Filtering Tag: featured

On the Alabama IVF Ruling

On the 19th February 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF are “children”, and should be legally recognised as such. This issue was brought by three couples suing their IVF providers due to the destruction of their children while being cryogenically stored under an existing Death of a Minor statue in the state. This statute explicitly covered foetuses (presumably to allow for compensation to be sought by women who has suffered miscarriages or stillbirths which could have been prevented), but there was some ambiguity over whether IVF embryos were covered prior to the ruling that it applies to “all unborn children, regardless of their location”. It has since been revealed that the person responsible was a patient at the clinic in question, so while mainstream outlets have stated that the damage was ‘accidental’, I find this rather implausible given the security in place for accessing cryogenic freezers. It is the author’s own suspicion that the person responsible was in fact an activist foreseeing the consequences of successful Wrongful Death of a Minor lawsuit against the clinic for the desecration of unborn children outside the womb.

The ruling does not explicitly ban or even restrict IVF treatments; it merely states that the products thereof must be legally recognised as human beings. However, this view is incompatible with multiple stages of the IVF process, and this is what makes this step in the right direction a potentially significant victory. For those who may be (blissfully) unaware, the IVF process goes something like this. A woman is hormonally stimulated to release multiple eggs in a cycle rather than the usual one or two. These are then exacted and then fertilised with sperm in a lab. There is nothing explicitly contrary to the view that life begins at conception in these first two steps. However, as Elisabeth Smith (Director of State Policy at the Centre for Reproductive Rights) explains, not all of the embryos created can be used. Some are tossed due to genetic abnormalities, and even of those that remain usually no more than three are implanted into the womb at any given time, but they can be cryogenically stored for up to a decade and implanted at a later date or into someone else.

In this knowledge, three major problems for the IVF industry in Alabama become apparent. The first is that they will not be able to toss those which they deem to be unsuitable for implantation due to genetic abnormalities. This would massively increase the cost to IVF patients as they would have to store all the children created for an unspecified length of time. This is assuming that storing children in freezers is deemed to be acceptable at all, which is not a given as any reasonable person would say that freezing children at later stages of development was incredibly abusive. The second problem is that even if it is permitted to continue creating children outside of the womb and storing them for future implantation (perhaps by only permitting storage for a week or less), it would only be possible to create the number of children that the woman is willing to have implanted. This would further increase costs as if the first attempt at implantation fails, the patient would have to go back to the drawing board and have more eggs extracted, rather than trying again from a larger supply already in the freezer. The third problem is that, particularly if the number of stored children increases dramatically, liability insurance would have to cover any loss, destruction, or damage to said children, which would make it a totally unviable business for all but the wealthiest.

The connection between this ruling and the abortion debate has been made explicitly by both sides. Given that it already has a total ban on abortion, Alabama seems a likely state to take further steps to protect the unborn, which may spread to other Republican states if they are deemed successful. The states that currently also impose a total ban on abortion either at any time after conception or after 6 weeks gestation (where it is only possible to know of a pregnancy for 2 weeks) are Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Utah. There are other states with an exception only for rape and incest, with some requiring that this be reported to law enforcement.

However, despite the fact that the ruling was made by Republicans appointed to their posts at the time of Donald Trump’s presidency, he has publicly criticised this decision saying that “we should be making it easier for people to have strong families, not harder”. Nikki Haley appeared initially to support the ban, but later backtracked on this commitment. In a surprisingly intellectually honest move, The Guardian made an explicit link between the medical hysteria on this topic and the prevalence of female doctors among IVF patients. Glenza (2024) wrote:

“Fertility is of special concern to female physicians. Residents typically finish training at 31.6 years of age, which are prime reproductive years. Female physicians suffer infertility at twice the rate of the general population, because demanding careers push many to delay starting a family.”

While dry and factual, this statement admits consciously that ‘infertility’ is (or at least can be) caused by lifestyle choices and priorities (i.e. prioritising one’s career over using ideal reproductive years in the 20’s and early 30’s to marry and have children), rather than genes or bad luck, and is therefore largely preventable by women making different choices.

I sincerely hope that, despite criticism of the ruling by (disproportionately female) doctors which a vested interest, the rule of law stands firm and that an honest interpretation of this ruling is manifested in reality. This would mean that for reasons stated above it will become unviable to run a profitable IVF business, and that while wealthy couples may travel out of state, a majority of those currently seeking IVF will instead adopt children, and/or face the consequences of their life decisions. Furthermore, I hope that young women on the fence about accepting a likely future proposal, pulling the goalie, or aborting a current pregnancy to focus on her career consider the long-term consequences of waiting too long to have children.


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Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth: An Examination and Review

A new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy, Joel Coen’s 2021 The Tragedy of Macbeth is the director’s first production without his brother Ethan’s involvement. Released in select theaters on December 25, 2021, and then on Apple TV on January 14, 2022, the production has received positive critical reviews as well as awards for screen adaptation and cinematography, with many others still pending.

As with any movie review, I encourage readers who plan to see the film to do so before reading my take. While spoilers probably aren’t an issue here, I would not want to unduly influence one’s experience of Coen’s take on the play. Overall, though much of the text is omitted, some scenes are rearranged, and some roles are reduced, and others expanded, I found the adaptation to be a generally faithful one that only improved with subsequent views. Of course, the substance of the play is in the performances of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, but their presentation of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is enhanced by both the production and supporting performances.

Production: “where nothing, | But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile” —IV.3

The Tragedy of Macbeth’s best element is its focus on the psychology of the main characters, explored below. This focus succeeds in no small part due to its minimalist aesthetic. Filmed in black and white, the play utilizes light and shadow to downplay the external historical conflicts and emphasize the characters’ inner ones.

Though primarily shown by the performances, the psychological value conflicts of the characters are concretized by the adaptation’s intended aesthetic. In a 2020 Indiewire interview, composer and long-time-Coen collaborator Carter Burwell said that Joel Coen filmed The Tragedy of Macbeth on sound stages, rather than on location, to focus more on the abstract elements of the play. “It’s more like a psychological reality,” said Burwell. “That said, it doesn’t seem stage-like either. Joel has compared it to German Expressionist film. You’re in a psychological world, and it’s pretty clear right from the beginning the way he’s shot it.”

This is made clear from the first shots’ disorienting the sense of up and down through the use of clouds and fog, which continue as a key part of the staging throughout the adaptation. Furthermore, the bareness of Inverness Castle channels the focus to the key characters’ faces, while the use of odd camera angles, unreal shadows, and distorted distances reinforce how unnatural is the play’s central tragic action, if not to the downplayed world of Scotland, then certainly to the titular couple. Even when the scene leaves Inverness to show Ross and MacDuff discussing events near a ruined building at a crossroads (Act II.4), there is a sense that, besides the Old Man in the scene, Scotland is barren and empty.

The later shift to England, where Malcolm, MacDuff, and Ross plan to retake their homeland from now King Macbeth, further emphasizes this by being shot in an enclosed but bright and fertile wood. Although many of the historical elements of the scene are cut, including the contrast between Macbeth and Edward the Confessor and the mutual testing of mettle between Malcolm and MacDuff, the contrast in setting conveys the contrast between a country with a mad Macbeth at its head and the one that presumably would be under Malcolm. The effect was calming in a way I did not expect—an experience prepared by the consistency of the previous acts’ barren aesthetic.

Yet, even in the forested England, the narrow path wherein the scene takes place foreshadows the final scenes’ being shot in a narrow walkway between the parapets of Dunsinane, which gives the sense that, whether because of fate or choice rooted in character, the end of Macbeth’s tragic deed is inevitable. The explicit geographical distance between England and Scotland is obscured as the same wood becomes Birnam, and as, in the final scenes, the stone pillars of Dunsinane open into a background of forest. This, as well as the spectacular scene where the windows of the castle are blown inward by a storm of leaves, conveys the fact that Macbeth cannot remain isolated against the tragic justice brought by Malcom and MacDuff forever, and Washington’s performance, which I’ll explore presently, consistently shows that the usurper has known it all along.

This is a brilliant, if subtle, triumph of Coen’s adaptation: it presents Duncan’s murder and the subsequent fallout as a result less of deterministic fate and prophecy and more of Macbeth’s own actions and thoughts in response to it—which, themselves, become more determined (“predestined” because “wilfull”) as Macbeth further convinces himself that “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill” (III.2).

Performances:  “To find the mind’s construction in the face” —I.4

Film adaptations of Shakespeare can run the risk of focusing too closely on the actors’ faces, which can make keeping up with the language a chore even for experienced readers (I’m still scarred from the “How all occasions” speech from Branagh’s 1996 Hamlet); however, this is rarely, if ever, the case here, where the actors’ and actresses’ pacing and facial expressions combine with the cinematography to carry the audience along. Yet, before I give Washington and McDormand their well-deserved praise, I would like to explore the supporting roles.

In Coen’s adaptation, King Duncan is a king at war, and Brendan Gleeson plays the role well with subsequent dourness. Unfortunately, this aspect of the interpretation was, in my opinion, one of its weakest. While the film generally aligns with the Shakespearean idea that a country under a usurper is disordered, the before-and-after of Duncan’s murder—which Coen chooses to show onscreen—is not clearly delineated enough to signal it as the tragic conflict that it is. Furthermore, though many of his lines are adulatory to Macbeth and his wife, Gleeson gives them with so somber a tone that one is left emotionally uninvested in Duncan by the time he is murdered.

Though this is consistent with the production’s overall austerity, it does not lend much to the unnaturalness of the king’s death. One feels Macbeth ought not kill him simply because he is called king (a fully right reason, in itself) rather than because of any real affection between Macbeth and his wife for the man, himself. However, though I have my qualms, this may have been the right choice for a production focused on the psychological elements of the plot; by downplaying the emotional connection between the Macbeths and Duncan (albeit itself profoundly psychological), Coen focuses on the effects of murder as an abstraction.

