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Now that there is plenty of tennis to enjoy on television, it’s the time to tuck into strawberries and cream.

Last week, I bought a punnet of strawberries at our local Tesco (£2 for 400g). I recommend these wholeheartedly. I haven’t tasted such a sweet, flavoursome strawberry in many years.

My English readers should look for the punnet with a label that reads ‘Kentish Supersweet Strawberries’ containing the variety Malling™ Centenary. (Malling is a rural district of Kent.) I put the variety in bold, because I tried another ‘Kentish Supersweet’ variety a few days later, and it was not very good.

Paul Mansfield is the grower. Well done, Mr Mansfield. You made our Pimm’s even more delightful.

Those who favour another option for their berries might want to add a dash of balsamic vinegar and finely sliced basil leaves, both of which are a perfect complement to strawberries. We had a fruit salad with those ingredients 18 years ago in Cannes at La Potinière. The restaurateur mixed the berries and basil with a tablespoon of light olive oil, a few finely sliced black olives, a scant teaspoon of sugar and cracked black pepper on top. He served it in a parfait glass with a long spoon. It sounds like an improbable combination, but it was excellent.

Here is Tesco’s recommendation, along similar lines:

Incidentally, based on customer feedback, The Grocer has named Tesco Britain’s Favourite Supermarket for 2017:

No doubt that is partly because Tesco are committed to reducing food waste and giving food to charity.

They also think of urban dwellers who would like to grow their own produce:

The accompanying article says, in part:

Now a new unique and super-productive indoor tomato plant is being launched by Tesco aimed at helping people living in urban areas without gardens.

The mini tomato plant has been naturally developed over the last five years by produce experts who have bred together varieties to come up with one that is small, compact and most importantly very productive.

By following the care instructions the small, but powerful plants can each produce up to 150 delicious tomatoes with minimal fuss.

A great idea. It looks as if the plants are small enough to be able to take home on public transport with minimal fuss, too. Perfect for summer.

This is not a plug for Tesco, but I will admit to shopping there regularly for nearly 30 years.

Wow.

After a two-week break which was largely free from US news, I return to find that things across the pond are as crazy as ever.

First, a reminder that fake news — then known as yellow journalism — existed a century ago:

The New York World — long since defunct — is the press organ that supposedly came up with the eponymous World Series for baseball. Ironically, Joseph Pulitzer — of the esteemed journalism prize — was the paper’s publisher. The World was a leading national ‘voice’ of the Democratic Party. Enough said.

Now onto the week’s news.

Anyone who is sensitive or easily triggered is advised to avoid some of the material in this post, particularly the first few news items. That said, this entry ends on a positive note.

White supremacy ends with white abortion

I really hope the following article is yellow journalism and nothing more but, with all the madness going on, it is difficult to be sure.

An online magazine, Medusa, has an article called ‘Beyond Pro-Choice: The Solution to White Supremacy is White Abortion’. I hope Tucker Carlson is able to get the author, Nicole Valentine, on his Fox News show.

In response, alternative media journalist and author Jack Posobiec tweeted:

Valentine says that white women are not doing enough:

White women: it is time to do your part! Your white children reinforce the white supremacist society that benefits you. If you claim to be progressive, and yet willingly birth white children by your own choice, you are a hypocrite. White women should be encouraged to abort their white children, and to use their freed-up time and resources to assist women of color who have no other choice but to raise their children. Women of color are in need of financial and humanitarian resources. As this white supremacist society continues to imprison black fathers, women of color are forced to stand alone in their plight to raise the next generation of Americans.

But why is that? It is because the welfare state has benefited single mothers since the late 1960s, discouraging traditional marriage and the family. For nearly 50 years, women have been ‘married’ to the government, not a (or the) father of their children.

Valentine continues:

How about adopting children of color who have lost their parents to the destructive white supremacist society that you have enabled and encouraged?

However, that, too, has been criticised both in the United States and the United Kingdom, especially when a white couple does so.

Valentine concludes:

Of course, the best choice is to act preventatively to ensure that white children are not at risk of being born. But in circumstances in which termination and generation are the options, it is best to take advantage of your right to choose, and abort in favor of assisting women of color.

This is her brief autobiography located beneath the comments (photo supplied):

Nicole Valentine

Worship Leader for the Progressive Women’s Christian Ministry at my college, intersectional feminist, dedicated to Jesus and the progressive movement as a whole! Also an advocate for AAPI rights as a woman of color! Jesus, women, and progress: basically my life! White men need not contact.

Not a Christian attitude.

For those wondering what intersectional feminism means, USA Today explains:

If feminism is advocating for women’s rights and equality between the sexes, intersectional feminism is the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination.

A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is disadvantaged by her gender and her race. A Latina lesbian experiences discrimination because of her ethnicity, her gender and her sexual orientation.

The United States has had a plethora of laws on state and federal books, some of which date back 50+ years, that clearly prohibit racial, sexual as well as age discrimination and, in some cases, favour positive discrimination.

White professors should ‘get out the way’

An article on the American Mathematical Society blog says that whites should step aside from teaching. It should be noted that:

The opinions expressed on this blog are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the American Mathematical Society.

In May 2017, mathematician Piper Harron wrote ‘Get Out The Way’ for the AMS blog. (She wrote a follow-up in June on her own website.) She opened her AMS article with this:

If you are a white cis man (meaning you identify as male and you were assigned male at birth) you almost certainly should resign from your position of power. That’s right, please quit. Too difficult? Well, as a first step, at least get off your hiring committee, your curriculum committee, and make sure you’re replaced by a woman of color or trans person. Don’t have any in your department? HOW SHOCKING.

Remember that you live in a world where people don’t succeed in a vacuum; most success happens on the backs of others who did not consent. You have no idea how successful you would have been if you were still you, but with an additional marginalization (not white, or not male, or not cis gender, or with a disability, etc).

In other words, echoing POTUS 44: ‘You didn’t build this’.

Also:

Remember having white cis women run the world is no kind of solution.

This is because — and she supplies an accompanying chart — 63% of white males and 53% of white females support President Donald Trump.

It is highly unlikely that (m)any whites teaching in a college or university support Donald Trump. Not long ago, I met with a group of professors (white and Hispanic, male and female). None of them supports Trump.

Next?

More calls for president’s assassination — one arrest

As we know, the calls for President Trump to be assassinated have been incessant.

What that man and his family have to endure every day for no good reason is beyond our ken. Please continue to pray for their safety.

With a rewrite of a Shakespearean play which recently ran in Central Park about a Trump assassination, Kathy Griffin’s sick video of his ‘decapitation’ and the attempt on Republican congressman Steve Scalise’s and others’ lives, Johnny Depp decided to ‘joke’ at the Glastonbury music and cinema festival in the west of England.

