Trump Derangement Syndrome Has Jumped the Shark

AP/Brennan Linsley

Last night in London I took part in a debate staged by the How To Academy on Trump’s 100 Days.

I was on the pro side with journalist Melanie Phillips.

On the anti side of the debate were the Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland and a flakcatcher from the Clinton era called James Rubin.

Let me tell you the bad news first: Trump derangement syndrome is everywhere, at least as bad in London as it is in the US.

To listen to my debate opponents you would have imagined that the US had recently elected to the presidency a cross between It the Clown, the Boston Strangler, Dr Strangelove and Alger Hiss. I’m fine with a bit of extravagant rhetoric but there were several moments where both Melanie’s and my jaw dropped at the outrageousness of the charges levelled by Freedland and Rubin at the Trump administration.

By what stretch of the imagination, for example, could former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn be described as a “foreign agent”? This was the phrase used by Guardian man Freedland in his speech and it got many laughs from the audience – Trump: the guy so bad he actually has Russky spies in his administration. But if the case against Trump is really such a slam-dunk as his critics seem to imagine, then surely there’d be no need so grotesquely to exaggerate his flaws?

With Freedland and Rubin acting up like snarky kids – and don’t get me wrong, they were good at it: sharp, quick, punchy, witty and relentlessly below the belt – I found myself forced into the unwonted position of having to play the grown-up.

This threw me slightly. I’d brought along my MAGA baseball cap and my Trump camouflage t-shirt – in order to tease the mainly liberal-leaning audience. But you can’t simultaneously play the clown and chastise your opponents for their puerility.

So I tried to keep my line on Trump as straightforward and honest as possible: I don’t expect you to come away from this evening loving him; I’m just asking you to admit that he speaks for a constituency in the U.S. which for too long has been ignored, that the hysteria surrounding him is overdone, that he has many good points to counter his bad points, that he may yet prove great and, though it’s too early to judge how great, he’ll definitely win a second term.

Now here’s the interesting and curious thing: Melanie and I “won” the debate. (The audience remained overwhelmingly anti-Trump – as they would, being metropolitan liberal pinko types – but we had swung it so that whereas only 14 were in the pro-Trump camp at the beginning we had swelled that number to a magnificent 33 by the end)

I was surprised by this because the Freedland/Rubin duo were the better debaters and raised many more laughs. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Perhaps what I was witnessing was a glimmer of hope that we are approaching peak Trump derangement syndrome.

Read the rest at Breitbart.

For a Real Oxbridge Education, You Now Have to Go to Durham

Attempts to broaden the social mix at Oxford and Cambridge have instead created a sterile PC monoculture

‘Should I just have done with it and tell them they’re a bunch of tossers?’

I was on my way to speak at the Durham Union. The motion was ‘This House believes the NHS is out of date’. And, as usual, I was on the ‘wrong’ side of the debate — so why should I even bother? You know beforehand which way the vote is going to go at any university debate these days: the one which enables the snowflakes most easily to signal their virtue.

But, on the spur of the moment, I decided to give Durham the benefit of the doubt. ‘I was going to be incredibly rude to you,’ I began. ‘Which you totally deserve for being a bunch of snowflakes who are going to vote against the motion because hashtag “I heart the NHS”. But instead I’m going to make a case by appealing to your intellects…’

I could scarcely believe what happened next. The audience listened. They laughed at my jokes. When I made eye contact, they didn’t look away nervously like I was some snarling right-wing pariah with whom they wanted nothing to do. Then, perhaps most amazingly of all, they voted by 75 to 50 in favour of the motion.

Now I accept that this was partly thanks to the brilliance of my co-speaker, Kate Andrews of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who was eloquent, reasonable and fearsomely well-briefed. Our opponents, with their ‘envy of the world’ pabulum, just didn’t have a prayer.

Except at both the Oxford and Cambridge Unions, I know, the other side would still definitely have won. I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating, just to annoy him: the last time I debated at Oxford, the ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger gave a boilerplate speech of such unutterably predictable, dreary, fatuous lefty tosh that I honestly thought the undergraduates would feel insulted by its glib platitudinousness. Instead, they just couldn’t get enough of it. Bizarre, I thought at the time.