The scene after the murder and subsequent framing of the guards—the drunken porter scene—was the one I most looked forward to in the adaptation, as it is in every performance of Macbeth I see. The scene is the most apparent comic relief in the play, and it is placed in the moment where comic relief is paradoxically least appropriate and most needed (the subject of a planned future article). When I realized, between the first (ever) “Knock, knock! Who’s there?” and the second, that the drunk porter was none other than comic actor Stephen Root (Office Space, King of the Hill, Dodgeball), I knew the part was safe.

I was not disappointed. The drunken obliviousness of Root’s porter, coming from Inverness’s basement to let in MacDuff and Lennox, pontificating along the way on souls lately gone to perdition (unaware that his king has done the same just that night) before elaborating to the new guests upon the merits and pitfalls of drink, is outstanding. With the adaptation’s other removal of arguably inessential parts and lines, I’m relieved Coen kept as much of the role as he did.

One role that Coen expanded in ways I did not expect was that of Ross, played by Alex Hassell. By subsuming other minor roles into the character, Coen makes Ross into the unexpected thread that ties much of the plot together. He is still primarily a messenger, but, as with the Weird Sisters whose crow-like costuming his resembles, he becomes an ambiguous figure by the expansion, embodying his line to Lady MacDuff that “cruel are the times, when we are traitors | And do not know ourselves” (IV.2). In Hassell’s excellent performance, Ross seems to know himself quite well; it is we, the audience, who do not know him, despite his expanded screentime. By the end, Ross was one of my favorite aspects of Coen’s adaptation.

The best part of The Tragedy of Macbeth is, of course, the joint performance by Washington and McDormand of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The beginning of the film finds the pair later in life, with presumably few mountains left to climb. Washington plays Macbeth as a man tired and introverted, which he communicates by often pausing before reacting to dialogue, as if doing so is an afterthought. By the time McDormand comes onscreen in the first of the film’s many corridor scenes mentioned above, her reading and responding to the letter sent by Macbeth has been primed well enough for us to understand her mixed ambition yet exasperation—as if the greatest obstacle is not the actual regicide but her husband’s hesitancy.

Throughout The Tragedy of Macbeth their respective introspection and ambition reverse, with Washington eventually playing the confirmed tyrant and McDormand the woman internalized by madness. If anyone needed a reminder of Washington and McDormand’s respective abilities as actor and actress, one need only watch them portray the range of emotion and psychological depth contained in Shakespeare’s most infamous couple.

Conclusion: “With wit enough for thee”—IV.2

One way to judge a Shakespeare production is whether someone with little previous knowledge of the play and a moderate grasp of Shakespeare’s language would understand and become invested in the characters and story; I hazard one could do so with Coen’s adaptation. It does take liberties with scene placement, and the historical and religious elements are generally removed or reduced. However, although much of the psychology that Shakespeare includes in the other characters is cut, the minimalist production serves to highlight Washington and McDormand’s respective performances. The psychology of the two main characters—the backbone of the tragedy that so directly explores the nature of how thought and choice interact—is portrayed clearly and dynamically, and it is this that makes Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth an excellent and, in my opinion, ultimately true-to-the-text adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


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The Reality of Degree Regret 

It is now graduation season, when approximately 800,000 (mostly) young people up and down the country decide for once in their lives that it is worth dressing smartly and donning a cap and gown so that they can walk across a stage at their university, have their hands clasped by a ceremonial ‘academic’, and take photos with their parents. Graduation looked a little different for me as a married woman who still lives in my university city, but the concept remains the same. Graduates are encouraged to celebrate the start of their working lives by continuing in the exact same way that they have lived for the prior 21 years: by drinking, partying, and ‘doing what you love’ rather than taking responsibility for continuing your family and country’s legacy. 

However, something I have noticed this year which contrasts from previous years is that graduates are starting to be a lot more honest about the reality of degree regret. For now, this sentiment is largely contained in semi-sarcastic social media posts and anonymous surveys, but I consider it a victory that the cult of education is slowly but surely starting to be criticised. CNBC found that in the US (where just over 50% of working age people have a degree), a shocking 44% of job-seekers regret their degrees. Unsurprisingly, journalism, sociology, and liberal arts are the most regretted degrees (and lead to the lowest-paying jobs). A majority of jobseekers with degrees in these subjects said that if they could go back, they would study a different subject such as computer science or business. Even in the least regretted majors (computer science and engineering), only around 70% said that they would do the same degree if they could start again. Given that CNBC is hardly a network known to challenge prevailing narratives, we can assume that in reality the numbers are probably slightly higher.

A 2020 article detailed how Sixth Form and College students feel pressured to go to university, and 65% of graduates regret it. 47% said that they were not aware of the option of pursuing a degree apprenticeship, which demonstrates a staggering lack of information. Given how seriously educational institutions supposedly take their duty to prepare young people for their future, this appears to be a significant failure. Parental pressure is also a significant factor, as 20% said that they did not believe their parents would have been supportive had they chosen an alternative such as a degree apprenticeship, apprenticeship, or work. This is understandable given the fact that for our parent’s generation, a degree truly was a mark of prestige and a ticket to the middle class, but due to credential inflation this is no longer the case. They were wrong, but only on the matter of scale, as a survey of parents found that as many as 40% had a negative attitude towards alternative paths. 

Reading this, you may think that I am totally against the idea of a university being a place to learn gloriously useless subjects for the sake of advancing knowledge that may in some very unlikely situations become useful to mankind. Universities should be a place to conceptualise new ways the world could be, and a place where the best minds from around the world gather to genuinely push the frontiers of knowledge forward. What I object to is the idea that universities be a 3-year holiday from the real world and responsibilities towards family and community, a place to ‘find oneself’ rather than finding meaning in the outer world, a dating club, or a tool for social mobility. I do not object to taxpayer funding for research if it passes a meaningful evaluation of value for money and is not automatically covered under the cultish idea that any investment in education is inherently good.

In order to avoid the epidemic of degree regret that we are currently facing, we need to hugely reduce the numbers of students admitted for courses which are oft regretted. This is not with the aim of killing off said subjects, but enhancing the education available to those remaining as they will be surrounded by peers who genuinely share their interest and able to derive more benefit from more advanced teaching and smaller classes. Additionally, we need to stop filling the gaps in our technical workforce with immigration and increase the number of academic and vocational training placements in fields such as computer science and engineering. With regards to the negative attitudes, I described above, these will largely be fixed as the millennial generation filled with degree regret comes to occupy senior positions and reduces the stigma of not being a graduate within the workplace. By being honest about the nature of tomorrow’s job market, we can stop children from growing up thinking that walking across the stage in a gown guarantees you a lifetime of prosperity.

On a rare personal note, having my hands clasped in congratulations for having wasted three years of my life did not feel like an achievement. It felt like an embarrassment to have to admit that 4 years ago when I filled out UCAS applications to study politics; I was taken for a fool. I have not had my pre-existing biases challenged and my understanding of the world around me transformed by my degree as promised. As an 18-year-old going into university, I knew that my criticisms of the world around me were ‘wrong’, and I was hoping that and education/indoctrination would ‘fix’ me. Obviously given the fact that 3 years later I am writing for the Mallard this is not the case, and all I have realised from my time here is that there are others out there, and my thoughts never needed to be fixed.


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The Migratory Ratchet

To say Britain has just entered a recession is slightly disingenuous, notwithstanding the jargon and semantics of economists and journalists. Whilst GDP has dipped for a second consecutive quarter, GDP per capita has been contracting for seven quarters straight. Having dropped throughout every quarter of 2023, and most quarters of 2022, Britain is enduring the longest uninterrupted decline in GDP per capita since records began in 1955.

Compounded by the fact that Britain’s GDP would’ve declined further without the unprecedented amount of immigration experienced throughout 2022 and 2023, it’s abundantly apparent that the UK economy is a ponzi scheme; an artifice sustained through short-term economic benefits to the long-term detriment of the nation, offset by additional short-term benefits and so on. Even when Britain’s economy grows, having experienced anaemic growth throughout most quarters of the same period, it renders no discernible or substantive benefit to the average Englishman.

The benefits of this arrangement are exclusively experienced by politicians and corporations. The former is given a straightforward and politically convenient means of construing the impression of prosperity, of making Line Go Up, while the latter has access to an ever-replenishing pool of cheap and flexible labour; one which suppresses wage growth, burdens national infrastructure, and induces demographic problems across British society. Truly, the Potemkin School of Economics.

However, courtesy of the unprecedented and largely non-EU-driven spike in immigration following Covid, a lot of anti-immigration positioning has been reconstructed around this new normal. This isn’t entirely bad. After all, people deserve to know why immigration is increasing, despite longstanding public demand for it to significantly decrease, especially while its contemporaneous.

However, the problem I foresee, one which I see flickers of in right-leaning political commentary of all kinds, is the acquiescence to previous levels of mass immigration. You know? The days when net migration was running at a sensible 200,000, when a greater proportion of arrivals were high-earners from the EU in possession of illustrious Skillsets; the days when immigration coincided with increases in GDP and GDP per capita, putting White British people on-track to becoming a minority by 2066, rather than 2040.

As everyone should know by now, the immigration debate is fundamentally a concern about displacement, one which is forced to disguise itself through Legitimate Concerns, such as Parliamentary Sovereignty, Small Boats, Control, and so on. As such, given immigration salience is making a post-Brexit return, there will be attempts to force those concerned about demographic displacement to re-disguise their concerns in a way the system is prepared to officially tolerate.

I refer to this as The Migratory Ratchet, the process by which previous waves of migration are accepted to justify opposition to present waves of migration, and previous instances of ethnic displacement are accepted to justify opposition to present instances of ethnic displacement. The Migratory Ratchet operates on the basis that the quantity and quality of present migration is different to previous migration, and that recognising these differences must be the basis for immigration control.

This is not to say there aren’t quantitative and qualitative differences between forms of immigration. Nor is to say that it is always wrong to make such distinctions. Rather, it refers to the use of these distinctions as a political manoeuvre to re-politicise mass immigration under a system which seeks to depoliticise it as much as possible, and how this coincides with the system’s desire to perpetuate mass immigration in the long-term by making short-term concessions to immigration restrictionists.