USA Today reports:

Speaking onstage Thursday at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England, Depp stepped into controversy with jokes aimed at President Trump that addressed presidential assassination.

“Can we bring Trump here?” Depp asked the crowd at the festival.

“I think he needs help,” Depp said, according to video posted online. “This is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible. But I like that you’re all a part of it. When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” …

The Associated Press reported that Depp then added it’s “been a while, and maybe it’s time.”

Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Depp’s representative did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment about Depp’s jokes.

For Depp fans currently out of the loop:

The actor has been in the headlines this year following his contentious divorce from ex-wife Amber Heard and a lawsuit with his former business managers. Depp sued the Management Group in January for more than $25 million, charging fraud and negligence.

Sad.

Meanwhile, an Edwardsville, Illinois, man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill President Trump. The Belleville News-Democrat reports:

Joseph Lynn Pickett was charged with threatening the president of the United States on June 15.

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Vincent Pescitelli said Pickett threatened to “take the life of, to kidnap, and to inflict bodily harm” against Trump on Facebook, according to a criminal complaint filed with the charges. The complaint included screenshots of Pickett’s Facebook posts.

Breaking 911 says:

A judge has ordered Pickett be held without bail.

Both articles have his Facebook comments. Fortunately — perhaps, ‘finally’ — the Secret Service reacted.

Like Depp, Pickett also had his personal problems. The Belleville News-Democrat tells us (emphases mine below):

Until about six to eight months ago, Pickett had been working at Lowe’s in Granite City until he was fired for making threats to a coworker, according to the complaint.

Two Lowe’s employees contacted the St. Louis chapter of the U.S. Secret Service and told them that Pickett had threatening posts on his Facebook page. They also said he had bragged about having weapons.

A financial affadavit submitted to the court says Pickett has not been employed since February. He got by with food stamps and financial support from his father.

Pickett will be detained until his trial, according to court documents. A judge ruled that Pickett should be detained because the court couldn’t ensure the safety of other people in the community and because of “mental instability.”

Good on the Lowe’s employees.

Would the Secret Service had done anything otherwise?

One wonders if the Secret Service would have paid Depp a visit if he still lived in the US.

Trump remembers Scalise at Congressional Picnic

On Thursday, June 22, the Trumps hosted their first Congressional Picnic at the White House, which included Ivanka ‘Vanilla’ (see here and here) Trump and her daughter:

The video below is of President Trump’s remarks:

In his short speech, Trump remembered Steve Scalise, in hospital for the foreseeable future, after the shooting on Wednesday, June 14:

On June 22, the Free Beacon reported that 30 Republican congressmen have been threatened or attacked since the beginning of May. There is no excuse for that. Few arrests have been made.

These are the latest two attacks (language alert, emphases in purple mine):

June 22: An Ohio man was arrested for leaving a voicemail threatening the life and family of Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio).

“We’re coming to get every goddamn one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter. Huh? Or your wife. Or even you,” the man said.

The same day, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz played a threatening voicemail he had received on “Fox & Friends.”

“I suggest you prepare for the battle motherf**ker, and the apocalypse,” the caller yelled. “Because we are going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamppost.”

Jeffrey Epstein update

On June 22, federal prosecutors broke their decade-long silence regarding the soft treatment billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — a close friend of Billary Clinton — received after his intimate involvement with teenage girls.

The Palm Beach Post reports (emphases mine):

Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.

The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work.

Hoping to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to throw out the lawsuit that accuses the government of violating the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Villafana said she tried to keep Epstein’s victims informed about the investigation and the eventual plea deal. But, she said, negotiations were sensitive and neither Epstein, his victims nor their attorneys made it easy.

For instance, she said, most of the young women were extremely reluctant — or simply refused — to testify against Epstein, who had paid them to give him sexually-charged massages at his mansion …

Jane Doe 1, who is also suing the government, agreed to testify. But Villafana said one victim wouldn’t have been enough to convict Epstein.

Rather than let Epstein use his considerable influence to evade prosecution, she and top officials at the U.S. Justice Department crafted the plea deal.

In exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and soliciting minors to engage in prostitution in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Epstein was not charged with any federal counts.

The article says that Epstein’s legal team will file a response at the end of July.

New US ambassador to the UK

In more neutral news, President Trump has appointed a new ambassador to the UK who succeeds Matthew Barzun, an Obama bundler and National Finance Chair for his 2012 presidential campaign.

It would have been nice if Trump had promoted a career diplomat to this plum position, however, the president chose to go down the same route of selecting a big campaign donor.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is the new man in London:

Bloomberg reports that, in 2016:

Johnson backed Trump when Bush dropped out of the race. He gave $349,000 to Trump Victory, which split donations between Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties. The committee reported receiving the bulk of the money ($249,000) on Nov. 10, 2016, two days after Trump’s election, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Perhaps Trump thinks that Johnson will be a true ally who can help smooth over the cracks in the US/UK relationship which no one can call ‘special’ right now:

Johnson will step into challenges that have arisen in the six months since Trump took office, notably how to stabilize the U.S.-U.K. relationship in the post-Brexit world and how to win over Britons who have shown open hostility toward the U.S. president.

A planned state visit to the U.K. by Trump still hasn’t been formally scheduled, and no reference to it was made by Queen Elizabeth II during her speech to parliament this week — an omission observers noted as a departure from tradition in advance of state visits.

I hope my fellow Britons will be nice to him. I wish him all the best in his assignment.

I also hope that Mr Johnson enjoys lamb, because its frequency at many British dinners deeply disappointed Mr Barzun, who clearly prefers beef.

And finally …

The notional White House Anon who surfaced briefly on 4chan/pol/ made a second — and, perhaps, final — appearance on June 22 to say:

I’m here to let you know that sometime between right now as I type this, or no later than around 2 pm tomorrow, you will either read about, listen to, or watch a news story. You will probably see it first on Twitter from a few well known conservative (right wing) people. It will break on cable news shortly after. I cannot go in to specifics. I know most of you all support President Trump, so have no worries on the matter. This information will completely shift the narrative away from him and any of his staff. You will all be very happy and excited about this as many of us have and will too. Look forward to many happenings next week. Things are about to shift in a direction Democrats are going to hate. It will be lovely. Big happenings, not just silly things like “Russia” hoax or “Yet another terrorist attack has happened”. Most of you all have been waiting for a happening like this for a year or more, and people will be talking about this for years to come. Stay thirsty my friends. Promises made, promises kept.

I really hope Anon is legit. With only two appearances, it was hard to tell. Even FBI Anon was considered suspect after several lengthy postings, even though it seems he was right on the money.

