and not just in Wales:

In conclusion, it’s hard to disagree with Sophie when she explains the WEF post-pandemic slogan:

I fully agree — let’s get back to normal:

In closing, I’ll leave you with Neil Oliver’s excellent opening editorial from last Saturday on Davos. It’s a must-watch and is just under ten minutes long:

The full transcript of his editorical can be found here.

These are his last three paragraphs about our being frogs in an ever warming pot:

Now a handful of frightened billionaires and their enablers seek to make the pot a prison. By the manipulation of fear and the application of propaganda, they want us to be and to remain forever as frightened as they are.

They tell those of us who’ve noticed that we are being silly, that nothing of the sort is happening. This is gaslighting – and that is the gas that’s already lit under the pot. But look at what they’ve done. Having slipped and shouldered their way further and further into our lives, every aspect of our lives, they’ve only made a mess of everything. For all their wealth and their so-called wisdom we’re all about to get poorer, colder and hungrier. Already millions have had their health – physical mental or both – hopelessly compromised. It is increasingly hard not to see this as having been the plan all along. After all, surely no one in authority is stupid enough to have caused all this harm by accident.

As far as I am concerned, the social contract has been broken – not by we the many law-abiding, tax-paying majority, but by the few of the State.

Of course, an analogy only goes so far. We are not frogs. We are human beings. This is our country, our world. In the moment we decide collectively that we have nothing to fear from those who would take advantage of our good nature … in that moment the fear is gone. And somewhere in their hearts, and somewhere in their heads, the billionaires in Davos must know it too.

One can only hope so.

When is the wool going to drop from everyone’s eyes about the WEF?

Their next meeting is likely to be in December.

It is always good to know of broadcasters who balance their programming with another point of view.

In the UK, that broadcaster is GB News.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2022 — the second anniversary of the UK’s lockdown — Mark Steyn interviewed Dr Guy Hatchard, who talked about the new studies emerging from Poland and Germany about the adverse effects of the vaccines:

Dr Hatchard, a physician from New Zealand, lamented that governments and the media were ignoring these studies.

Younger and middle aged people have been dying in larger numbers after taking the vaccines.

In New Zealand, he said that younger men are experiencing cardiac problems after getting the vaccine. However, media reports are minimising the gravity of the phenomenon, dubbing it the ‘Warne effect’ after the 52-year-old legendary cricketer Shane Warne, an Australian who died a few weeks ago from a sudden cardiac event. The media say that the vaccine is not a problem, rather, men of a similar age are suffering from anxiety about having heart problems. That, in my view, is preposterous — and dangerous.

Hatchard says the vaccines do not actually work, but, of course, governments cannot admit that. Furthermore, they have also swept adverse reactions and resulting deaths under the carpet.

Hatchard says that each vaccine dose weakens our natural immune systems. However, he says that pharmaceutical companies are ‘plumbed into’ governments and regulatory agencies as well as media, so we are not getting the full picture.

He says that biotechnology is seen as the future for the economy, therefore, no one in a position of influence will oppose it, beginning with these vaccines. That means, none of the rest of us can even talk about adverse effects or scrutinise them. Hatchard said that he tried to raise his vaccine doubts with the government but they ended their conversation with him.

Hatchard says that 99% of our state of health depends on what we eat and how we live our lives. In other words, vaccines cannot help that. Nor can biotechnology.

He also said that politicians and other elites are ‘playing God’ with the vaccines. They see it, he said, as a reality television show.

On Monday, March 21, Sir Christopher Chope MP (Conservative) appeared on Dan Wootton’s show to talk about the UK’s Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979:

Wootton asked him to confirm that the BBC, Sky News or ITV have not invited him on to discuss adverse effects from vaccines. Chope shook his head.

Chope had been granted an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday, March 2, on vaccine damage payments. Someone put a copy of it on YouTube, but YouTube took it down.