The most prominent distinctions separate migrants between those on big boats (legal) and those on small boats (illegal), those with skills and those without, those coming in their tens of thousands and those coming in their hundreds of thousands, those who give and those who take, those who bring dependants and those who are dependants themselves, those who are white and those who aren’t, those who are (supposedly) Christian and those who aren’t.

By using these distinctions as proxy for nationalist politics, under prevailing ideological pressures which oppose nationalist politics altogether, one crafts a wedge which can be assimilated into the operations of the ratchet, allowing the system to adapt to present dissatisfaction. These so-called Legitimate Concerns, transform fundamental political questions of mass replacement into managerial caveats, summarised by the aforementioned distinctions, which merely refine the process as to make it less irritable to the common Englishman.

I’m doubtful Starmer’s inevitable premiership will change much, although I can envision a scenario in which he makes concessions to the Legitimate Concerns of immigration restrictionists; maintaining recently introduced regulations on bringing dependants, reducing illegal channel crossings (presumably by providing Safe and Legal routes), even placing more stringent barriers on foreign students, whilst increasing work permits at a similar or greater rate to the outgoing Conservative government and instating economic policies which reduce the intake of the cheapest of cheap foreign labour.

In summary, The Migratory Ratchet will keep turning. The least defensible externalities will be suppressed in a superficial show of strength, briefly demobilising the right, who will then express their outrage that net migration is pushing a million, instead of being controlled to a select few hundred thousand.

This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. It is widely and incorrectly presumed that mass immigration began with Tony Blair, de facto chief advisor to the incoming Prime Minister, whose Institute for Global Change is pressuring the incoming Labour government to increase immigration for the sake of “Growth, Growth, Growth”.

Mass immigration as we understand it began with Blair, but mass immigration itself precedes New Labour. Britain has incurred large movements of people, even instances of replacement migration, before and after 1945 – that is, official Year Zero for Modern Britain – which now look small compared to recent intakes. Keep in mind: Britain effectively having net zero migration from the end of WW2 up until the early 1980s. Even with net negative migration, Britain experienced large influxes of people, the likes of which altered the country for generations.

On paper, 19th century Irish immigration is dwarfed by 21st century immigration, but it remains fact that the consequences of such immigration were vast and remain with us, such as turning Liverpool and Glasgow into hotbeds of anti-English sentiment, having largely displaced their native populations, and altering the face of trade union politics; from a tendency dominated by Englishmen trying to shield against the import of cheap Irish labour to one dominated by Irish surnames, infused and aligned with ethnic “anti-imperialist” politics.

On paper, the influx of Russian Jews at the cusp of the 20th century is dwarfed by the post-Covid spike in immigration, but this still led to ghettoization and the displacement of the native population in various urban areas; a trend that has continued well-into the 21st century as other foreign diasporas have set-up shop, bringing their grievances with them – infamously, something the centre-right can only identify as bad when it affects more settled diasporic communities in Britain – while Englishmen are pushed further and further into the surrounding shires.

The UK’s Somali-born population, by far the most financially and legally burdensome subdivision of Britain’s foreign-born occupants, making them something of a lowest common-denominator in discussions about immigration, mostly arrived in the 1980s following the outbreak of civil war. This was merely one of several movements into the UK which occurred throughout the same period. Indeed, many rightists seem to forget (deliberately or not) that the first sustained increase in migration after WW2 took place throughout the premierships of Thatcher and Major.

Boston, the most Eurosceptic place in the UK, is also the most Polish, having endured a major influx of Polish migrants throughout the early noughties; a transformation which was encouraged by the UK government following the accession of ex-Soviet countries to the EU. Needless to say, honouring the spirit of Brexit and rehabilitating mass movement from Poland as an acceptable mode of migration are mutually exclusive political convictions.

Nobody with any sense, or sincere nationalist principles for that matter, would look to such times and instances as the contextual basis for a “sensible” immigration policy. Alas, the centre-right believes one must implicitly concede to these instances of replacement to make incremental progress in resisting larger and renewed waves of migration and the various knock-on effects.

On the surface, it appears to be a pragmatic application of our principles, but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, it is an implicit but unequivocal surrender of the nationalist framework for a moderated globalist framework; a substitution enacted under the bizarre assumption that as things get worse, our stated aspirations need to become less radical. Like our current leaders, whose short-termism is well-documented, it constitutes sacrificing long-term struggle for short-term gains to be offset by developments in the near future. Sound familiar?

It is one thing to find newer, more effective ways to express old aspirations, but this cannot be mistaken for substituting our aspirations altogether. Indeed, if the migratory ratchet was to make another full rotation, it follows that we should find ourselves in a new alliance with non-Anglo whites and “Model Minorities” (high-earners, high-achievers, more Westernised, etc.) marching in lockstep against “Third Worlders” – that is, exclusively the MENA/PT countries and sub-Saharan Africa.

As some have already noticed, talk of England as an Anglo-Saxon country has practically ceased on the British right, a large chunk of whom have started to nail their colours in defence of England’s “Anglo-Celtic” identity in view of “recent” attempts to make it Diverse and Inclusive – that is, not merely less English, but less European and less Christian. Erstwhile, colourblind meritocracy continues to be touted as a palatable wedge of political resistance, embracing entrepreneurial Indians and studious Chinamen to siphon off violent Albanians and lazy Somalians.

Such coalitions will not emerge out of shared political interests between societies, but within British society itself; an arrangement which befit the diversitarian politics of Modern Britain, but unbefitting the pursuit an undiluted nationalist agenda. There can be no two-stage solution. We cannot smoothly refine The Migratory Ratchet into obsolescence. Rather, it must be permanently reversed and absolutely destroyed; it must be rejected from first principles or not at all. This starts and ends with the reconstitution of the British people as a living, breathing, and historic reality.


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Not With a Bang, But a Whimper

This past week, Tucker Carlson travelled to Moscow, Russia to have a sit-down interview with President Vladimir Putin. Before the almost two hour interview was conducted, Tucker Carlson explained his motives for being in Russia – a now pariah state in the Western mind – as trying to get the “other side” of the story.

After all, it has been almost two years since the greater war in Ukraine began, with the invasion of Russian forces in February of 2021. Yet no media outlet in the West has either sought, or been bothered to get a deeper understanding of the Russian motivation, instead painting the conflict with broad strokes as a Marvel-esque “good guys against bad guys” situation.

Credit where credit is due, Carlson is doing the job that most journalists these days refuse to do – report, and let the audience make up their mind. But what became very apparent from the offset of the interview conducted on the evening of 7th of February was just how unexpectedly out of his element Tucker Carlson appeared to be.

After the now infamous 45-minute long history lesson of Russian-Ukrainian relations going back to the eighth century, Tucker Carlson found himself getting overwhelmed with the offload of  (possibly far-too-detailed) background context of the war and its causes.

This, for many, seemed to be shocking revelations.

“We didn’t know a world leader could be so detailed with historical knowledge!”

“He didn’t even need notes, meanwhile our leaders can barely read off of a teleprompter! Shameful!”

But Putin’s narrative and historical tangent shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it is the same reasons he gave in a published essay On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians which justified his reasons for the invasion and interest in bringing Ukraine (or at the very least, parts of Eastern and Southern Ukraine) into the Russian Federation.

Hardly new, shocking, or insightful – it’s the same point he has been making, very publicly, for the last two years – of course always ignored, filtered, or taken out of context by the Western news media.

When pressed to talk about NATO expansion being a possible provocation of Russia’s actions, Putin, once again, stuck to the same story he has been telling the world for the better part of a decade.

Russia is willing to cooperate with the West, and is even willing to allow an independent Ukrainian state partner with the EU and become more friendly with Western Europe and America, as long as Russia’s strategic and security interests are respected and cooperated with.

This was why for decades prior to the Maidan, Russia had not escalated provocations – beyond a few strongly worded statements – with NATO despite NATO expansion beyond Germany into the Baltics and Balkans.

Our leadership – more specifically – the warhawks and ideologues who make up the body of the US State Department and inner-mechanisms of Washington D.C. body-politic who are heavily benefiting from, and invested in the superfluous military contacts and deals, have had no interest in playing ball – even after the Cold War and the fall of the Communism in the Eastern Bloc.

Putin suggested that it wasn’t that he had poor relations with elected leaders, but rather that any time he had approached NATO, American or European leaders with opportunities for cooperation, it was always received enthusiastically, but then quickly shut-down by the “expert” teams that inform Western elected officials.

Perhaps this is just posturing and expert narrative-building that Putin tells himself to sleep better at night, and wants to manipulate the narrative to better suit his own image as a victim of the Western machine.

But speaking as a Westerner, and as someone who has seen the actions of elected governments of both left and right-leaning factions, has anything our governments done in the last thirty years, especially in the realm of foreign policy, actually benefited the world or made it better?

The Iraq War? We manufactured a false narrative about weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein working with Al-Qaeda in order to invade. We left millions dead, radicalised millions more to become vehemently anti-West, and left the vacuum for ISIS to grow in the wake of our “victory”.

The deposing of Gaddafi in Libya? We left a nation in ruins, which has now become a hotbed for open-air slave-trading, terrorism – and we now have no buffer state between Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, feeding the immigration problems of the last two decades.

The War in Afghanistan? Not only did we have no real long-term objective being there, we helped fuel the opioid crisis by encouraging, and protecting the cultivation of poppy – which would wind its way into the US through the illegal drug trade, leading millions of Americans to be hooked on literal poison. Not only this, once we left, the government we installed collapsed like a warm Easter egg and the Taliban became a regional power by seizing the weapons the U.S. military had left behind.

The Syrian Civil War? We armed “rebel” groups to topple the Assad regime, leaving a country devastated, millions of people displaced, and causing the refugee crisis in the 2010s.

I could go on and on, these are just a few of the glaring examples – but how has any of our “democracy building” fared? Did we build democracy, or did we just ruin perfectly stable countries because Washington policymakers were so convinced of their own excellence and patting themselves on the back for “safeguarding democracy” that they couldn’t see the looming disasters that would result from their insane actions?