In closing, The_Donald‘s contributors remind us that June 23 is Britain’s first anniversary of Brexit! Thanks, chaps!

More Americans are walking away from Big Media, whether its mainstream news or printed periodicals.

Those Americans are going online and reading or viewing alternative media, which, at least, seem to be doing a good job of investigation.

This is one small example of why traditional media outlets are losing their grip:

Now a Harvard study of media outlets covering President Donald Trump has proven Americans are correct in their perceptions of bias.

The study, ‘News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days’, shows the extent of anti-Trump coverage.

American coverage

This chart gives us a summary of the findings from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy:

It is also worth remembering the 2016 campaign and the many journalists who were in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The Democrats held a few get-togethers for them, which the Podesta WikiLeaks revealed:

European media

Three European media sources were also included: Britain’s Financial Times (FT) and the BBC as well as Germany’s ARD.

Of the European sources, ARD was the worst offender, giving Trump astoundingly negative coverage 98% of the time.

The FT came next with 84% negative coverage. The BBC’s output was negative 74% of the time.

Basic findings

A summary of and excerpts from the study follow. Emphases mine below.

Trump was the star of the news during his first 100 days.

In the United States:

Trump was the topic of 41 percent of all news stories—three times the usual amount.[15] It was also the case that Trump did most of the talking (see Figure 1). He was the featured speaker in nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of his coverage. Members of the administration, including his press secretary, accounted for 11 percent of the sound bites. Other Republicans, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, accounted for 4 percent. Altogether, Republicans, inside and outside the administration, accounted for 80 percent of what newsmakers said about the Trump presidency.

Trump supporters were unhappy about the lack of coverage given to violent leftist protests against the president. The Left accused them of being cry babies. However, was Trump’s base right or wrong? They were right. With regard to news coverage:

Participants in anti-Trump protests and demonstrations accounted for … 3 percent.

On the other hand, television coverage did not give the Russian hacking scandal as much time as many of us might have thought:

Immigration was the most heavily covered topic, accounting for 17 percent of Trump’s coverage.[19] Health care ranked second (12 percent), followed by the terrorism threat (9 percent), and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election (6 percent). Presidential appointments, global trade, Trump’s family and personal life, and the economy were the other topics that received 4 percent or more of the coverage.

Even though they loathe the president, cable news channels know he’s good for their ratings:

News ratings were slumping until Trump entered the arena.  Said one network executive, “[Trump] may not be good for America, but [he’s] damn good for [us].”[18]

In Europe, media coverage focussed on international issues but not on Russia:

Although, like their American counterparts, immigration was at the top of the agenda, they gave relatively more space to international trade, military, and foreign policy issues, a reflection of the extent to which Europe is affected by U.S. policies in these areas. On the other hand, Russia’s interference in the U.S. election received considerably less attention in the European media than in the U.S. media.[1]

The three European outlets also discussed Trump’s fitness for office much more than their American counterparts did:

Only 3 percent of Trump’s U.S. coverage explicitly explored the issue of Trump’s fitness for office. European journalists were less restrained with the exception of BBC journalists, who are governed by impartiality rules that prohibit such reporting.[21] Journalists at ARD, Germany’s main public broadcasting outlet, are not governed by the same rules, and Trump’s suitability for the presidency was ARD’s leading topic in January, accounting for a full fifth (20 percent) of its Trump coverage. ARD stayed on the issue in its February coverage, when it consumed 18 percent of its Trump coverage. In March and April, Trump’s fitness for office got less attention from ARD, but it nonetheless accounted for about 10 percent of ARD’s coverage. Even that reduced amount exceeded the level of any of our seven U.S. outlets in any month. And ARD’s journalists were unequivocal in their judgment—98 percent of their evaluations of Trump’s fitness for office were negative, only 2 percent were positive.

Historical perspective

The Harvard study provides history about news coverage of American presidents.

Until the early 1960s, television news gave equal time to stories about Congress and the president.

In 1963, television news expanded to half-hour broadcasts on each of the three networks (CBS, ABC and NBC). This new type of news programme facilitated the hiring of the correspondents and camera crews needed to produce picture-driven news.

This resulted in an increased coverage of the president:

who, in any case, was easier than Congress to capture on camera. Newspapers followed suit and, ever since, the president has received more coverage in the national press than all 535 members of Congress combined.[12] The White House’s dominance has been such that, on national television, the president typically accounts for roughly one-eighth of all news coverage.[13]

The study points out that the president is not only the focus of media but also their target:

Although journalists are accused of having a liberal bias, their real bias is a preference for the negative.[22] News reporting turned sour during the Vietnam and Watergate era and has stayed that way.[23] Journalists’ incentives, everything from getting their stories on the air to acquiring a reputation as a hard-hitting reporter, encourage journalists to focus on what’s wrong with politicians rather than what’s right.[24]

Furthermore, the traditional honeymoon period no longer exists:

That era is now decades in the past. Today’s presidents can expect rough treatment at the hands of the press, and Donald Trump is no exception (see Figure 4). Of the past four presidents, only Barack Obama received favorable coverage during his first 100 days, after which the press reverted to form. During his second 100 days, Obama’s coverage was 57 percent negative to 43 percent positive.[26]

Even so, television news coverage of Trump hit a new low in negativity:

Of news reports with a clear tone, negative reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent. Trump’s coverage was unsparing. In no week did the coverage drop below 70 percent negative and it reached 90 percent negative at its peakThe best period for Trump was week 12 of his presidency, when he ordered a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the Assad regime’s use of nerve gas on civilians. That week, his coverage divided 70 percent negative to 30 percent positive. Trump’s worst periods were weeks 3 and 4 (a combined 87 percent negative) when federal judges struck down his first executive order banning Muslim immigrants, and weeks 9 and 10 (a combined 88 percent negative) when the House of Representatives was struggling without success to muster the votes to pass a “repeal and replace” health care bill.

No wonder Trump is unhappy with the media

When Trump rails against the media, he has fact on his side:

Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was not merely negative in overall terms. It was unfavorable on every dimension. There was not a single major topic where Trump’s coverage was more positive than negative

Trump haters have been spending too much time watching and reading Big Media. Wake up, folks! The Harvard study has news for you:

Research has found that familiarity with a claim increases the likelihood people will believe it, whether it’s true or not. The more they hear of something, the more likely they are to believe it.[34]

Here is the Harvard breakdown of print and television media negativity:

Trump’s attacks on the press have been aimed at what he calls the “mainstream media.” Six of the seven U.S. outlets in our study—CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Postare among those he’s attacked by name. All six portrayed Trump’s first 100 days in highly unfavorable termsCNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting—negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks. Trump’s coverage on CBS also exceeded the 90 percent mark. Trump’s coverage exceeded the 80 percent level in The New York Times (87 percent negative) and The Washington Post (83 percent negative). The Wall Street Journal came in below that level (70 percent negative), a difference largely attributable to the Journal’s more frequent and more favorable economic coverage.