He said that the UK Government have not presented vaccines correctly. He says they should have urged people to get vaccinated because, for most people, they are safe. The Government should have also said that, in case of side effects, citizens would be reimbursed for their illness ‘because they did the right thing’ by being vaccinated. He said those messages are the crux of the 1979 vaccine payments legislation.

The Act is in force today, but no payouts have been issued to those who have fallen ill from the coronavirus vaccines. In fact, the Government has only started processing the 1,000 claims they have received thus far. He noted the Government’s ‘tremendous resistance’ in this matter.

The amount anyone could receive would be around £120,000, which Chope rightly pointed out should be increased to £155,000, as the original sum was last reviewed in 2015. He added that if this involved any other circumstance of injury or death, the payout would have been not only swift but also in the millions of pounds.

He says that this is a big issue for the Government, which chose to indemnify the vaccine manufacturers from the start. The vaccine manufacturers did not want to risk being sued because:

the vaccines hadn’t been tested to the extent that most vaccines are.

But now, it has to face up to the consequences and recognise that there are people, a significant minority of people, who have suffered as a result …

More recently, the message has changed: the vaccines are safe for the majority.

My question is: what about those who are not in the majority? What is being done to help them?

Wootton said that transparency is needed, because Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been talking about a second booster — a fourth shot — being needed sometime later this year. Wootton, who has had coronavirus twice as well as his three shots, said he is unhappy about having a fourth, especially as he is still a young man.

Sir Christopher said he could appreciate people of his own age being given another booster, but not for those who are younger, e.g. Wootton’s age, and certainly not children.

Wootton said that people his age and younger, including children, experience most of the harmful side effects.

Following his adjournment debate (well worth reading), Sir Christopher said that he and another MP went to meet with the Secretary of State (Sajid Javid):

and, frankly, it was a big disappointment.

We had ten minutes and he said that he would look into this issue, that he would ensure that the questions I asked him would receive answers. I should have had those answers already, but I haven’t. 

He was full of platitudes, frankly, about how most people had benefited. That’s not in dispute. But, actually, what we need to do is ensure that people who haven’t benefited from the vaccine are looked after by the State because they did the right thing by the State and, now, the State needs to reciprocate. 

Chope said that at least 2,000 Britons have died following the vaccine and that 500,000 yellow cards have been raised. He has received communications from several people who have had adverse reactions, some of which he discussed in his adjournment debate.

He wants to know why, if coroners have listed the cause of death as the coronavirus vaccine, the Government is hesitating in compensating their families:

What else needs to be proven? …

There have been a whole series of these cases. In a lot of them, they have been in the prime of their life, married with children, breadwinners, with all the consequences which flow from that.

I am glad that Sir Christopher Chope is on the case, so to speak. He’s an old-school Englishman who dots every i and crosses every t in making his principled points.

I wish him every success in his campaign for compensation. This is one case where we can use the word ‘justice’ in a traditional way: compensation where it is due.

That is the least these individuals who acted in good faith deserve.

This week, Mark Steyn visited Ukraine for GB News.

Before we get to those videos, however, here is his broadcast from Thursday, March 10, 2022:

Halfway through is his interview with Harry Kazianis, a defence specialist, who explains why retaliative air strikes are a huge mistake that would lead to World War III. Kazianis said that even if Ukrainian pilots know how to fly certain types of aircraft, that the controls may be laid out differently and the descriptors will be in a foreign language, e.g. Polish. He said that it would take much longer than a day to train Ukrainian pilots to fly them competently. Kazianis ended by pointing out that, in order to be successful, retaliative air strikes would be dependent on Ukrainians destroying Russian combat infrastructure first, which is unlikely, hence his warning about triggering World War III. He concluded:

This is not a video game.