When our reasons for going to war and causing untold levels of devastation have been as vague as “protecting/promoting/building democracy” for every single one of these conflicts, I’m not surprised that when a world leader outlines very different, very detailed reasons as to why he wants to conduct military action – analysts and intellectuals are hardly able to pick up their jaws from the floor.

Despite the fact that this has always been the way the world has always worked, it just goes to show how removed Western governments and foreign policy decision makers have become from reality.

Within a century and a half, we went from the brilliance of Bismark to the nonsensical politicking of Nuland. A truly astounding fall from grace.

Coming back to Ukraine, we had peace-talks and negotiations ready to go in Istanbul, which most likely would have resulted in an end to the bloodshed, and perhaps a North Korea type DMZ along the Dnieper that may not have made either country happy but would’ve at least established a firm red-line that neither party could justifiably cross.

But that was stifled by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who I assume was working at the behest of Washington and seeking his own Churchill moment, who instead encouraged Zelensky and the Ukrainian government to “fight on!”.

Almost an entire generation of young Ukrainian men have been wiped out, millions have fled the country as refugees, and it has become a meat-grinding war of attrition – one that the Ukrainians cannot possibly win by their sheer lack of numbers, but instead they will be slowly grinded down into submission, regardless of how many arms and funds are sent by the West.

All of this, because we have been refusing to sit-down, have a little sense of humility in the changing world we live in, and compromise at any level.

We have been force-fed this phoney narrative that Vladimir Putin is this seething maniac, frothing at the mouth rabidly because he needs this war, and he needs to win it otherwise his entire rule is delegitimised, and his iron fist over Russia be brought down – that all we need to do is keep fighting and we will win! The good guys always win, right?

But Putin’s conduct and body-language in the Tucker Carlson interview spoke very differently to the narrative we have been fed.

This is not someone who is on edge about this conflict, nor feeling as if his administration and rule over Russia is under serious threat. His body-language was as if this whole conflict was simply just another day at the office – that he is willing to negotiate to end these hostilities, but if not all he has to do is wait.

And who can blame him for this certain calm confidence that he carries?

At the same time the Carlson interview was being broadcast on X, President Biden held a press conference in the White House to assure the press and general public that his brain hasn’t turned into mashed potatoes – in the same speech he said that President Assisi of Mexico would allow humanitarian aid into Palestine. Reassuring, of course.

While the United States, Great Britain, and the broader Western world are all on-track for domestic disaster – with severe economic inflation, political and social rifts that have turned people against each other and their governments, and self-imposed demographic suicide – why would Putin need to worry at all about what the West does?

All he has to do is wait – and he has the growing world of the East, namely India and China, that will continue to trade and maintain relations with Russia, and not seek to harass or get involved in Russian domestic affairs.

Ukraine is not the “last stand” of the West as it has been made out to be. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Western world who is actually enthusiastic about the idea of dying in the mud and snow-ridden trenches of Donetsk and Luhansk to defend… foreign democracy? If that even is what we are defending, after all, rival parties have been banned in the Rada.

No. Frankly, the United States is on the path to isolation one way or another. It will likely be because the domestic situation would become so bad that it has no other choice but to focus its efforts inwardly to prevent complete national fracture.

If push really comes to shove, even the warhawks in Washington would rather pull out from escalating into larger hostilities with a nation that can match the United States in terms of nuclear firepower. Having already made their billions of dollars in weapons contracts, what is the benefit of further plunging the world into a war which will surely lead to mass devastation, leaving no possible markets to sell their goods.

And when the United States withdraws much of its interest from Europe, where will that leave the EU?

Without American energy, and without American guarantees of protection, Europe will have to find its own ways of maintaining itself – which will be made all the more difficult since the position of the EU in regard to Russia, and the Russian supply of energy has been to sanction it and stop it, with no real viable alternative.

This will only exacerbate the pre-existing issues in Europe – when quality of life is severely lessened, and basic needs like warm homes in cold winters and steady food supplies are no longer guaranteed, the masses will lash out, first at each other, and eventually at the politicians and governments who led to this disastrous eventuality.

This is what the war has become. An international game of chicken, with one side holding a significant home-turf advantage. Sanctions have not worked, but instead pushed Russia to internally change to become less dependent on trading in US dollars and looking for foreign alternatives.

Funding and arming the Ukrainians has meant that a war that could’ve been over in a matter of weeks and months has now grinded into a war that will last for years, until the front lines simply cannot be maintained by lack of numbers. The humanitarian disaster that could’ve been averted almost a decade ago has left one of the largest countries in Europe devastated, decimated, and tens of millions dead and displaced – not just soldiers, but civilians.

Russia has been pushed further to work with other foreign global competitors like China and India, rather than European neighbours – both nations having some of the largest population centres on Earth. Pax Americana is dead and buried, never to return in our lifetimes – it was killed violently by the very people who were put in charge to maintain it. A sort of twisted ironic suicide.

One of the most important points brought up in the Tucker Carlson interview was Putin’s outlook on the changing world. He has seen the winds of influence and importance change from the West to the East, and he has adapted accordingly.

When discussing the opportunity to bring the conflict to an end via negotiating a peace deal with Ukraine (i.e. the United States) he stated that there were avenues to do so with dignity, that will allow the United States to have the PR victory it so desperately craves to save face from ultimately wasted efforts.

The avenue is there, and if I was one of the embedded decision-makers in Washington I would take a mutually beneficial deal as soon as possible – as the alternative will not be escalation into a hot war, but enduring diminishment of both hard and soft power in the continent, as European states begin to understand that they cannot rely on the United States to have their best interests at heart, or make sound policy decisions on their behalf – which is the ultimate function of NATO.

As T.S. Eliot once wrote:

This is the way the world ends – not with a bang, but a whimper”.

The world we once knew is coming to an end, this much is overwhelmingly clear.

It is not our current flock of leaders or decision-makers – but rather it is up to us, the next generation of individuals and standard-bearers whether we will adapt to the changing world and rekindle the fire into something that endures, or whether we will let our civilization fade into obscurity and extinguish, never to return.

While we may not have learned anything all that new or groundbreaking from the Tucker Carlson interview with Vladimir Putin, I think it serves a greater purpose than a simple “gotcha” to Western journalism or the current political class.

It is an insight into how the “other side” thinks of us, of our future, and our decline. We ought to wise up, prepare for the long, difficult road ahead, and ensure that the only thing that actually “declines” is the stupidity of our leadership and the influence of the unelected gaggle of fools that believe they can put a halt to the motions of the changing world we find ourselves in.


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In Defence of Marriage

In our 21st Century society, the concepts of love and commitment in relationships have become twisted from what they originally meant to older generations. With the rise of social media (and dating apps in particular), people can form many simultaneous online connections with people who they know next to nothing about and then end the messaging and simply forget about them; this isn’t, in my opinion, a reliable nor realistic way to find a compatible partner – we fall in love with souls, personalities and imperfections, not the photoshopped images someone wants us to associate them with.

But putting aside the downsides and problems with technological romance we need to focus on the root of the bigger problem: many young people have become disillusioned with the idea of marriage, with many viewing it as an outdated and irrelevant institution with no real place in 21st Century life. Far from the high esteem, our ancestors placed this tradition, millennials today feel that there is no real point, that you can live together with your partner happily and contently without vows needing to be taken.

But why have attitudes towards marriage changed so much? This can partly be blamed on the economic situation this generation finds themselves in compared to that of their parents’ or grandparents’ – young people today are the first generation to be less well-off than their parents’ generation. Among many millennials, marriage remains the desired outcome for their relationship but simply isn’t financially realistic. In contrast to past generations, where all socio-economic groups married at roughly the same rate, today marriage is more prevalent among those with higher incomes and levels of education. Societal ideas of family and sex also contribute: with the growing “spectrum” of different gender identities ever-increasing, the nuclear family in decline in Britain and the rejection of the importance of values and beliefs in a relationship.

Young people find themselves nowadays wandering aimlessly in the world of dating, unsure of what sort of person they want to spend their life with, with only vague notions of appearance and personality. When they DO find someone, whether that be through a screen or in-person, the concept of marriage and lifelong commitment is a difficult one to approach, especially if you fear losing the person. Whilst this may indeed be a difficult topic to broach, it’s an extremely important one: if you want to marry, and believe yourself to have found a potential future spouse, you should declare your intentions early one – the longer you leave it, the harder it gets.

Many young people nowadays don’t seek a long-term commitment however, instead opting for casual flings, hook-ups based on a shared physical attraction and temporary pleasure. This ‘hook-up culture’ has seen a rise in popularity thanks to the media and its portrayals in television: the scenes of clubbing into the early hours of the morning and waking up in the bed of someone you just met definitely attracts many teens and young adults and in doing so has stripped the act of sexual intercourse of any significance it may have had. In the past, this act was reserved for married couples, seen as more moral and pleasurable when conducted with someone you truly care for. Nowadays it seems, people are perfectly willing to hand out sex to essentially anyone they find remotely attractive, discouraging the idea of long-term stable relationships (and marriages).

Continued mention of differences between the generations will undoubtedly raise questions over what has really changed in terms of attitudes towards marriage and family. Let’s explore.

Ever since religions have existed, marital practices and traditions have been detailed and carried out. Even up to the late 1970s, religious ceremonies still accounted for 50% of all marriages in the UK (falling for 80% in 1900), with the decline of religious affiliation, particularly Christian denominations, often being cited as a reason for marriage’s rejection by the young (indeed, only 1% of young people aged 18-24 identity as Church of England). Christianity has fallen from 66% in 1983 to only 38% in 2019, whereas secularism/no religion had risen in that same time from 31% to 52%. Christian ideals of marriage, between a man and a woman and overseen by God, have certainly become seen as more traditional and unaccepting in recent decades, especially with the legalisation of gay marriage across much to the West.

 In particular, greater acceptance of divorce as a concept has put people off standing at the altar. Not only has marriage as an idea suffered a decline in popularity over time, the opposite can be said for divorce – invalidating and belittling the concept of marriage; people in modern Britain will stand before a minister and promise to be with their future spouse ‘till death do them part’, only to then divorce them weeks later and repeat the same vows with another person.