There was no relief.

Looking at this another way:

Studies of earlier presidents found nothing comparable to the level of unfavorable coverage afforded Trump. Should it continue, it would exceed even that received by Bill Clinton. There was not a single quarter during any year of Clinton’s presidency where his positive coverage exceeded his negative coverage, a dubious record no president before or since has matched.[29] Trump can’t top that string of bad news but he could take it to a new level. During his first 100 days, Clinton’s coverage was 3-to-2 negative over positive.[30] Trump’s first 100 days were 4-to-1 negative over positive.

Interestingly:

Media failing the American people

Although this was not its only conclusion, the study said that the media need to step up and report more about Americans:

Journalists would also do well to spend less time in Washington and more time in places where policy intersects with people’s lives. If they had done so during the presidential campaign, they would not have missed the story that keyed Trump’s victory—the fading of the American Dream for millions of ordinary people. Nor do all such narratives have to be a tale of woe. America at the moment is a divided society in some respects, but it’s not a broken society and the divisions in Washington are deeper than those beyond the Beltway.

True. This is what a Michigan supporter had to say on Friday, May 19. He doesn’t mention the media, but he has a positive message for the president and his fellow supporters:

The man interviewed said that he supported Donald Trump from the beginning. He canvassed door-to-door for him. He got verbally attacked by … family and friends. People on whose doors he knocked sometimes physically assaulted him.

Big Media bear much of the blame for that gentleman’s abuse.

They don’t care about that man. They don’t care about Americans. They do not care one iota about you.

This is what lies ahead, less than a month from now:

The media will fuel the flames then not report on it, just as they ignored the riots earlier this year.

Tune out. Cancel the newspaper subscription. You can read the obituaries online.

If you want to know what’s really happening at the White House, follow the Twitter feed.

Bruce Bawer — an American who has lived in Europe for nearly two decades — wrote an excellent essay for PJ Media, ‘What Happened in France?’

It offers a post-mortem of Emmanuel Macron’s victory on Sunday, May 7, 2017 and explains how it happened.

With an upcoming parliamentary election taking place in Britain on Thursday, June 8, it seems apposite to look at voting patterns in the two countries.

Before I excerpt Bawer’s editorial, I, too, have noticed a certain voting behaviour in France and the UK, two countries I know well. I live in the UK and see that voters are reluctant not so much to go to the polls as they are to actually vote in a way that reverses globalism. People in other parts of Europe, e.g. France, are similarly skittish.

The hive mind is a powerful thing in Europe. The globalists created it through politically correct thinking and make jolly good use of it via the media and pollsters.

Two recent British shockers were David Cameron’s victory in May 2015 and the referendum vote for Brexit in 2016. Both results surprised everyone. This is because we were under constant onslaught by print and broadcast media to vote against the Conservatives and Brexit.

Even now that Theresa May is the occupant of No. 10, politics remains a touchy subject. As I’ve said many times before, it’s not something I discuss much with people I know, even with fellow Conservatives, some of whom are quite wet — squishy, for my American readers — about Brexit. They think voters should have gone for Remain last June.

Howeverand this is something Bruce Bawer did not mention in his pieceEuropeans do not have a well developed online alternative media universe comprising independent journalists, citizen journalists and political fora. This, to me, is the principal difference between the UK and Europe.

Bawer’s article is well worth reading and passing along to friends. I’ll try to excerpt as little as possible, because it probably took him a long time to write.

Americans are probably still scratching their heads over 2017 election results, not only in France but in the Netherlands. Both resulted in preserving a self-destructive status quo, one that increases terror and diminishes national identity.

Bawer says that Europeans feel a collective guilt about their former colonies and political movements. Therefore, they feel the need for perpetual atonement (emphases mine below):

One way of trying to answer it is to look at countries one by one. For example, the Brits and French feel guilty about their imperial histories, and hence find it difficult to rein in the descendants of subject peoples. The Germans feel guilty about their Nazi past – and the Swedes feel guilty about cozying up to Nazis – and thus feel compelled to lay out the welcome mat for, well, just about anybody. The Dutch, similarly, are intensely aware that during the Nazi occupation they helped ship off a larger percentage of their Jews to the death camps than any other Western European country, and feel a deep need to atone.

Then there’s postmodernism:

According to postmodern thinking, no culture is better than any other – and it’s racist to say otherwise. No, scratch that – other cultures are, in fact, better than Western culture. Whites, by definition, are oppressors, imperialists, and colonialists, while “people of color” are victims.

We are in denial about terrorist attacks:

The plainer the truth got, in fact, the more fiercely they resisted it. And as skilled propagandists began to represent Muslims as the mother of all victim groups, many Westerners were quick to buy into it all …

But – and this is a fact that some of us are thoroughly incapable of identifying with, and thus almost thoroughly incapable of graspingsome people don’t want to know the truth. And if they do know the truth, they want to un-know it.

These are not intellectuals or socio-political elites, but ordinary people of various income groups and educational levels:

I’m talking about people who, in everyday life, come across as thoroughly good and decent – but who, when push comes to shove, just don’t want to rock the boat. That’s a lot of people. Maybe most. People who are nice so long as it’s easy to be nice

There are kind people who, the minute there’s any hint of trouble – which means, way before the death-camp round-up begins – prefer to lie low. Their highest value isn’t truth or virtue or beauty or even long-term security for them and their families but the ability to buy another day without major trouble.

You’d think they’d be able to look forward at least some distance into the future and dwell on that grim prospect. Able to see their children, their grandchildren, and so forth, living under sharia law. If, indeed, lucky to be living at all.

But I think it needs to be recognized that for some people, seeing that far into the future is just beyond their intellectual grasp. Or beyond what they dare to envision

Bawer posits that a lot of these people can see what is actually happening to Europe but they are ‘terrified’ to do anything about it, even at the ballot box.

This is why a Conservative victory in 2015 and Brexit victory in 2016 were so significant for Britain. I had hoped our continental neighbours would follow suit this year, but, alas, it was not meant to be. The Germans are likely to see Angela Merkel continue her chancellorship later this year.

Bawer says that Europeans are now so cowed into submission, even a private vote can’t help:

You might think that, once in the voting booth, these people would be able – and not just able but eager, desperate even – to stand up against the powers above them that have turned their countries upside down and assert their power as citizens. But everything around them has conspired all their lives to render them incapable of feeling that power – or, perhaps, has rendered them incapable of feeling that they have the moral right to exercise that power in the way that their gut is begging them to.