At 47:11, Steyn discusses the oil and gas situation with Thane Gustafson from Georgetown University. He wrote a book called The Bridge, which has an entire chapter devoted to Ukraine. Ukraine was the original supplier of gas in the Soviet Union until it was tapped out. The pipelines are still there. Gustafson says that this has been an underlying source of tension between Ukraine and Russia ever since: ‘a messy divorce’. Russia and some of the ‘stans’ are now members of OPEC, which has decided not to produce more oil in order to keep the price up. Steyn asked about the ‘majors’ pulling out of Russia. Gustafson said that the only company that would be significantly affected would be the French company, Total, which has invested heavily in LNG development in a private sector startup, Novatec. The French do not want to give up this partnership. (Perhaps that’s why Emmanuel Macron has been to see Putin?) Gustafson agreed with Kazianis in that the situation is dangerous and unstable.

Incredibly, Mark Steyn began broadcasting from Ukraine on Tuesday, March 15, Day 20 of the conflict. One side of his family, long gone, came from Odessa on the south coast. Steyn went to a border town near Hungary — in the region of Trans-Carpathia — where he stayed for three days. In this video he explains from his hotel how many people from Kyiv are there. One woman from Kyiv is actually cooking at the establishment. It’s pretty mind blowing:

He tells us about Trans-Carpathia, which he says is the crossroads of history. He shows a beer tap of a Ukrainian beer which is no longer available because Chernihiv, the city where it’s made, has been reduced to rubble. He then goes out on the streets to speak with two Ukrainian men, one of whom translates for Steyn. They tell him that some men in rural districts have been taking home-brewed alcoholic drinks out to the Russian troops. When the troops get drunk and fall asleep, the Ukrainians steal their weapons.

Back at the hotel, Steyn introduces us to Janos, who runs the hotel bar. He shows Steyn a local wine. Janos describes it as ‘vinegar’ and Steyn says ‘wine’. This is significant because the Ukrainian government had banned alcohol consumption at the beginning of the conflict. March 15, the day of the broadcast, was the first day alcohol became legal again. Janos probably didn’t want any trouble with the law, hence his use of the word ‘vinegar’.

After the commercial break, John O’Sullivan, one of Margaret Thatcher’s speechwriters goes on air to give a geopolitical view of what is happening between Ukraine and Russia. At one point he says that Putin is:

a nasty son of a bitch.

In the next segment Steyn discusses the exodus that Ukrainians have made from cities under attack. He says that he has met people from all over Ukraine just in the hotel itself. He tells us about the lady who is running the hotel. Amazingly, she has just escaped from Lviv. The cook has just come in from another city in Ukraine. From that, it would seem that the men who had those roles previously must have gone off to war, and these newcomers are temporary replacements.

After that, Steyn talks with a Polish man who is an authority on the Donbas region. The man is speaking from Norway. Steyn asked him how well the Russians were doing in Donbas. He thinks that the Russian strategy is to surround cities in the east and the south coast. He also said that it is likely that Putin will send in more troops, but probably not right away. It could be in two weeks or even two months:

I’m afraid that this war is going to continue. 

The man had been in Odessa two days before. The port city has always had close links with Russia. However, from what he heard from people there is that they want to stay in Ukraine. He said that he had also travelled elsewhere in the country. Each town has its own defence force, so they are prepared to fight. He said that people have told him they have a duty to stay put and fight for their freedom. He said that he had also heard many anecdotes in the past few days about the cruelty of Russian soldiers.

In the final segment, a Ukrainian journalist from Odessa tells Steyn that if Putin ‘loses it’, he will unleash a massacre on the city, which will serve only to strengthen Ukrainian resolve. Odessa’s port, Steyn says, is still operating. Its exports go to the Middle East and North Africa. The journalist said that those cities that have been taken over thus far were not prepared for the invasion. Therefore, everyone else is prepared now, so the Russians will have less success.

Steyn’s broadcasts from Ukraine continued on March 16:

He said that in Chernihiv, where the aforementioned beer used to be made until Russians destroyed it, troops massacred ten people who were in a queue for bread. This was the day when the theatre in Mariupol was destroyed, with children inside. (When you see aerial photos of the theatre, you see a word painted on the pavement in front and at the rear of the theatre. That word is ‘children’.)