Of course, part of this can be blamed on the mainstream media (gossip magazines especially) and their obsession with the high-stakes divorces of wealthy and well-known celebrities – Brangelina immediately spring to mind! But the speed at which you can go from announcing your intent to divorce and actually being divorced has aided in its popularity as an option: on average, you can have a divorce legally finalised in 4-6 months, with you then receiving an often-sizeable amount from the other person.

Changing ideas about family and child-rearing has certainly been a large generational change. The nuclear family (2 married parents and their children living together) saw a decline in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with many families nowadays consisting of half-siblings, step-siblings and parents, or just one parent. This decline has drastically altered children and young peoples’ views on the benefits of marriage: if they had been born in the 1960s, they’d have seen their parents as a loving and dedicated unit, committed in their responsibilities as both spouses and parents (with the evidence showing that having married parents provides children with a more stable childhood than those with parents who simply cohabitate).

Nowadays, more and more children are growing up with their only perception of marriage being from the media (many ending in divorce, not having children) or from parents who either aren’t married to each other or whose marriages have failed and aren’t together. This dramatic upheaval of the family structure has blinded younger generations from what marriage truly means, how it’s different to cohabitation and how it changes you as a person. Add on top of that the fact that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, and no wonder young people get cold feet about the whole affair – if you saw your parents go through that, it definitely wouldn’t be an experience you’d want for yourself and your spouse, especially if you had children who could understand what was happening.

To be married to someone means to be dedicated to building a shared life together, committed to providing financially and emotionally and (ideally) wanting to have children and start a family. It’s the difference of referring to your significant other as your girl/boyfriend or partner and referring to them as your husband or wife. So many dating relationships fail because the participants simply don’t have a plan or a desired outcome – often, it’s because they don’t want to commit to one specific goal (e.g. marriage) or are afraid. They may share similar interests and hobbies and be physically attracted to them, but at some point, the tough questions need to be answered and the answers ironed out. What is the plan for this relationship? Do we share the same values (religious, moral, political)? Do we want children and so, how would we raise them religiously?

This may seem far too forward for the youth of today, wanting instead only to focus on one-night stands and what hobbies they share, but figuring the important stuff out early on is crucial in not staying in dead-end relationships and instead of finding your future spouse. To be married someone means you want to protect them, commit to them and love them 100%. It is no wonder that studies have repeatedly found that (when all these factors are achieved) those in good marriage are on average happier, healthier and wealthier than those who aren’t.

A common rebuttal by the young to the benefits and joys of marriage is that you can live together perfectly happily in a relationship and NOT be married (and indeed, the freedom to live together out of wedlock is a common and easy alternative to marriage) – but after you take those vows and step back into your house, your life is bonded to another person’s, and the expectations, commitments and obligations you now gain are representative of that bond. Marriage is a symbol of your love and devotion, and that you want to share everything you have with said person. Cohabitation could be because of financial incapability to rent a single apartment or out of another mutual need – marriage is by definition, a commitment you make freely and willingly, knowing beforehand what will change and how your priorities will change, whether that be children or work-related.

In a time of so much social and political change, with Black Lives Matter, Brexit and the growing transgender movement, this one staple of devotion and love ought to be pursued by more people, for the joys it can bring are unrivalled apart from having children. So young people, I among you, I implore you to reject these fantasies of partying forever and seeking casual sex every night and instead set yourself the far greater and more fulfilling goal of getting married – your life, and the lives of your future spouse and children, will be infinitely better because of it.


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10 Best Books on International Politics

When we read books about politics, many of us may be more inclined to read about what happens in the Anglosphere. It’s natural really- it’s our language, closer to our culture and what we see about on the news.

It is, however, always refreshing to expand our horizons. Here are ten of my favourite books, handpicked, on non-Western international politics and history.

Dictatorland: The Men Who Stole Africa- Paul Kenyon

You may have already read my glowing review of this book and if you haven’t, get to it. This book discusses several contemporary and older dictators of Africa, from the slain Gaddafi of Libya to the man who has been in charge of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. It starts with colonialism, slithers through independence and continues afterwards. Some dictators were murdered, others remained for years or were finally booted out of office.

    It’s a great study of colonialism, the promise of freedom and how these countries suffered under the men who offered them so much. These nations should be rich due to oil and other resources, yet only a few manage to make money from said resources. We learn about dictators who are worth billions, contrasting with the people who live in abject poverty.

    Best Feature: Covers several countries, allowing the reader a greater scope.

    Queens of the Kingdom: The Women of Saudi Arabia- Nicola Sutcliff

    Everyone has their own preconceived ideas of Saudi Arabia, so prepare to have your views challenged. Sutcliff interviews a large number of women who live in the mystical kingdom- wealthy housewives, educated entrepreneurs and illiterate village dwellers among them. They give their views on everything from marriage to education.

    Some are thrilled with having their family keep them close and husbands who are their guardians. Others have experienced insurmountable horror with beatings and underage marriage. What links them all is a love for their culture and country, no matter what they think of their society.

    Best Feature: The women really tell you what they think.

    El Narco- Ioan Grillo

    Many readers will have watched Netflix’s hit show Narcos, which shows the work of the DEA in Colombia and the life of Pablo Escobar. Grillo’s book is the real deal, chronicling the Mexican drug cartels that have gripped the beautiful Central American nature.

    There’s no glamourising money, cars and women here. It’s all gritty, the truth behind the devastation. Kidnappings, murders and tortures are aplenty. Friends turn on friends. Journalists are targeted. Innocent people are killed in the crossfire.

    Best Feature: Grillo lays out the strategies of successive Mexican and American governments regarding the War on Drugs.

    Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women- Christina Lamb

    I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of documentaries about depressing issues, but this book is easily the most shocking and heartbreaking thing I’ve ever read.

    From the refugee camps in Syria to the survivors of Rwanda, we learn about the use of rape as a weapon of war and what it does to women. These women have been raped and tortured. Babies and elderly women aren’t exempt from brutality. Governments ignore it. Rapists get away with it. Families and communities shun victims.

    It’s extremely brutal and doesn’t pull punches when it describes what happens to these women, but there are moments of hope that shine through.

    Best Feature: It shows how war rape has been used for centuries and in every corner of the world

    Shake Hands With the Devil- Romeo Dallaire

    Up to one million people were killed in the space of a few months in three months in 1994 Rwanda. This book is written by Romeo Dallaire, leader of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). Dallaire had a front row seat to the slaughter, taking us from his early life in terror-ridden Quebec to his life after Rwanda.

    It makes one pretty angry- Dallaire desperately tried to get the UN to take notice of what was about to happen, but was ignored. People on the ground did nothing. Villagers slaughtered the people they lived with for years. Dallaire suffered from PTSD and attempted to take his life several times afterwards. It’s essential reading.

    Best Feature: It really portrays the absolute hell on earth that is the Rwandan Genocide

    First They Killed My Father- Loung Ung

    I’m pretty much a hard arse when it comes to movies, but the film of this book had me crying.

    Loung Ung was one of seven siblings in a prosperous, middle-class Phnom Penh. Her life turned upside down upon the arrival of the Khmer Rouge and rise of Pol Pot. Ung then lived through the unimaginable- the death of most of her family, living through forced labour and being a child soldier.

    It was a book that made me often wonder if I was actually reading a true story, for it felt like I was reading a fictional dystopia.

    Best Feature: Gives an inside view of one of the world’s most horrendous contemporary crimes

    Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi

    Unusual in that it’s a graphic novel, Persepolis is the true story of the Iranian-born Marjane Satrapi. Born into an intellectual, liberal Iranian family, Marjane Satrapi was young when the revolution happened. From the first time she was forced into a hijab, Satrapi hated the new regime. Her rebellious nature led her family to send her abroad out of fear she’d be executed.

    Satrapi contrasts her life in the West and in Iran. She talks about her family, what romance is like in the conservative regime and how she sneakily listened to American rock music.

    Best Feature: It’s a story of a fish out of water in a very real way

    Girl With a Gun- Diana Nammi and Karen Attwood

    Diana Nammi was only a teenager when she became part of the Peshmerga, part of Iranian Kurdistan. Nammi fought on the frontlines and in the process became one of Iran’s most wanted people. She saw death and survived it herself.

    Nammi now resides in the U.K., founded a charity for women and has been instrumental in the fight against child marriage. She had to move her for her own safety, but her love for her people is clear.

    Best Feature: Gives a great insight into Kurdish culture

    Without You, There is No Us- Suki Kim

    North Korea is the world’s most secretive country and in this book, Suki Kim infiltrated it. The journalist spent some time as a teacher for the elite’s sons. Her notes and documents had to be kept secret and her life was restrictive. Suki discusses how she became close to her initially unwilling students, where the two cultures learned about one another and how the prospect of watching Harry Potter thrilled them.

    It’s sweet but sad- these kids are just like us, yet live in a regime which doesn’t allow their full potential. On top of that, it’s a very personal look at North Korea instead of the outside analysis that is usually the only thing available.

    Best Feature: We get to know these teenage boys and their dreams.

    Nuclear Folly- Serhii Plokhy

    I’m cheating slightly here as a chunk of the book is set and about the US, but it gives equal treatment to Cuba and the Soviet Union. The year is 1962 and when recon planes catch sight of missile structures on Cuba, all hell breaks loose. We learn about the origins of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro’s desperate attempts to fight the US, Khrushchev’s role and how the Kennedy administration reacted.

    It’s pretty shocking to read how damn close the world came to nuclear war and how Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense under Kennedy) only learned that the missiles were offensive and not just defensive thirty years later. Each of the three leaders had their own fate- Kennedy was assassinated a year later, Khrushchev was eventually pushed out for his role and Castro outlived them both by decades.

    Best Feature: Very intricate in details


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    Words not Deeds

    I think it’s safe to assume, second only to the United States, Britain has the largest ‘free speech network’ in the Anglosphere. Comprised of any array of pressure groups, organisations, commentators, broadcasters, forums, publications, and self-appointed champions and activists.

    Despite this well-funded and high-profile network of talking-heads, very few have spoken out in defence of Sam Melia, Yorkshire organiser for Patriotic Alternative, an organisation described by The Times as “Britain’s largest far-right white supremacist movement”. Gee, I wonder why?