That still, quiet voice in their heads, which I would describe as a voice of plain reason and common sense, is up against the resounding voices of all the higher-ups shouting in unison – the leading voices of politics, business, the academia, the media, and so on – that they’ve been bred from infancy to respect and take seriously. To, indeed, obey

So it is that even in a secret ballot, it takes European voters a remarkable amount of nerve to resist the thunderous chorus of voices from above urging them to vote against their own interests; it feels like nothing less than an act of treason to heed the meek little voices in their own heads begging them to do the opposite – to do what’s actually best for themselves and their loved ones.

Bawer nails it perfectly in his next sentence:

They’ve been psychologically manipulated to the point where they truly believe, on some level, at least in some Orwellian doublethink kind of way, that acting in clear defense of their own existence, their own culture, their own values, and their own posterity, is an act of ugly prejudice.

Yes — that’s it in a nutshell.

I see it here in the elderly — people old enough to know better — and I see it in the middle-aged and the young.

Europeans must wake up and vote for what is right and good.

I sincerely hope that Britain will do so again on June 8.

Over the past few weeks I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

In today’s entry, still from Chapter 4, we look at Dearmer’s explanation of how liturgy came to be better defined and codified from the 7th century to the Reformation.

In Dearmer’s time, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer was the only Anglican book in use for communal worship, administering Baptism and Holy Communion, along with special rites such as Confirmation, Matrimony and Ordination.

In the 7th century, books were handwritten and paper was expensive. This situation existed until the printing press eight centuries later. Even then, the price of books was still prohibitive until the 19th century.

From the 7th century until the Reformation, liturgical rites had to be handwritten. Therefore, priests and deacons had small books with only their prayers and incantations. Furthermore, there were books for each type of liturgy:

the Divine Service, the Sacraments, and the Occasional Services, these latter including all the services used upon occasions such as Marriage, Ordination, and the Reconciliation of Penitents.

The Divine Service involved three different books, again, one for each role (e.g. priest, deacon) in that liturgy: the Psalter, the Legend and the Antiphoner. The Legend had the Scripture readings, lives of the saints and sermons. The Antiphoner had the musical accompaniments to the service.

The ancient Anglo-Saxon service for Holy Communion entailed a Missal, a Gospel book and an Epistle book. The Normans had a Missal but their other books were a Gradual and a Troper. Dearmer explains:

The Gradual contained the portions of the Psalter sung between the Epistle and the Gospel, and also those sung for the Introit and at other places in the Mass … The Troper consisted of interpolations into the chant: these additions to the traditional music became very large, but after the twelfth century little except the Sequences (sung after the Gradual and Alleluya, between the Epistle and Gospel) was left of them.

In the late Middle Ages — 13th century — different rites in Britain emerged in the cathedral cities and surrounding areas:

From the 13th century till the Reformation the use of Salisbury Cathedral was followed in the greater part of England (excluding Hereford which had a use of its own, and parts of the North which followed the York use), and also throughout the mainland of Scotland and in parts of Ireland and Wales.

The books used largely remained the same, although another book emerged for the Divine Service, e.g. liturgies which do not feature Communion, such as what we know today as Morning Prayer. The new book was called a Collectar. It had all the Collects (the emphasis is on the first syllable, as in ‘college’)  to be used on particular Sundays and feast days.

Collects are short petitioning prayers. In Morning Prayer, for example, three come at the end of the service. In the Communion service, one Collect is said after the introductory prayers, just before the Epistle is read.

Archbishop Cranmer, who first developed the first Book of Common Prayer, translated the collects from Latin. Dearmer tells us these had been in use for centuries and were in the priest’s liturgy book, the Sacramentary:

The majority of our Prayer Book collects are from three Old Roman Sacramentaries — the Leonine (6th century), the Gelasian (early 8th century), and the Gregorian (c. 800).

For centuries, Communion services used to have an Introit, a Collect and a Gradual. These were particular to specific Sundays and feasts. The Introit (Introitum means ‘entrance’ in Latin) is now called the Entrance Antiphon in Catholic Masses. The Gradual (possibly from gradus, the priest’s mounting the steps to the altar for the Gospel reading) was sung between the Epistle and the Gospel. Today’s liturgies no longer refer to a Gradual. In Protestant services, it is the Psalm for the day. Catholics call it the Responsorial Psalm.

By the late Middle Ages, the church service situation was such that it began to make more sense for these various books to be combined into one. A variety of Masses and other services took place at churches in cities. On the other hand, rural areas had fewer clergy. From this emerged the Breviary, still used in monasteries today, for daily services other than Communion; Missals for Communion services and three books for occasional rites.

The Antiphoner, for the sung parts, was still separate. From it, the hymnal emerged.

Dearmer’s book explains that the Reformation and the printing press in the mid-15th century brought an opportunity to make Protestant worship more communal. Instead of a priest and deacon reciting most of the prayers in Latin, people could worship in their own language and recite more prayers together.

It is also worth remembering that the Bible had been translated into English in the late 14th century, so the pathway was clear for church services to go the same route.

Until then, Latin was used because it was the lingua franca of Europe. All the educated people could speak, write and read it. It was the language of not only the Church but the professions (e.g. law) and diplomacy. People across Europe, including Britain, still had so many local and regional dialects, that it was sometimes difficult for citizens of a nation to understand someone else from another region in their own homeland:

and therefore it is no wonder that learned people wrote in Latin, which was for them a kind of Esperanto amid the babel of tongues.

Dearmer takes us to 16th century England, which led to the proliferation of the English Bible but also the introduction of the English prayer book (emphases mine):

It was therefore possible at the beginning of the 16th century not only to print the services, but to print them in an English which Englishmen all over the country could understand. Before the middle of that century the Bible had been printed in English, and thus became universally accessible and intelligible ; and just before the middle year— in 1549 — the First English Prayer Book was printed. It was no longer necessary to have but short extracts from the Bible in Divine Service; for the whole Bible — now a comparatively cheap book — could be used side by side with the Prayer Book; and these two volumes would supply every one’s need. Formerly the lay folk had only been able to follow the services in little simplified books of their own, and even these were an expensive luxury; but now every one could follow the services word for word, and those who knew their letters could read them in their own books. So the old books that we have described were further condensed into two, the Bible and the Prayer Book.