Steyn then introduces us to the woman from Lviv who is running the hotel where he is staying. Before leaving Lviv, the lady told her 13-year-old son to make his way to Poland, then get to Germany where he would find refuge. Understandably, he cried. In the end, he did what his mother asked. She put him in touch with people along the way so that he could communicate by phone with them for the next stage of his journey. He did end up in Germany and Steyn showed us a clip of him on television there.

How did this happen? The woman’s sister is a television presenter in Ukraine. She got in touch with contacts in Germany, hence the boy’s appearance on a German channel. Thanks to his aunt, he has also been on Ukrainian television. That was a few years ago, when he conducted an interview of his own at the age of nine. He had taken a broadcasting course for children. We see a clip of the interview. The child has a future in broadcasting for sure. He was incredibly professional and poised.

Britain’s Lt Gen Jonathon Riley was the next interviewee, speaking from his home. There is a large Russian naval presence off Odessa at present. So far, Riley said, it has not been used. He said that there are other military formations that we have not yet seen. He said that destroying Odessa and Kyiv would be important for Russia. Riley said that it was unusual for Russian generals to be killed; four had met their death at that point. He said they have had to go to the front line in order to get their troops to fight. Morale is bad. Ukrainian troops currently outnumber the Russians.

Steyn then talked with an English teacher from Kyiv. It took her three days to reach the town Steyn was in. She has no plans to leave Ukraine and is looking forward to returning to Kyiv, where her friends are taking care of her cat. Pets figure hugely in Steyn’s interviews with Ukrainians; the mother of the 13-year-old said that she made arrangements for her pets to be cared for in her absence. More of these stories followed on Thursday.

Steyn then spoke with Dennis, who is also from Kyiv. He got a call from his mother early in the morning when the conflict started. He didn’t believe her, so checked online for confirmation. He did not expect the conflict because:

this is 2022.

Dennis is in the quarrying business and exports Ukrainian granite to Asia. His quarry is in one of the hot spots. He tried work in the early days of the conflict but got too distracted.

Lord Black — Conrad Black — was the last guest. He said that the Americans might send sophisticated drones to Ukraine, which he thinks would be most helpful in attacking Russian vehicles. Black does not foresee nuclear war.

The last video is from Thursday, March 17, day 22 of the conflict:

Steyn opened with thoughts on the four — possibly five — Russian generals who have been killed so far. That is either 20 per cent or 25 per cent of all of Russia’s generals:

That is extraordinary.

He talks about the thousands of troops killed so far, which also struck him as extraordinary.

Putin is out to terrorise Ukrainians, but it isn’t working. Steyn says that these attacks are only causing people to display more

cold hard contempt

for Putin.

Steyn then went out on the streets of the town where he is staying. One couple who live near Kyiv were on holiday when the conflict started. How inconvenient! Their children are staying with family. Her father is at home with four dogs. She says that it is important to stay in Ukraine. She does not know how long the conflict will last.

While the woman is talking, the street is abuzz with people. One woman nonchalantly carries a pastry box back home. Everyone is walking around, shopping, chatting. Then again, that part of Ukraine is not under attack, but one must admire their sang froid nonetheless.

Inna Sovsun, a former Ukrainian education minister talks to Steyn from her home. She is positive about the conflict so far, except for the air strikes, such as the one over the theatre in Mariupol. They discussed how unusual it is for so many civilian targets to be attacked. She said there is a big morale problem. Russian soldiers take all the alcohol they can find off supermarket shelves so that they can drink. Steyn said that he heard Russian soldiers are literally shooting themselves in the foot so they can be sent home injured. Inna Sovsun confirmed that story.

Steyn returned to the street where he was before and pointed out how normal everything seemed. However, he said that most of the people were not from that town, rather it was the place they are living in for the time being, having left their homes elsewhere. He talked to a man from Kyiv who is there with his family. They arrived two weeks ago. Incredibly upbeat, he said he is looking forward to returning to Kyiv to restore their house once the conflict is over. He thinks that Russia will be finished by the time this is over. He ended with this:

We are freedom country. We can live without Putin and Russia. 