    Of course, there have been a few condemnations of this ruling, although they have been written on the assumption that Melia’s points are just mindless bigotry, and that such vulgarity would be better combatted in an open forum. It’s assumed that even the general thrust of Melia’s angst isn’t up for serious discussion, or vaguely reflected by large sections of the public. In other words, it is (somehow) not legitimately political, even if one believes it to be wrong, for whatever reason.

    For context, last month, Leeds Crown Court returned a unanimous verdict after less than a day of deliberating after an eight-day trial. Sentencing has been adjourned whilst a pre-sentence report is being prepared and Melia been granted bail until he appears in court again on March 1st.

    In April 2021, police uncovered a catalogue of downloadable stickers which were being distributed a group known as the Hundred Handers, an anonymous group of anti-immigration activists led by Melia, responsible for series of so-called “stickering incidents” between 2019 and 2021.

    The court concluded that the stickers were “intended to stir up racial hatred” and “intentionally encouraging or assisting racially aggravated criminal damage”, further declaring that the stickering had “caused fear or alarm” – a delightfully vague and flexible justification.

    Moreover, the argument that knowingly supplying material with the mere potentiality of being used in one of a multitude of ways constitutes “criminal damage” isn’t just contrived, it necessarily extends beyond fascist activism, applying to every political cause under the sun.

    So, what did these stickers say? What made them so egregious that it was worth the court’s time? Well, one of them read “Labour loves Muslim rape gangs” – a slightly misleading statement, given that the Tories are a soft-touch too.

    Don’t just take my word for it. Following the acid attack by Abdul Ezedi, a known sex offender who was granted asylum on his third attempt after claiming he had converted to Christianity, Gillian Keegan, Education secretary and Conservative MP said:

    “This is not really about asylum, this is about the attack on a mother and her children, which was horrific.”

    Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, the constituency where the attack took place, echoed Keegan’s comments on Ezedi’s asylum status and the all-encompassing ‘importance’ of microaggressions stating:

    “His [Ezedi] asylum status is not really the issue of concern.”

    Indeed, the attack was horrific, but it’s abundantly clear that asylum is absolutely part of the equation, much more so than gender. Out of the 710 acid attacks in Britain last year, 339 of the victims were women whilst 317 were men. Erstwhile, had the Home Office not permitted Ezedi to enter the country, and for quite intuitive and grounded reasons, the attack simply would not have occurred.

    Unlike Melia, an unremarkable member of the public based in Leeds, one of the UK’s largest cities, who was found and arrested near-instantaneously, Ezedi, a man with a half-melted face in London, one of the most surveilled city on the planet, has evaded arrest for an entire week.

    Britain’s police are so befuddled at the whereabouts of that they’ve taken to handing out cash prizes to violent criminals and grovelling on live TV, asking Ezedi to turn himself over.

    Much has been said about the police’s waning capability and/or interest in dealing with serious crime, notwithstanding the many coppers who I’m sure are frustrated by the incompetence of their managers, but very little has been said about the force’s bizarre theory of mind.

    How is it possible that an institution which has “modernised” so much over recent decades, jampacking its personnel with psychiatrists, criminologists, therapists, and charity workers, simply not understand how criminals think? Either they’re bad at their job or they’re theories are bunk. I’m inclined to think it’s both, skewing towards the latter.

    Another of Melia’s stickers read “We will be a minority in our homeland by 2066” – “we” referring to White British people, “2066” referring to the date calculated from research conducted by demographer David Coleman, then-Professor at Oxford University, into Britain’s changing demographics back in 2013.

    Again, what exactly is the cause for concern here? Merely 10 years ago, Coleman’s findings were getting write-ups and openly discussed in ‘respectable’ centre-left outlets, such as Prospect Magazine, The Guardian, and The Independent. Throw in the BBC if you feel so inclined.

    This information, conducted by a highly respected demographer, out-dated though it might be, especially given the recent spike in immigration and the ensuing population growth, hasn’t been treated as a fringe, esoteric, and/or conspiratorial for the vast majority of the time it has been public.

    Yes, freedom of speech should apply to all; that includes alleged and actual fascists, Nazis, communists, socialists, anarchists, supremacists of all creeds and colours, and even Piers Morgan. If our political class were to ever come around to this, they’d understand the efforts of the state are best directed at dealing with people like Ezedi, rather than people like Melia.

    After all, if it has become the official view of the state that one can only express approval for such findings – that or nothing at all – then this absolutely should concern civil libertarians, whatever their political colours, regardless of what The Times says about the ‘offending’ individual and/or organisation in question.

    Other stickers distributed by Melia and the Hundred Handers said: “Mass immigration is white genocide” and “Second-generation? Third? Fourth? You have to go back”.

    This is where things get a little more controversial, although it stands to reason that freedom of speech isn’t valued (r feared) for its capacity to regurgitate uncontroversial points of view. When people marched through the middle of London, opposing what they perceived as a genocide by the Israelis against the Palestinians, were there protests en-masse? Were there legal repercussions for chanting ethnonationalist slogans of a foreign nation, such as From the River to the Sea? Not really, quite the opposite.

    Simply put, it cannot be right that one group seeking collective preservation is given the freedom to do so, with near absolute freedom in their methods, turning out in their hundreds of thousands, whilst another group seeking collective preservation, with very few members in their movement and no electoral representation or visible popular support, is denied basic freedom.

    This is not to say the protests weren’t problematic in other ways. Indeed, the problem with said protests was less to do with their opposition to the Israeli government and more due to the nature of allegiance revealed by the bulk of attendees, especially the organisers (Hiz but-Tahrir, an international pan-Islamist organisation, view their constituency in global, post-national terms) and the overlapping demographic implications for the broader body politic (it stands to reason that using one nation as a conduit for another nation’s interests is far from democratic).

    My view is elucidated rather well by Ronald Reagan, then-President of the Screen Actors Guild, testifying as a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in October 1947:

    “As a citizen, I would hesitate to see any political party outlawed on the basis of its political ideology. We have spent 170 years in this country on the basis that democracy is strong enough to stand up and fight against the inroads of any ideology. However, if it is proven that an organisation is an agent of a foreign power, or in any way not a legitimate political party – and I think the Government is capable of proving that – then that is another matter.”

    Understandably, there are qualms as to whether either camp’s claim to genocide is technically accurate, although both would claim ongoing circumstances function in much the same way. This can be discussed in a frank and open matter without the throwing people in the slammer.

    As for the deportation stickers, once one accepts the likes of Melia on their own aforementioned terms – or, at the very least, is aware of the social implications of demographic change (i.e. social unrest) – one realises that a serious point is trying to be made, even if with an obvious hint of provocation.

    Right now, the police are suggesting Ezedi is being helped by those in his community. More than the unsubtitled announcement of this revelation, sidelining the otherwise English-speaking population from their own domestic affairs, this shows a severe, multi-generational, and absolute lack of assimilation. You can moralise about the efficacy of deportations all you want, but we needn’t pretend that growing foreign contingencies inside our borders hasn’t created major problems.

    In addition to naughty stickers, police also found a poster of Adolf Hitler on his wall and a book by Oswald Mosley at Melia’s home. For some reason, this is important. I’ve got books by and about Vladimir Lenin, Antonio Gramsci, Joseph Stalin, Chantal Mouffe, Karl Marx, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben and I’m not a radical leftist, or any kind of leftist for that matter.

    Of course, given the stickers and his choice of paraphernalia, we can safely assume Melia is pretty right-wing.  Then again, why should that matter? It is more than possible to have extreme views without being a threat to civilised society, just as one can hold moderate views to such a fanatic and unwavering extent that deviations from the illustrious ‘centre’.

    In the case of the latter, the persecution of such people is seen as a necessary precaution to protect their modus operandi – typically, “liberal values” or “liberal democracy” – much in the same way many ‘extremists’ view persecution of dissidents as a necessary precaution for protecting their own modus operandi: the revolution, the state, the proletariat, the volk, and so on.

    Indeed, views in and of themselves are basically harmless, although much of our political system evidently disagrees. In a similar vein to Keegan and Ribeiro-Addy, Conservative MP and Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee (yes, really) Caroline Noakes’ reaction to the Ezedi case centred around microaggressions – that is, words and mannerism whichcould hypothetically be interpreted as or lead to actions which are harmful:

    “I think there’s a really important message here which is, with respect, the media are not interested in microaggressions, they want to hear about the most egregious offences.

    “The stark reality is every day women will face misogyny and microaggressions. If you’re a woman of colour it will be worse, and we have to be better at understanding the culture that makes men think ‘that’s ok’. It’s not OK and you can see a pattern of behaviours that lead to really horrific crimes.”

    The inverse and counter-intuitive approach our politicians and judicial system take towards words and actions is so confounding it form the basis of a derivative dystopia novel. Alas, it is the quite logical conclusion of our liberal-democratic political system, in which swathes of policy are depoliticised by filtering them the language of rights.

    In Metapolitics, Badiou describes the role of political philosophy in reducing politics from a process of transformation defined by enmity to a passive exchange (a battle, some might say) of ideas:

    “The central operation of political philosophy thus conceived is… first and foremost, to restore politics, not to the subjective reality of organized and militant processes… but to the exercise of ‘free judgement in a public space where, ultimately, only opinions count.”

    This is certainly true, although it is quite clear that politics has deteriorated past this point, for the articulation of political philosophy itself is being drastically restricted. One is increasingly unpermitted to say or believe things happen or should happen for any other reason the one established by those in positions of officialdom.

    Not only has the uniparty agreed that nothing can really be done about people like Ezedi coming into the country, absconding the idea something can be done to prevent people of his ilk from entering the country, they decreed the cause as if it were not up for debate: Andrew Tate saying women can’t drive is the problem, not the Human Right Act (1998).

    Of course, Ezedi’s ability to game the asylum system via by the Human Rights Act (1998) was contingent on his claim of religious conversion, and the prospect of persecution should he return to Afghanistan, despite the fact he intended to return anyway.