No, worse, I realise after my Durham experience: tragic. I know some of you think I bang on about Oxford so infatuatedly I sound like Withnail’s Uncle Monty recalling his first love Norman ‘and his poetry book stained with the butter drips from crumpets’. But I care because it’s my alma mater, because it really did shape my intellect in a way for which I’ll be eternally grateful and because I want it to go on being the amazing, liberating playground of ideas that it was in my butter-stained youth. These days, I fear, in order to recreate that echt Oxbridge experience, you need to apply, not to Oxford or Cambridge, but to one of those establishments such as Durham which we used to scoff at for being filled with Oxbridge rejects.

They still are filled with Oxbridge rejects, of course, but of such a high calibre that they would once have been a shoo-in. Quite a hefty portion come from the private schools against which, anecdotal evidence suggests, Oxbridge admissions tutors are becoming increasingly prejudiced. If you’re someone like the radical-left politician Michael ‘soak the rich’ Gove, who recently argued for public schools to be stung for VAT so that they can be punished even more than they are already, you’ll no doubt consider this anti-elitism a healthy thing. But after my own — admittedly brief — recent trips I’d say that in its eagerness to purge itself of students from a certain kind of background, Oxbridge is in danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Read the rest at the Spectator.

Greenies: the Red, the Dumb and the Angry | James Delingpole

May 22, 2010

Just back from the Oxford Union where, last night, we debated the motion: This House Would Put Economic Growth Before Combatting Climate Change. Though I wouldn’t necessarily say I sucked, my performance definitely wasn’t as strong as the one I gave at Heartland. Luckily I had the benefit of a blindingly good team in the form of Lord Lawson of Blaby, Lord Leach and Viscount Monckton – who temporarily ennobled me to Lord Delingpole of Blogosphere so I didn’t feel too left out.

Much to my surprise the motion carried. (133 Ayes; 110 Noes) I suppose I oughtn’t to be surprised, what with all the arguments so obviously in favour of our side and none in favour of theirs. But you never quite know with undergraduates – even frightfully clever Oxford ones – because, never having inhabited the real world, they can all too easily incline to dreamy idealism combined with an utter failure to grasp economic reality.

What really struck me about the occasion, though, was the unspeakable direness of the opposition. I don’t mean the nice girl from Trinity College: as an officer of the Union, she had to take whatever side of the debate she was given to argue. I mean the three others, who embodied pretty much everything wrong with the green movement: its crypto communism; its woeful ignorance; and its sphincter-popping rage.

Representing the ignorance camp was Lord Whitty – a nice chap with a moustache, but totally out of his depth on science, economics or indeed anything else. When you consider that this man was until quite recently our Environment Minister, this is rather worrying. At one point he tried to claim that Earth’s temperature was the hottest it had been in 14,000 years. “What about the Medieval Warm Period?” I asked. No, what he meant, he said was “If temperatures go on rising then by the end of the century we could be experiencing the hottest temperatures in 14,000 years.” This is such unutterable drivel, it’s not even worth deconstructing. Yet this was the guy – I said it before but it bears repeating – in charge of Britain’s Environment Policy. Still, better him than the lethal Chris Huhne, I suppose.

I shan’t bother describing the young man representing the Red faction. Suffice to say that as he rambled away about equality, injustice, the evils of growth, capitalism etc, I leaned across to Lord Lawson and said: “Jesus. If this is the **** you had to put up with from the opposite benches I’m bloody glad I was never an MP.”

Finally, we were introduced to a fellow named Mike Mason, founder and managing director of something called ClimateCare. Mike was angry. Very, very angry. He showed this by having a go at us, one by one, dismissing Lord Lawson as a “failed chancellor”, or some such, casting aspersions on Viscount Monckton’s title and describing me as a “right wing hack.” I suppose, yes, “right wing hack” is one way of describing me. But I don’t recall, when I took the floor, referring to Mike Mason as a “typical, ranty green libtard who stands to make loads of money fleecing the gullible something rotten by selling carbon offsets.” Of course I do ad hom, now and again. But not in formal Oxford debates. It’s just rude and unnecessary and exposes – as poor Mike went on most impressively to demonstrate – the abject poverty of your arguments.

Both at Heartland and Oxford we were followed by a film crew who are making a documentary about the war between Warmists and Sceptics. The director, who was a very keen Green when he started the documentary, admitted he’d altered his position quite markedly since talking to both sides. What struck him about deniers/sceptics/realists – or whatever you want to call them – was their courtesy and their thoroughness. What struck him about the warmists was their eye-popping rage.

It’s true. The Warmists really are a malign and spleen-filled bunch. As of course you would be if the science was against you, the public were growing increasingly sceptical, and all you really had left to defend your cause was bullying and bluster.

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