From his hotel, Steyn told us about the Ukrainian who was driving down an isolated street when he saw a Russian armoured vehicle. He stopped the car, got out and put his hands up. The Russians shot him dead.

Steyn then interviewed an Orthodox priest, Joel Sterling Brown, an American who was assigned to a parish in Ukraine and married a local girl. He has been married and living the Ukrainian life for several years now. He loves it. He is currently aiding in the refugee effort. It seems he has turned his church hall into a refugee centre. He takes in 300 to 500 people a day. He said they spend the night and leave the next day to go to their final destination. They come from all over Ukraine. They tell him they’ll return home one day:

We’ll be back when we win.

He said he will stay, because, if he leaves, what message would it send about his faith?

Back on the street, Steyn interviewed a young woman who was with her mother and sister. She said that relatives are minding her flat in another city — along with her cat, even though they have brought their dogs with them. She and her sister said that they were not Russian and wanted Ukraine to stay as it is. She said:

Okay, Crimea is gone, but just leave the rest of us alive.

Mark Steyn said on Tuesday that he hoped to be able to see more of the country, because it might be his only opportunity to do so. Even if he didn’t get to Odessa, where his ancestors were from, at least he got to see Ukraine and meet a lot of the people there.

I admire the Ukrainians. The West has a lot to learn from watching these displaced persons who are acting so normally.

They are handling their plight perfectly.

No one is crying.

Everyone is upbeat.

May God continue to watch over them.

On Sunday, December 19, 2021, the Revd Will Pearson-Gee gave a heartfelt extemporaneous sermon at his church in Buckingham, England, part of the Diocese of Oxford.

Last weekend, it was unclear whether some sort of Yuletide lockdown would be implemented in England, possibly including churches. In 2020, churches were closed for months. The Government deemed them to be ‘non-essential services’. The Church of England hierarchy were complicit in that decision.

If lockdown were reimposed the way it had been last year, Mr Pearson-Gee clearly stated that he would not be playing that game again at Buckingham Parish Church.

This short must-see video went viral:

High Churchman Calvin Robinson responded:

I saw it on Wednesday, December 22, on GB News, thanks to Mark Steyn who was filling in for Nigel Farage. Steyn’s introduction could be a sermon, too, as it directs us to the transcendent, the living God, something the Church of England should have done last year:

Steyn also interviewed Pearson-Gee (from 12:21 to 20:00). I highly recommend watching it:

The vicar said that Zoom worked well in the early months of the pandemic, but it was only ever a temporary solution.

Once churches were allowed to reopen, he said that the elderly spearheaded a renewed fellowship in the congregation.

He graciously did not criticise the Archbishop of Canterbury for last year’s spiritual failings in the Church of England, saying that Justin Welby has a very hard job to do.

He also said that he knew Christians in Iraq who risked their lives going to worship, but they took that risk because their faith was so important:

If only we felt the same way.

Pearson-Gee has a lot going on at Buckingham Parish Church, including three different Sunday services — something to suit everyone’s liturgical tastes:

His daughter helps him out with Twitter:

Was Will Pearson-Gee always a devout Christian?

No.

Incredibly, he returned to the Church after his first wife and son were killed in a car accident. Mark Steyn mentioned this after his interview with the vicar ended.

Such a tragic event would have put most people off church and God forever, but Pearson-Gee saw things differently.

In March 2014, he discussed his testimony with Premier Christianity. I would highly recommend that unbelievers and agnostics read about his journey of faith which led him to seek ordination.

Excerpts follow, emphases in purple mine:

It was back in 1996 that my world fell apart. My wife, Anna, had gone out with our two children, Eleanor (two) and Jamie (three). It was a really hot summer’s day in July and she took them down to Bournemouth to the seaside.