    Contrary to initial claims, Ezedi’s baptism was conducted by a Baptist priest. Sure, progressive Anglican priests have played an enabling role in other cases of a similar nature, such as the Liverpool Women’s Hospital bombing, and comprise an annoying large section of the CofE’s internal structure, but let’s try and get our Protestant denominations right before we point the finger. The willingness of many on the right to attack the CofE, just to swipe at the easily and rightfully detested Welby, was generally quite pathetic, especially considering ultimate responsibility lies with the Home Office.

    In a time of liberal-left ideological hegemony, swelling with liberal universalism and race communism, you must ask yourself: do you have the populist gusto to berate the small handful of octogenarians who continue to read the Book of Common Prayer? Do you have the dissident bravery to attack what little semblance remains of Britain’s established Christian identity?

    Indeed, basically every other religious organisation in Britain is ‘complicit’ in charitable efforts designed to help refuges and converts into the country, real or not, with the bulk of anti-deportation charities and activists having no religious motivation and affiliation at all. The Board of Deputies of Jews has continuously opposed efforts to make asylum laws more strict, whilst the Muslim Council of Britain advertises relief and aid advice no different to that contained in the CofE document making the rounds.

    To any fair-minded opponent of liberal immigration policy, this should constitute an outrage. Alas, as Britain’s left-right becomes a proxy for the mutual animosity between Muslims and Jews, revitalised by the Israel-Palestine conflict, treating the established church as a conniving force is sure to become a new feature of our national common ground.

    According to an eruditely conservative Anglican friend, the clergy doesn’t spend much time catechising with little-to-no effort being invested into understanding the catechumen before their baptism. In a similar fashion to the Home Office’s treatment of asylum applications, everything is done at a recklessly fast pace, with some newcomers being confirmed into the Church a couple of months after their supposed conversion.

    Compared with more conservative parishes, in which the clergy spend well-over half-a-year getting to know their converts, it’s clear that one of the major problems facing the Church, moreso than accusations of whimsy naivete or malicious treason, and accompanying the already well-documented tendency of progressive Christians to reduce their theology to a grand metaphor, is the lack of zeal amongst much of its clergy. An unfashionable but necessary disposition, the pedantic conservatism of the Church has been sidelined in the pursuit of goal completely antithetical to the spirit of the Church itself: reflecting the society it wishes to elevate.

    Unlike the aforementioned individuals and organisations in this article, who are guilty of prioritising words over deeds, the current Church’s fixation on deeds very much detracts from the words on which such endeavours are meant to be considered, shaped, and executed.

    This hegemonic emphasis in the Church on being a do-gooder, on doing charity for the sake of charity, showing little-to-no consideration for textual analysis or well-rounded practical considerations, lest one wishes their faith to be pigeonholed as mere eccentricity or stuffy reactionaryism, runs deep into the “Quakerification” of the Church of England and post-war Britain generally. The extent to which Quakers are so charity-oriented is reflected by their small handful of members, the most “pious” of whom are on the fence as to whether they even believe in the essentials of Christianity or not.

    This is an unsurprising development when one considers the Quaker roots of the organisations integral to the maintenance of the status quo, forces to which the progressive elements of the Church have allied themselves: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Lloyd’s Foundation, The Barclay Foundation, and so on. The next time some midwit reformer wonk tells you religion doesn’t matter in the nitty-gritty of policy – least of all, in a post-religious Britain – hit them with “Blairism is secularised Quakerism” and watch them self-combust.

    An avowed atheist, Clement Attlee, central architect of Britain’s post-war consensus, said of Christianity:

    “I’m one of those people who are incapable of religious feeling… Believe in the ethics of Christianity. Can’t believe in the mumbo jumbo.

    Eventually, Attlee’s sentimentally Christian, but ultimately Atheistic, path to a “New Jerusalem” would be supplanted by Thatcher’s scrupulous and austere Methodism. Contrary to characterisations made by detractors and supporters, insisting Margaret’s Method was rooted in relishing the vulgarity and excess of yuppies, it was explicitly founded on the individualistic Pauline doctrine of the New Testament.

    It would take Blair’s Quaker-ishness to bring the role of religion back into public life. John MacMurray, Tony Blair’s favourite philosopher (as described by Blair himself) became a Quaker near the end of his life, the culmination of his quasi-personalist philosophy, developed on the cusp of (although absolutely not opposed to) the development of modern liberalism. Thereafter, religion’s only permissible utility was its ability to make people feel less lonely in an atomised world, steering clear of anything beyond a shallow, practically non-existent, ultimately contemptuous consideration for scripture, symbol, or sacrament.

    Should it be any surprise that the Blairite state allows pseudo-Christians into our country so easily?

    Sure, a more critical approach to matters of faith would greatly benefit us in keeping foreign-born sex-offenders out of the country, but this runs against the current of a political obsession with words, not deeds. Nevertheless, if our system placed greater emphasis on Ezedi’s past deeds when processing his claim to asylum, and a little less on words slapped on a few dozen stickers, we’d be simultaneously safer and freer as a result.


    Photo Credit.

    Another Organization? Splendid!

    Popular Conservatism (PopCon) has just launched and it’s about as popular as booting a crippled dog into oncoming traffic. Spearheaded by Liz Truss, the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history and the most unpopular Conservative politician in the country, the organization is begging to be ridiculed by the media and the public.

    However, whilst Truss is the face of the group, the organization is directed by Mark Littlewood, former director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a pro-immigration think-tank. Like Truss, Littlewood is a former Liberal Democrat, serving as director for Liberal Vision, a group of economic liberals within the party. Unlike Truss, he’s a former of the Pro-Euro Conservative Party (PECP), a minor offshoot of the Tories which campaigned for Britain to adopt the Euro and oust then-leader William Hague in favour of arch-Europhile Kenneth Clarke. After the dissolution of the PECP, Littlewood became an advisor to the Conservative Party under the leadership of David Cameron.

    Earlier in life, Littlewood worked for the European Movement, an all-party group campaigning for British membership of a federalised Europe; Liberty, the human rights advocacy group which spearheaded campaigns to implement and maintain the Human Rights Act; and NO2ID, a group which campaigns against the introduction of ID cards.

    So, what does Popular Conservatism stand for? Apparently, its aims are: “inform and educate candidates and MPs about the need to reform Britain’s bureaucratic structures” and “advance these policies across the country, whilst demonstrating their popularity.”

    According to Littlewood, PopCon is about: “Giving ordinary people, taxpayers and voters, their freedom back. That was what Brexit was supposed to be about: taking back control.”

    Taking Back Control? Why would Littlewood care about Taking Back Control? Littlewood changed his view on EU integration at the time of the referendum, writing in a personal statement:

    “Twenty years ago, I was a passionate and enthusiastic supporter of European integration. I was President of the UK branch of the Young European Federalists in 1996 and my first job was working for the European Movement. I was enthusiastic about the UK joining the single currency and I even supported the Pro-Euro Conservative Party, a breakaway from the Conservatives on the issue of Britain’s relationship with the EU.

    “Since then, and bit by bit, my thinking has evolved and the European Union, in my judgment, has increasingly become a force for heavy handed and petty regulation rather than for free market liberalism. The EU is no longer the deregulatory single-market it once aspired to be. Instead, it has become a monolithic and increasingly interventionist bureaucratic super-state. After considerable thought – and with a heavy heart – I have reached the conclusion that Britain would be best advised to leave the EU and I will be voting accordingly on 23rd June.

    “I believe there are risks and uncertainties involved in going for Brexit, but these are – on balance -risks worth taking. There is no guarantee that Britain will become a more outward-looking, globally free trading, open and free society outside of the EU. But there is, in my view, a pretty good chance of it.

    In summary, Littlewood’s euroscepticism (and by extension, the bent of PopCon’s brand of politics) is rooted in the belief the EU (much like the UK, presuambly) has become too protectionist, too nationalist, too conservative and too isolationist, hindering Britain’s ability to push ahead with economic and cultural globalisation. In the government’s own words:

    “Global Britain is about reinvesting in our relationships, championing the rules-based international order and demonstrating that the UK is open, outward-looking and confident on the world stage.”

    This aspiration, typically referred to as “Global Britain”, is uncommon amongst Brexiteers generally, but quite popular with a narrow clique of largely London-centric free-marketeers, comprised largely of Tory staffers, centre-right policy wonks, disgruntled civil servants, conservative commentators, and Thatcherite MPs. GBNews’ Tom Harwood, former Chair of Students for Britain, summarises the disposition of this demographic briefly but well: “open globalism, not narrow regionalism”. That’s right, we’re the real cosmopolitan internationalists, the left are the real provincialists!

    As many will remember, “Global Britain” was announced as the official post-Brexit endeavour of the Conservative governments of Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, albeit the first and second were over-encumbered by the withdrawal process and Covid to implement many of their desired reforms – besides, of course, importing an unprecedented number of immigrants. Consequently, whilst Boris was intended as the figurehead for Global Britain, the role ultimately fell to Liz “Boris 2.0” Truss.

    For clarity, there is nothing particularly radical about “Global Britain”. It has always been the Menshevik position within the Brexit coalition. Throughout the referendum it was occasionally used as a polemical tactic (i.e. Let’s Go WTO), but nothing more. Contrasted to the Bolshevik aspiration of turning Britain into an island fortress, derided by Britpoppers as “Little England”, the Menshevik aspiration is to turn Britain into a mass financial district, in which vampiric multinationals terrorise Middle England from above and an imported underclass of cheap labour, violent criminals, and ethnic displacement terrorises it from below.

    Of course, it’s colossally terrible but it’s not too dissimilar to the relatively liberal arrangement we had before Brexit and certainly no different to the arrangement we have now. Alas, this doesn’t stop PopCons from complaining the system is stacked against efforts at economic liberalisation. Yes, the planning system is needlessly complicated, but there’s no need for hyperbole; weaning people off microplastics and ultra-processed food isn’t Soviet.

