Universities’ Most Freakish, Isolated Minority: Non-Lefties

Like Catholics in Elizabethan times, they must congregate discreetly.

A few columns ago, I told the mortifying story of how I totally died at the Oxford Union. Today I’m going to tell you how I managed to avoid the same fate on a more recent trip to the Cambridge Union, where I spoke in a debate and opposed the motion: ‘This house would open its doors to refugees.’

Partly, I was just better prepared. One of the benefits of a public-speaking disaster is that it makes you particularly loath ever to repeat the horror. I can’t say I spent any longer on my speech. What I did do, though, was co-ordinate much more with the rest of my team beforehand (ex-MEP Godfrey Bloom, current MEP Roger Helmer, economist Alasdair Macleod) so that we knew what we were all going to say and didn’t repeat one another’s arguments. This forced me to write my speech a week early instead of at the last minute: something I commend to debaters because then the material sits in your head and matures and becomes familiar.

Then there is the simple fact that Cambridge is a much better-mannered place than Oxford. It’s not that the undergraduates are any less left-wing — especially not if they’re at King’s, where Jeremy Corbyn would be considered a bourgeois capitalist running-dog lackey. But Cantabrigians are more fastidious, austere and thoughtful than impetuous, thrusting, ostentatious Oxonians, and are consequently much less prone to shouting down their opponents.

But the main reason it went so much better is that I went in fully expecting to lose. (As indeed my team did lose, big time, by a margin of about 90 to ten.) This imbues in you the kind of grim fatalism the 300 must have experienced at Thermopylae or that gladiators no doubt felt as they saluted the emperor. There’s no stupid voice in your head going: ‘Maybe if I smile sweetly enough I can make them like me.’ Instead you think: ‘Sod ’em!’ You’re going to end up face-down in the dust, whatever you do, but at least you can take a few of the bastards with you.

I’m amazed — almost disgusted with myself, actually — that I was naive enough to expect otherwise at Oxford. But the thing people don’t realise about me — which I generally try to keep secret because it’s kind of off-brand — is that in real life I’m a really, really nice, sweet-natured, trusting, innocent person. And also one who lives in a fantasy world. So when I stood on the debating floor that time in Oxford, grinning dementedly, and tried to put all my listeners at ease by opening with an ad-libbed quip about Aids, I genuinely thought in my deluded imagination: ‘Ha, I’m going to win over these kids with my engaging mix of shambolic charm and no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is right-wing politics, just you see…’ This illusion lasted for all of the split-second it took before the boos and hisses began.

Read the rest at the Spectator.

Hong Kong Shows What Post-Brexit Britain Could Be

The success story that will always confound the left.

‘It’s like this,’ Rat explained, when the Fawn and I visited earlier this year. ‘If you want to get a cab somewhere urgent in the morning and you can’t speak good enough Cantonese then basically you’re stuffed. The drivers just swear at you and drive off. They haven’t got time to be wasting listening to dumb Gweilo trying to make themselves understood. In Hong Kong time is money.’

This was the first time we’d seen the Rat and his girlfriend in their new home and it was a joy to see how much happier they were. Pleasing as well to hear them so ardently channelling my political views. You’d think living with me would be enough to turn any child left-wing. But hearing them going on about how much they loathed the feckless, scuzzy, dole-scrounging culture they’d left behind them in Camberwell, I almost felt like Jeremy Corbyn listening to a treatise by Nigel Farage.

Read the rest at the Spectator.

Only Embittered Lefties Give a Damn about Panama

But I’m afraid I find myself caring as much as I do about the news that martial arts movie star Jackie Chan has holdings in offshore companies including one called Jumbo Jaz investment. Or that Simon Cowell, various sports stars and someone from FIFA also use such vehicles to stash some of their loot.

Which is about as much as I care about, I don’t know, the Lithuanian shoe polish industry, maybe. No, I exaggerate. Not that much.

As for the revelations that these secretive, tax avoidance schemes are also favoured by associates of Vladimir Putin, deposed Iraqi ministers from the Saddam era, Chinese nomenklatura, bank robbers, and lots and lots of Nigerians, well, colour me surprised.

Couldn’t the International Consortium of International Journalists, which grabbed this alleged super-scoop, have saved itself and us an awful lot of bother and just run the headline: “Official: Bears Shit In Woods. Now we LIST the species that do so”?

So some bloke we’d never heard of from Iceland has resigned. Like we care.

What we should care about very much though, I think, is the way that this story is being a manipulated to a particular end by politicians and the left-leaning media.

(A left-wing media which, incidentally, is quite massively hypocritical on this issue. Not only are numerous leftie bigwigs assiduous tax avoiders, but so is the Guardian newspaper, as I discuss here with my friend Toby Young, who has a hilarious anecdote to relate)

Look at Bernie Sanders. There’s talk – hideous, terrifying talk – that Panama may be just the thing he needs to propel him into the White House. Not only is Hillary personally compromised. (Again). But it plays, perfectly, to that notion Socialists like Sanders are obsessed with these days: that there’s a corrupt, uncontrollable elite who can only brought to account by a good old fashioned dose of the kind of hard-left politics which worked so well for Cuba, Albania and the USSR.

Look at Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader hasn’t got this big in his trousers about a front page news story, I imagine, since Margaret Thatcher died.

At last, Corbyn has found a foreign policy mission worth really fighting for. No, not the nuclear deterrent – which he wants to scrap. Not ISIS, whose terrorists he thinks shouldn’t be shot under any circumstances on British streets and who at least one of his party comrades thinks should best be won over by friendly cups of tea.

No, instead Corbyn has seized this opportunity to declare war on the British Virgin Islands and any other British overseas territories and crown dependencies which earn their bulk of their living as tax havens.

Yeah! That’ll show them! That’s what Britain really needs in a prospective leader: someone who’s not afraid peevishly to ruin the livelihoods of people in far off places while making not a smidgen of a difference to the lives of anyone in Britain.

And instead of calling this bearded Trotskyite Islamist-suck-up on his pettifogging vindictiveness, Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne are busy meekly agreeing with the tenor of his argument: that international tax avoidance really is the most terrible thing and that more needs to be done to stamp it out.

Well they’ve got no choice, have they? Both are very rich men who’ve spent their entire political careers assiduously pretending not to be rich in order not to stoke the resentment of the proles.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

Some of Jeremy Corbyn’s Best Friends Aren’t Jewish

The brilliant thing if Jeremy Corbyn wins the Labour party leadership race, I argued, is that by testing to destruction in Britain the same ideology that has already been tested to destruction in Castro’s Cuba, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, Enver Hoxha’s Albania, and so on, he will make the Labour party unelectable for at least a decade.

I joked that in honour of the earnest beardie I was even thinking of wearing a Jeremy Corbyn vest, just like the ones he favours – bought, apparently, for just £1.50 from his local market.

But now – like quite a few others, ranging from former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown to former Tory MP Louise Mensch and columnist Janet Daley – I’m beginning to realise that frivolity may not necessarily be the most sensible response to a man who was cosying up to the IRA weeks after the Brighton bomb that nearly killed Margaret Thatcher and who describes Hamas as his “friend.”

My worry is not so much that, as received wisdom has it, that all governments need a credible Opposition leader to hold them to account. (By that token, Margaret Thatcher’s run as prime minister – with Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock leading the Opposition benches – would have been a complete disaster, which I’m not sure it was). Rather it’s that as Janet Daley argues here, it’s that Corbyn represents the kind of hard-left revolutionaries who’ve given up on parliamentary democracy altogether.

Read the rest at Breitbart.