On the way back (for reasons that we’ll never know) her car crossed over the centre white line on a narrow bit of a road, and was hit head on by an articulated lorry carrying 40 tonnes of very large rocks. Anna and Jamie, who were on the same side of the car, were crushed and killed instantly. My daughter Eleanor, quite amazingly, was able to be removed from the car wreckage by a Royal Marine Officer travelling in the car behind. She was literally unmarked, which I’ve always thought was a little bit of a miracle considering the combined collision was about 90 miles an hour. But she survived. Obviously it was a devastating shock for me, but I had my little girl to look after.

I was confronted by their bodies in the mortuary some hours later. They were in quite a mess and it took the mortician a while to make them presentable for identification. They pulled back the white sheets and I ranted, and I screamed, and I wept. Then I looked at them, and I thought, ‘This cannot be the end.’ There was so much life, particularly in my little boy ? he was such a handful. I just couldn’t believe it was the end of him and so I thought, ‘Where have they gone? Where are they now?’

At the time I was definitely a ‘nominal’ Christian. I believed there was some higher power, some greater being beyond myself that I could call upon and might listen to me, but I really had no idea about God’s character or whether he cared about me

Then my eye was drawn to a very simple crucifix on the wall of the mortuary. It was a sign of the Christian faith to which I had been exposed since I was a child. It’s like a penny dropped, and it suddenly became not just a cross, but a sign of hope for me. I then realised that if there was all this talk about resurrection and life after death, I needed to find out more about it. I managed to meet up with a Christian, also with my local vicar, and there was a Catholic priest who came into my life who had real expertise in helping people recover from child death. It was this cumulative effect that opened my eyes to the fact my wife and child were somewhere better, they were in heaven, and therefore if I wanted to see them again I needed to get myself right with God. That was a long process in itself.

This is why Pearson-Gee is not angry with God. It is an interesting perspective:

People sometimes ask me if I felt like blaming God. During my early time of grief, through counselling groups, I came across a lot of other people who were suffering and mainly they just blamed God. But to me it didn’t make sense that God had just got out of bed one morning and said, ‘Who am I going to strike down today?’Where do you draw the line with him intervening and stopping things going on? In a way, you’d be expecting him to upturn the laws of nature every single nanosecond of the day around the world, and then what kind of world would we be living in? So I don’t blame God.

I think God permitted that crash to take place, but ‘in all things God works for the good’, and I’ve really clung on to that. … in a funny sort of way the fact it has happened has brought me huge blessingsI’ve got a lovely wife, I’ve got three more kids including another son, I’ve got the most wonderful faith, my wife is a Christian. We know that whatever the world throws at us now, we have this wonderful eternal life waiting for us. Life is good. I know it’s not always going to be great and there will be trials and tribulations, but following Jesus is just such an amazing adventure.

Pearson-Gee wrote a brief autobiography for the Buckingham Parish Church website, which is also interesting (emphases mine):

I arrived in Buckingham just in time for Easter 2010 having moved from Oxford where I did my theological training (at Wycliffe Hall) and served my curacy (at St Andrew’s Church).

I enjoyed a full career in the Army serving all over the world as an infantry officer in the Coldstream Guards before leaving to join my brother’s printing company where I spent 6 happy years.  During this time I started to go to a newly planted church which showed me something that I had never seen before: an Anglican church pulsating with life and growing in size and depth.  Intrigued, I became more and more involved in its incredibly exciting mission and began to sense that ordination might be what God wanted me to pursue.  I think I was the most surprised of all when I arrived at Wycliffe Hall to start my training!

He mentioned the fatal car accident, adding:

That dreadful event really did change my life in more ways that I could have imagined and illustrates the truth in Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  My story surrounding this tragedy is here if you’d like to read it – if you do, I hope you find it an encouragement. Also, here is an article in Christianity Magazine that tells the story.

I am now married to Lucia and between us we have 4 children – Eleanor from my first marriage – and 3 of our own. I must say that I feel a little like Job who lost so much but was then restored by the Lord and had even more. We even called one of our daughters Jemima (as did Job).