The last major revision of the Book of Common Prayer was done in 1662. Smaller revisions have been made since then. Most Anglicans probably did not notice much difference. During Dearmer’s time:

The last Lambeth Conference (1908) decided not to recommend the Unction of the Sick, but to allow its use, expressing a hope that the other apostolic act for helping the sick, the Laying on of Hands, might be used with prayers for the restoration of health. Those who are inclined to press the importance of Unction should remember that in the New Testament, and for long afterwards, the Laying on of Hands was used at least as much as Unction for helping the sick. It is therefore rightly to be regarded as an alternative form of the Sacrament of Healing; just as we administer Confirmation by the Laying on of Hands, whereas in the Eastern Church, and in most of the West, Confirmation is administered by anointing.

Dearmer points out that the various hymnals used in Anglican churches have denominational authorisation. To them have been added a few newer hymns from each generation so that the tradition remains, with continuing relevance:

they still keep us in touch with the thought and feeling of our own age, besides having the happy result of enabling Christians of other denominations, Protestant and Catholic, to contribute to our services. Closely allied to hymns are the modern anthems, which in cathedral and collegiate churches are collected in Anthem-books, thus adding a fourth to the volumes required for Divine Service each day. Hymns and anthems together place every form of sacred vocal music at the service of the Church. Nor are they unauthorized additions: the existence of these collections of hymns and anthems which provide Anglicanism with so precious an element of freedom has been sanctioned by authority ever since the 16th century (see pp. 65, 96, 97, 136), and the latter are mentioned in the twice repeated rubric, “In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.”

Nowadays, it is increasingly difficult to find an Anglican church that offers any type of 1662 BCP service.

A new prayerbook superseded it in 1984 and Common Worship replaced it at the turn of the Millennium.

Although Common Worship’s traditional language liturgies are very close to that of the BCP, nothing compares to the 1662 book. One really feels as if one is worshipping with the many generations that went before us, praising Father, Son and Holy Ghost:

Thus are the needs of each generation brought within the scope of our common intercession and devotion.

I couldn’t agree more.

Next time: how the Reformation and royalty influenced the Prayer Book

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50 to begin the process of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union.

May signed the letter on March 28 and a British official presented it to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, in Brussels the following day around 12:30 p.m. BST.

This tweet by Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh is dated March 28, 4:15 p.m.:

Tusk takes receipt of the letter on March 29:

Nigel Farage, former party leader of UKIP who pressed hard for the 2016 referendum, gave an interview earlier that day:

He also discussed it on his talk radio programme in London:

Contents of May’s letter

Bloomberg is one of the few news sites to have the full text of Theresa May’s six-page letter to Donald Tusk.

The first four paragraphs follow (emphases mine):

Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

Article 50

The European edition of Politico has the full text of Article 50, which is brief and comprised of five provisions. Wikipedia explains it further.

These are the salient items:

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

This means that the UK is still part of the EU until the exit process is complete.

However, we are no longer allowed to participate in European Council discussions. In fact, it was interesting that the English text ‘European Commission’ has been removed from signage in Brussels. It has been replaced with another European language, with the French words underneath.

From March 29 onwards, news reports will refer to 27 EU nations instead of 28.

The UK is in an EU limbo until our exit. We must still pay monies to the EU and are subject to EU law.

Article 50 means simply that the exit process begins.

The Telegraph has more. Briefly:

A withdrawal agreement, covering financial liabilities, citizens’ rights and the border in Ireland, will need to be accepted by a majority of 72 per cent of the EU’s remaining 27 member states.

The agreement would then need to be approved by the European parliament, voting by a simple majority.

The motion makes clear that the UK will remain bound by the rules of the EU and that trade talks with third party countries are not allowed for as long as it remains a member.

The irony of Article 50

There is a certain irony behind Article 50.

It was written by a Briton between 2002 and 2003 to apply to EU countries that could become dictatorships.

Veteran diplomat John Kerr, now Lord Kerr of Kinlochard — a cross-bench peer — told Politico that he never envisaged the UK invoking it. Lord Kerr:

drafted the text that sets out the procedure for leaving the European Union as part of an effort to draw up an EU constitutional treaty in the early 2000s.

That initiative was scuppered by referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands but some elements ended up in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009.

One of the sections pasted across became Article 50

“I don’t feel guilty about inventing the mechanism. I feel very sad about the U.K. using it,” Kerr told POLITICO. “I didn’t think that the United Kingdom would use it.”

When he was writing the text 14 or 15 years ago:

the rise of Austrian far-right leader Jörg Haider was a big worry for mainstream EU leaders and some southern European EU members had returned to democracy only in recent decades. Kerr imagined that the exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending that country’s right to vote on EU decisions.

“It seemed to me very likely that a dictatorial regime would then, in high dudgeon, want to storm out. And to have a procedure for storming out seemed to be quite a sensible thing to do — to avoid the legal chaos of going with no agreement,” Kerr said.

He calls attention to the fifth provision of Article 50, the possibility of reversing a decision to leave the EU:

In other words, during the two-year negotiating period set out in the text, Britain could decide not to leave after all and simply remain an EU member. However, he says he cannot imagine how politics in Britain would allow such a U-turn.

Kerr summed up the exit process simply:

The process outlined in the text is, he noted, “about divorce … about paying the bills, settling one’s commitments, dealing with acquired rights, thinking about the pensions. It’s not an article about the future relationship.”

What is the timetable?

The BBC has a full timetable from now through March 2019. Of course, it is not written in stone, but it is the Brexit objective.

On Thursday, March 30, Brexit Secretary David Davis presented the Great Repeal Bill to Parliament, which will come into force as soon as the UK leaves the EU, i.e. in 2019 (all being well).

On Friday, March 31, Donald Tusk will publish negotiation guidelines that the EU will use.

In April, the 27 remaining EU members will adopt negotiation guidelines at the EU summit.

When Parliament opens again in the Spring, the Great Repeal Bill will be announced in the opening statement.

Michel Barnier, representing the EU, will begin participating in negotiation talks with the UK by late May or early June.

Late this year, Parliament will review the Great Repeal Bill in greater detail. If laws must be passed in certain areas to close any gaps, this will be done by mid-2018.

By the end of 2017, it is expected that Michel Barnier will have concluded the first round of negotiations. He expects to complete the negotiating process by September 2018.

At the beginning of 2019, both the UK and the EU will hold separate votes in Parliament and the EU Council, respectively, on the exit plan.

It is expected that the UK will leave the EU sometime in March 2019.

Impact of negotiations

The next 18 months will require careful negotiation to ensure that the UK is not adversely affected.

Attention to preserving human rights — including those for EU residents living and working in Britain as well as British expatriates living in Europe — will be essential.

Also essential will be negotiations concerning EU-sensitive industries such as farming and fishing.