    Essentially, both Global Britain and PopCon are tendencies born out of the ideas contained in Britannia Unchained, a book which seeks to answer the question on everyone’s mind: “How can we get white British people to work more for less and demographically replace them in the process?”. Making immigration uncontroversial by making it productive, saying NO to identity politics, saying NO to the Nanny State, Getting On Your Bike, STEM, India Superpower 2020, Peace… through Commerce. Real Tory Boy stuff.

    This leads into another problem with PopCon. It isn’t just its initial unpopularity, it has no idea how to be popular, despite the fact the answers have been in plain sight for years. Boris Johnson’s popularity peaked when he promised to end immigration and shouted “Fuck Business” to a Belgian diplomat. Theresa May, a completely unknown and irrelevant politician, reached unprecedented levels of popularity after the referendum when she was attacking “citizens of nowhere” to such an extent she was being compared to Adolf Hitler. David Cameron reached the height of his popularity when he was promising to reduce immigration and hold a referendum on the EU, threatening to leave the ECHR, and declaring state multiculturalism to be a failure.

    Compare this with Liz Truss. In her historically brief tenure, she tried to pursue free movement and trade with India and borrow billions to fund tax cuts for the rich. Suella Braverman, for all her many faults, understood during her leadership bid that leaving the ECHR and stopping illegal immigration are popular with the public, especially with voters in the Red Wall – policies which PopCon lightly sprinkled into their otherwise bland, derivative, and highly ironic attempt at wrapping Orange Book Liberalism in a flag.

    Flip-flopping seemed to be an integral theme of the PopCon event. As established, Littlewood and Truss are former Lib Dems, but Anderson is former Labour, Farage was pivoting back and forth between endorsement and dismissal throughout the whole thing, and Holly Valance gave an unrelentingly generic interview stating life is about being left-wing, making money, and then moving rightwards.

    This obsession with switching is bizarre, but it’s the recurring tendency one should expect from an organization which simultaneously fights for the so-called “rules-based international order” and complains about an arbitrary global humanitarian class undermining national democracy; fronted by a former Prime Minister and her group of orbiters who’ve done nothing in their 14 years of government to address any of the problems their organization hopes to “inform and educate” us about.

    PopCon doesn’t seem to understand that some of us have been aware of the Great Replacement, Cultural Marxism and The Blob since secondary school. We don’t need to be told that some people think there are more than two genders or that state-funded charities and quangos are jampacked with people who hate our country; we don’t need to be told liberal-left ideas and values are hegemonic, or that illegal immigrants take advantage of the welfare system. We are children of the revolution, for Christ’s sake!

    All the way down, PopCon is a group for people to scratch their heads at problems they have helped to create, assuming nobody else has identified them before, and offer milquetoast solutions with the galling expectation of jubilant applause.

    It is slightly comical. 2030 will arrive and Liz Truss will be explaining the drawbacks of the sexual revolution and quoting G.K Chesterton. Erstwhile, MechaBlair will be conscripting masses of young White British men to fight Populism in Ukraine and organizing taxpayer-subsidised migrant mega-orgies in The North. Indeed, trying to make political progress with the present batch of Conservative MPs is like trying to scale Mount Everest with Stephen Hawking; it’s really quite demoralising.

    Whilst Donald Trump is saying immigrants “poison the blood” of America, whilst Germany’s AFD is advocating mass remigration, whilst France’s Eric Zemmour is openly discussing demographic displacement, the British right is forced to contend with another attempt to rehabilitate Thatcherism, another attempt to undercut the emergent nationalist, protectionist, and socially conservative elements of the right which have been trying to take root in established positions since the referendum; another perversion of the anti-immigration spirit of Take Back Control (TBC), framed in terms of mere economic and legal technicality, adorning it with another SW1-friendly signifier to go with the rest: TBC as a vote for liberalism, as a call for localist devolution, as a general dislike of politicians, as a mere symptom of economic turbulence, as a nationwide Freudian psychodrama.

    Despite all of this, despite my complete contempt for PopCon, I’m glad it exists. In all sincerity and without a hint of contrarianism. PopCon is bad because it’s Tory-branded Globalism run by Thatcherite Zombies without a hint of self-awareness, creativity, or charisma, not because it’s “another organization” – a complaint I’m absolutely sick of hearing from supposedly disaffected voices.

    At present, Britain doesn’t have a political culture, but it wasn’t always this way. Indeed, some people (mainly our anti-political overlords and pseudo-Anglos within and adjacent to our circles) have espoused the notion that political organization is somehow terribly un-English. However, a brief glance at history tells us that beneath gentle-mannered disposition (some might say caricature) of the native population, political organization, rowdiness, and militancy – even outright violence – have existed for several hundred years in this country, boiling beneath the surface of even standard parliamentary exchanges.

    The snobbish anti-partisanship of those who are disgruntled by the lack of action but see themselves above political organization are an abject cancer. Everyone has remarked that MPs enter Parliament to immediately do something else, whether it’s charity work or presenting a TV show, but few have surmised what this means. It shows that power is contingent on the wider superstructure of society; the Overton Window must be adapted so political objectives can fully actualise themselves and legislated into reality, something the enemies of Britain have done and are currently doing very well.

    As such, we don’t need less organization or less division, we need more. More organization, more division, more militancy, more enmity, more ideology, more partisanship, more coups, more activism, more conflict, more metapolitics of every form and variety. Let the Darwinian selection processes of the political run wild; radicalise democracy against every rendition of liberalism and rejoice as it stampedes over the latter’s mangled corpse. No, PopCon doesn’t deserve to fail… it deserves to be killed.


    Photo Credit.

    On Freedom of Navigation

    Amidst the present difficulties in transmitting knowledge from one generation of educated people to the next, one principle that seems to have been mislaid is freedom of navigation. This has been laid bare by commentary on the recent Anglo-American operations in the Red Sea against the Houthis. Hence, it is worth offering a short explanation of freedom of navigation: what it is, its history prior to its modern codified universalisation and its defences up to the present.

    Before its codification by the United Nations, freedom of navigation was part of customary international law, by its nature quite distinct from how modern international law is established and enforced. It originated in the Dutch Republic’s rule of mare liberum (free seas), coined by influential Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius in 1609, which considered neutral ships and their goods inviolable on the high seas. Naturally, this could benefit trading powers like the Dutch, but came into competition with competing Consolato customs. These were named after the Aragonese Consulate of the Sea, both a body to administer maritime law and a collection of maritime ordinances codified since at least 1494. These rules determined neutral ships could be attacked in times of war to seize enemy goods, but even on enemy ships neutral goods could not be taken. By the seventeenth century, Consolato was often paired with the concept of mare clausum (closed sea), coined in 1635 by English jurist John Selden, which held that areas of the sea could be entirely closed off from foreign shipping. Both principles were supported by the major naval powers of the day, including England, France and Spain.

    As was the case with a number of pivotal concepts in European history, mare liberum was often fought for over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, first by the Dutch alone but later by the nascent American Republic and the Russian Empire as a right of neutral states. The cause of freedom of navigation was greatly assisted during this period by the Dutch victory in the Eighty Years’ War against Spain, as well as the later decline of Spain and Portugal as dominant powers who had attempted to apply mare clausum to the New World’s seas. Another conceptual innovation emerged to resolve some discrepancies between the rival customs in 1702, as Dutch jurist Cornelius van Bynkershoek formulated that maritime dominion corresponded with the distance coastal cannons could effectively protect it; the range of the most advanced cannon at the time was three nautical miles. Beyond the Dutch, naval powers still employed the Consolato principle into the nineteenth century against other countries, especially during major conflicts, but this could be superseded in treaties by freedom of navigation. Ultimately, this became the case for all European powers at the end of the Crimean War in the 1856 Declaration of Paris Respecting Maritime Law, which synthesised the two customs into a rule that enemy goods were covered by a neutral flag whilst neutral goods could not be seized on enemy ships. Arguably, this built upon the Congress of Vienna’s grant of freedom of navigation to key European rivers, which constituted multiple states’ new borders and economic arteries, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. The exceptions to the rule outlined by the 1856 declaration were effective blockade and contraband, whereas privateering (in other words, state-sanctioned piracy) was confirmed to be abolished. As Europe proceeded to dominate the world in the nineteenth century, so too did the inviolability of neutral commercial shipping and their freedom to navigate the seas as their juridically innocent business permitted.

    Of course, the growth of freedom of navigation did not result in the disappearance of piracy, nor pirate states. For instance, the United States, Sweden and Sicily fought wars against the Barbary corsairs in the early nineteenth century to ensure the freedom of their merchant ships from ransom and enslavement in the Mediterranean, despite only Sicily possessing an obvious interest in the region. In recent weeks, the Houthis have proven themselves to be another such pirate state through their rather indiscriminate attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. In response, Britain and America (with support from several other countries) have attempted to neutralise this threat to freedom of navigation under Operation Prosperity Guardian. In theory, this should be the least controversial Middle Eastern intervention conducted during this century thus far, since the Houthis are plainly violating the neutrality of benign ships under neutral flags. At the time of writing, there is no hint from the intervening powers of the neoconservative adventurism which defined the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor strong intentions to impose changes on Houthi internal affairs beyond the immediate issue at hand. In practice, the war in Israel has entirely toxified any discourse surrounding events in the Red Sea. Instead of realism, one witnesses what is allegedly another instalment of the clash of civilisations. Whatever the merits of Samuel Huntington’s thesis of contemporary world affairs, such hyperbolic reactions to events in the Red Sea overestimate their significance.

    If America did not exist, it would be in India or China’s interest to assert freedom of navigation in the region due to its foundational importance to the global economy. Readers should bear in mind that the principle has only a tangential relationship to a nation’s trade policy. Although freedom of navigation is a precondition of free trade, it does not determine the extent to which a ship’s goods are impeded from accessing markets at port, only that the international movement of goods can occur without undue harassment. Perhaps a handful of countries at most could be expected to subsist today to a reasonable standard without substantial trade, an interesting notion in itself but beyond the scope of this article. Likewise, most, if not all, nations lack the naval strength to forcibly guarantee the security of their commercial shipping worldwide, given the sheer volume and frequency of post-containerisation international trade. This means freedom of navigation ought not only to be remembered by readers, but as a matter of historical preference and present necessity defended into the future.


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