Jemima — Mimi — helps her father with Twitter.

This is what motivates Pearson-Gee’s ministry:

I suppose what really motivates me in my ministry is sharing the good news that is Jesus Christ. It was this same, unchanging good news that pulled me out of the mire and gave me so much hope after my tragedy. I am passionate about making this good news accessible to everyone and will do all I can to make the Church (that is the people of God – Christians) welcoming to those who are – like I was once – lost.

That’s so moving, especially as we approach Christmas.

————————————————————————————–

Normally, I would have ended the post there.

However, the next few posts will involve Christmas readings, so I will close with two secular news items.

The first concerns Northern Ireland, which will reimpose coronavirus restrictions on December 27. Sammy Wilson MP (DUP) is none too happy but turned his disappointment into a little take on ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’:

“Hark the herald angels ping,” the East Antrim MP tweeted.

“Robin Swann won’t let us do a thing. No more parties, work at home. In the streets you cannot roam

“Omni is far worse than the delta curse. Stay at home. Or they’ll be far worse to come.”

It upset a number of politicians in Northern Ireland, who branded him a ‘moronic fool’:

The second item is Neil Oliver’s take on our covidian Christmas this year, wrapping lockdown and economic ruin into ‘Twas the Night before Christmas and Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Wry, witty and pointed, it’s worth watching:

With that — the spiritual and the secular — may I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas. May you be blessed despite State restrictions.

Somehow, a majority of the world’s population — and 99% of the media-political class — find it entirely believable that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election but equally incredulous that election fraud could have taken place in 2020.

Why that is I do not know.

All I can say is that the vitriol heaped upon President Trump after his huge rally in Washington DC on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 was meant equally for his supporters: Deplorables, Irredeemables, as Hillary Clinton labelled them four and a half years ago.

Last Friday, most of the world rejoiced as the American president was banned permanently from Twitter as well as all the other social media on which he had a presence.

Trump has been universally accused of inciting violence, when his final tweets — which Twitter deleted on Wednesday — urged his base to remain peaceful and to return home.

Twitter said they deleted those so that he would not foment further violence. Okay, sure.

It never occurred to Trump loathers that the invasion of the Capitol building was an infiltration of Trump supporters by what we in Europe would call a ‘bloc’, intended to cause mayhem and destruction. We know they exist, because they disrupt peaceful demonstrations here, most notably those of the ‘yellow jackets’, France’s gilets jaunes.

Instead of offering more of my own opinions on the matter, I am borrowing from other sources.

A comment on one of Guido Fawkes’s articles describes concisely what took place last Wednesday. Hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters gathered in the US capital. Unfortunately, Guido’s comment system has no permalinks, but here is the comment, which begins with a complaint against a conservative pundit, Daniel Hannan (emphases mine):

Very disappointed in Daniel Hannan accusing POTUS Donald Trump of treason in the Telegraph .

Trump was not responsible for the mayhem at the US Capitol building. He called for a peaceful demonstration demanding free and fair elections and told people to go home when things got out of hand.

Utah BLM activist John Sullivan was filmed inside the Capitol building encouraging others and persuading the police to leave their posts. Before entering the building he is heard saying ” Lets burn this ****** down “ He organised an Antifa protest near the US Capitol on Wed 6th January and tweeted about BLM buses in DC. He is known for taking part in riots , making threats of violence and criminal mischief and took part in a riot which resulted in the shooting of a motorist ..

Police arrested him on Friday. He was subsequently released. UPDATE — January 14: Gateway Pundit posted a video of Sullivan — Jayden X — bragging he had disguised himself as a Trump supporter on January 6; he was arrested in Utah on January 14, and Gateway Pundit has a photo of his mug shot, courtesy of Tooele County Sheriff’s Office.