The Telegraph and the BBC both have good Brexit Q&A on these topics and more (see halfway through).

Trade on food will also be negotiated. Currently, UK supermarkets sell a lot of EU fruit, vegetables and dairy products. We also export comestibles to the EU.

Banking and educational institutions are also weighing up their options. On March 30, Lloyd’s of London confirmed they will be opening a branch in Brussels. Oxford and/or Cambridge might open satellite universities in EU countries.

—————————————————————————————-

I’ll have more on Brexit soon and what we might expect to see over the coming months.

In Britain, Mothering Sunday — Mother’s Day — is always Laetare Sunday.

This year, mums are shortchanged, as our clocks change to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Laetare Sunday is the joyful Sunday of Lent. Some traditional Anglican and Catholic clergy wear a pink chasuble. The faithful look towards the promise of the Resurrection on this day.

The traditional Epistle read on this day was from Galatians 4 and included this verse (Gal. 4:26):

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Hence the ancient tradition called Mothering Sunday, when people made the journey to their ‘mother’ church — often a cathedral but sometimes a large parish church — for worship. Afterward, some congregations ‘clipped’ the church, which involved worshippers gathering outside, forming a ring around the church and holding hands to embrace it.

The notion of the church as spiritual mother began to extend to earthly mothers, which is how Mothering Sunday developed.

Find out more in my post from 2012:

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

I wish all my British readers who are mothers a very happy day.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, Britain’s singing legend Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Dame Vera is as iconic as the Queen.

Incredibly, on March 17, Decca Records released her latest album, Vera Lynn 100: We’ll Meet Again. She is thought to be the first centenarian to have a new album on sale.

The London Evening Standard reports (emphases mine below):

The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer’s 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

New re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals will feature on the music release …

The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing – a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track.

Dame Vera recorded the songs with young British talent, including Alfie Boe and The Ayoub Sisters.

A photo of her with a Happy Birthday message was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover, also the name of one of her greatest wartime hits. Others, too numerous to mention, included We’ll Meet Again and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square:

Dame Vera still lives at home in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that she participated in a Skype call from home with students from her old school, Brampton Primary School in East Ham, east London. The students serenaded her with a selection of her most famous songs.

The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity held a daytime party on top of the white cliffs of Dover. It was very windy that day, but:

veterans, re-enactors and the Singing Sweethearts serenaded Dame Vera and sang happy birthday.

A military-style salute and flag-waving carried on regardless, all in support of her children’s charity but also celebrating the 100th birthday of our own Forces’ Sweetheart.

The Evening Standard reported:

Dame Vera said: “It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.

“As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys – the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

“I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion.”

BBC Radio 2 asked her for her advice on ageing:

… she said: “Be active to your full capabilities.

“Keep interested, read books, watch television and try to keep in touch with life and what people are doing, seeing and enjoying.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 2, she added: “While you can do that, I hope you will continue.”

Finally! Someone who defends television! Thank you, Dame Vera!

Dame Vera gave an exclusive newspaper interview to The Sun:

“I try not to worry too much about anything any more, and enjoy every day as it comes,” she says.

“There is always something we can be concerned about. The secret is to rise above it and do whatever we can to make the world a better place.”

As for the young Second World War troops who loved her and her music:

she is still full of praise for the true Brits who gave up everything to bring peace to future generations.

She adds: “The war was a dark and difficult time but it was quite easy to keep faith when I saw for myself the sacrifices being made by the boys on the front line and everyone on the Home Front.

“The community spirit and collective sense of patriotism saw us all through.”

Also:

“The white cliffs were the last thing they saw before they left for war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw to tell them they were home.”

The Sun reminds us of why Dame Vera was The Forces’ Sweetheart:

To borrow from the familiar lyrics, millions of men and women didn’t have the chance to meet their loved ones again some sunny day.

But at least Vera gave them hope and comfort in the darkness and it explains why she ranks her people’s title of Forces Sweetheart as highly as any official accolade.

“I consider it to be one of my greatest achievements,” she affirms. “I feel very honoured that people regard me in this way.

“I am exceptionally fond of all the brave servicemen and women who have worked, and continue to work, to keep us safe and secure, and protect our values.”

The BBC has a great retrospective, complete with family photos, of Dame Vera’s life and career. Highlights follow:

Vera Welch was born on 20 March 1917 in East Ham in London. Neither of her parents were involved in showbusiness – her father Bertram was a plumber and mother Annie a dressmaker. But by the age of seven, the talented young Vera was singing in working men’s clubs – an audience she described as “great” – and soon became the family’s main breadwinner.

This is my favourite:

When she turned 11, Vera took her grandmother’s maiden name of Lynn as a stage name. She had no formal singing lessons as a child – and just one as an adult. She said: “I thought I could extend my range but when the teacher heard me sing she said ‘I cannot train that voice, it’s not a natural voice’. So I said: ‘Well thank you very much madam’, and left.”

I do wonder what that teacher thought later! You know what they say: ‘Those who can’t do …’

Dame Vera started singing professionally at the age of 15 and released her first single at the age of 19:

By the age of 22 she had sold more than a million records, bought her parents a house and herself a car.

During the Second World War, she went on tour:

it was during World War Two that her reputation was made. She frequently sang to the troops at morale-boosting concerts, becoming known to posterity as The Forces’ Sweetheart.

She married Harry Lewis in 1941. They had a daughter, Virginia. Harry died in 1998. Mother and daughter are still very close.

Dame Vera appeared on radio shows. Below, she is the lady in the fur coat:

Dame Vera’s career and fame continued after the war ended:

She was appointed OBE in 1969, made a Dame in 1975, and a Companion of Honour in 2016. Her wartime fame meant she was never far from the television screens …

She enjoyed meeting new talent:

She made the acquaintance of glam rock band Slade in 1973, when they gathered round a piano at the Melody Maker Awards.

Her records continue to sell very well and she:

holds the record for being the oldest living artist to achieve a top 20 UK album.

Over the years, Dame Vera has participated in many Second World War commemorative events.

In closing, this is what the Queen wrote Dame Vera on her 100th birthday:

You cheered and uplifted us all in the War and after the War, and I am sure that this evening the blue birds of Dover will be flying over to wish you a happy anniversary, Elizabeth R.

Many happy returns, Dame Vera Lynn!

Thankfully, after decades of polite conservative posturing, times are changing.

The old roll-over-and-die conservative commentary is giving way to the Millennial Independent rhetoric.

The word ‘Independent’ there is important. Most Millennials with significant online presence are dissatisfied with both Republican and Democratic parties in the US. Here in the UK, they eschew the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

I shy away from using the name alt-right to describe this group of bloggers and video makers, because I’m not happy with the negative characteristics the media apply to these people who are fed up with the Left.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that a white nationalist, Richard Spencer, coined the term in 2008, however, it was Professor Paul Gottfried, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, who actually invented the label ‘alternative right’.

In August 2016, he wrote a piece for Front Page Magazine on the subject. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Last week I was reminded by a call from Associated Press that I had invented the term “Alternative Right.” When I asked about how I had accomplished that, the woman on the other end of the phone referred to a speech I had given in November 2008 in which I urged the creation of an “Alternative Right.” The same caller said that I was considered the “godfather” of what had become Altright, something that the Democratic presidential candidate would be denouncing later in the week. Thereupon I tried to explain in what modest ways I may have inspired the movement that Hillary was about to go after (namely, in a quadrennial ritual in presidential races in which the Democratic candidate accuses her GOP rival of being the second coming of Adolf Hitler).

I pointed out that Altright authors, some of whom I knew, shared my revulsion for the neoconservatives and deplored their influence on the American Right. I also noted that Altright publicists believed that modern liberal democracies had become dangerously fixated on promoting equality; and I’ve made this observation repeatedly in my books …

The professor, rightly, states that he does not consider himself part of the alt-right. However, he says that he shares some of their views. In any event:

They are a breath of fresh air for anyone like me who occasionally forces himself to look at the centrist bilge, ostentatious beating up on Confederate symbols and the shilling for multinational corporations that I encounter on the respectable (non-right) Right. I need hardly add that next to the Never Trump crew laboring directly or indirectly to elect “crooked Hillary” as our next president, my Altright acquaintances are exemplary defenders of the American republic.

Alt-right commentators are not racist or sexist. The_Donald is the best alt-right forum and has many commenters who are Latino/Hispanic and some who are black. Gays and women participate. Everyone gets on well there and, of particular interest, are their members from other countries around the world.

Therefore, when the Southern Poverty Law Center — hardly credible because of their consistent left-wing stances — tags the alt-right with being like Richard Spencer, it’s merely an Alinsky tactic to discredit these Millennials who reject their socio-political outlook. Hardly surprising, then.

Gottfried concludes:

On a more optimistic note: the beginnings of an effective post-neoconservative Right may be taking shape in the form of the Trump movement. At least some of the neoconservative camp has split off from the center to join with the Old Right, younger West Coast Straussians, paleolibertarians and the Altright to support Trump’s candidacy. This is the most promising attempt to create a post-neoconservative Right that I have seen since being exiled from the conservative movement eons ago. I’ve no idea whether the center will hold in what is still a loose, ad hoc alliance. But I welcome its emergence in the last few months. Often in politics, it’s the enemy that unites, and in this case those whom circumstances have brought together, have chosen their adversaries well. They are facing with very limited resources, the ultimate traitors to the Right and to an America that should be spared Hillary’s picks for federal judgeships and her refusal to fight specifically Muslim terrorists.   

Therefore, from that paragraph, we understand that President Donald Trump’s candidacy coalesced this group of Millennials who bring a different perspective. In Britain, Millennials who supported Brexit comprise this group.

There is another characteristic of this independent group of commentators: their willingness to speak out and use the Left’s own tactics on them, as a Return of Kings post advises:

… the long and short of it is this: embracing and amplifying leftist absurdities are an excellent tactic to counter progressives and SJWs, and three of the ways to embrace and amplify are through increasing the frequency of the embraced absurdity, shifting it slightly to something the leftist finds unacceptable, and/or reversing it on the leftist.

Now, will this tactic work on the leftists themselves? Likely not, for their worldview can only survive on incoherence and absurdity, and so they are used to it—although, in fairness, you may convince the odd leftist to change his mind. However, convincing leftists and progressives is not the point. Rather, the point is to rhetorically neuter the leftists while at the same time helping to sway the fence-sitters to be against the leftists, not for them.

And for the purposes of achieving that particular objective, embracing then amplifying leftist absurdities is a good tactic to use.

Vox Day, a Christian blogger and author writes about the effect of Gamergate (2014-2015), which showed the young Left at their worst in revealing their opponents’ identities, harassing them and sending them death threats:

One of the fascinating things about the last few years is the transition of many apolitical Game writers and sites to politically conscious Alt-Right and Alt-Lite perspectives. This is significant, because all of the writers involved are entirely accustomed to being mobbed and assailed by the mainstream media, so they’re not inclined to cuck and run like most conservatives are when faced with criticism.

That is the principal characteristic of this group, never seen before in such numbers until 2016. They understand how the game is played and they engage time and time again.

These people are not white supremacists or white nationalists. On the contrary, they welcome everyone to participate in dialogue promoting and defending traditional values of informed patriotism, family life and personal integrity.

They will not cave and, as this revolution of words unfolds, they will remain in the front line.

On Monday, February 6, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II achieved what no other British monarch has: a Sapphire Jubilee.

The Queen acceded the throne 65 years ago, following the death of her father, King George VI.

Her Majesty celebrated the day privately at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. She attended Sunday service at St Peter and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk, where she greeted well wishers and accepted bouquets of flowers afterwards.

Military salutes were given in London on Monday. The Telegraph has photos and reported:

Royal gun salutes were staged in London on Accession Day, as is the tradition, with a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at noon.

The Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position as 89 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park.

A 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company was fired at the Tower of London at 1pm.

The photo above was taken in 2014. Buckingham Palace re-released it for the Sapphire Jubilee.

Sky News explains:

The picture was taken by the photographer David Bailey in 2014 for the GREAT campaign, a publicity campaign to promote Britain around the world.

In the photograph The Queen is wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding present in 1947.

It was on the 6 February, 1952 that her father died while at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, who was 25, was in Kenya on a royal tour with her husband Prince Philip at the time.

Although no national celebrations are planned this year, the Royal Mint is issuing a set of commemorative coins. Royal Mail has released a £5 commemorative stamp in sapphire blue.

Two years ago, when the Queen became Britain’s longest-ever reigning monarch, she said that achieving that landmark was:

“not one to which I have ever aspired”.

She added: “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception.”

Those of us who treasure her give thanks and wish her well for many more years as our monarch.

As Her Majesty is approaching her 91st birthday this year, the Duke of Cambridge — Prince William — is taking on more official royal appearances on her behalf.

With regard to length of reign, Queen Victoria comes second in the list with 63 years. Then we go further back in history to George III, who ruled for 59 years, 96 days (1760-1820). James VI of Scotland served for 57 years, 246 days (1567-1625).

In fifth place — incredibly, given it that this was during the Middle Ages — is Henry III of England and Lord of Ireland, who reigned for 56 years and 29 days between 1216 and 1272.

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