Here is the rest of the comment:

It was inevitable that the Democrats would use their Antifa and BLM people to infiltrate the Trump protest and cause trouble for which the Trump supporters would be blamed. They hated Trump because he stated openly that he intended to expose the corruption within government and ‘ drain the swamp’. Unfortunately the corruption was far deeper than even he realised.

This was one of Trump’s final tweets, which Twitter quickly suppressed:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ErFdZKRVEAEUNKS?format=jpg&name=900x900

It is most unfortunate that, despite hundreds of affidavits and video evidence showing election interference and fraud, the president of the United States was unable to get legal ‘standing’ in his own re-election. The Supreme Court had backed away weeks earlier.

On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence backed away, rewarded later with an elbow bump and a commemorative coin from Nancy Pelosi. Only a handful of Republican legislators objected to the Electoral College vote tally in the disputed states.

Yes, it’s so much easier to appease the Democrats than fight for the truth.

The Democrats enjoy protests, just not truly largely peaceful ones by Trump supporters. The only trouble was at the Capitol.

Last summer’s fiery, but ‘mostly peaceful’, protests resulted in a new plaza in Washington, DC: B L M Plaza.

Last week’s rally resulted in universal condemnation by the world’s main leaders, including Boris Johnson, who called it ‘completely wrong’ (see around the 29-minute mark here).

Our Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, a Labour MP, sent an empathetic letter to his US counterpart, Nancy Pelosi:

It reads as follows (H/T Guido Fawkes):

Dear Nancy

I just wanted to express my shock at last night’s events in the Capitol, and to offer you my solidarity against such unprovoked violence.

Seeing your office trashed in that way and its occupation by one of the rioters was particularly outrageous. I am just so relieved you were not hurt, although I can only imagine how violated you must feel after having a protester at your desk.

I hope none of your personal effects were damaged, particularly the lovely picture you so proudly showed me of Churchill’s address to the joint session of US Congress in 1941, which was witnessed by your father.

Suffice to say, you are in my thoughts and prayers – and I look forward to welcoming you to the UK later this year.

With warmest wishes

Lindsay
Sir Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons

I hope that everyone will be happy with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They did not mind last year’s protests. They want to transform America totally, including renaming military bases.

On January 6, Mark Steyn appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss the hypocrisy that Democrats display. Kathy Gyngell, editor of Conservative Woman, had a good article on what he had to say, ‘Sensational Mark Steyn: This IS who we are’.

The Capitol building, apparently, is known as the People’s House. I’d always thought that name was reserved for the White House, but what do I know, having been educated in the US so many decades ago?

Steyn said:

Congress has an approval rating that falls somewhere between Isis and child pornographers. Pundits and politicians can wax mawkish about “the people’s house” but you’d be hard-pressed to find one in a thousand citizens who’s ever used those words in a non-contemptuous sense – and most of the other 999 would assume that the phrase referred to some long-term care facility Andrew Cuomo moves the old folks into for his Covid express checkout.

He touched on the hypocrisy when he implied that it’s okay if one group protests but not another:

People are surprised when a tactic that’s proved effective by one group of people, is taken up by another group . . .

People say “this is not who we are”. Have you not turned on the TV since Memorial Day? This is exactly who we are . . .

Nancy Pelosi told us she didn’t care about old statues. Mitch McConnell said he didn’t care about the names of military bases. But suddenly this old building is important now?

Last June, CNN’s Chris Cuomo — New York State governor Andrew Cuomo’s brother — said, when covering the urban protests, ‘Citizens have no duty to check their outrage’.

Tucker Carlson’s editorial on Friday included Chris Cuomo’s soundbite in a review of last summer’s riots, in which innocent people lost their businesses because their premises were set on fire.

Carlson made it clear that he opposes all violent protests but pointed out that last year’s protests were viewed as acceptable yet this year’s — with minor damage and only in the Capitol building — were not. Again, I am sure the Trump supporters were infiltrated.

You’ll see Mark Steyn after Tucker shares his thoughts. Worth watching, as it’s only around six minutes long:

Something to think about.

I’ll have more on this later in the week.

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