Too Woke for Her Own Good

The fall of Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister in the U.K.’s system of “devolved” government, after an unbroken succession of election victories since 2007, is a highly consequential one. It postpones the Scottish National Party’s (and her) driving purpose of independence for Scotland, maybe indefinitely. Yet at the same time it’s an oddly anti-climactic event too.

One moment Sturgeon was the dominant figure in Scottish politics, the noisy center of a storm of massive scandals, controversies, and looming battles; the next moment, hey presto, she had gone, retired because of "exhaustion," and the expected grand fireworks display of fizzing crises fizzled out without even a bang.

This sense of anti-climax is explained in part by the fact that under the leadership of Sturgeon and her patron and predecessor, Alex Salmond, who first took the S.N.P. into office as First Minister in 2007, Scottish politics has been a high-voltage, high-energy activity, a crusade to break up the U.K. and to restore the Scottish sovereignty lost at the start of the modern age.

Net: Zero.

Not only that, but Scottish nationalism differed from most other separatist movements in Europe by virtue of being very left-wing. That leftist profile protected the S.N.P. from the usual slurs and suspicions (racism, etc.) directed at other nationalisms, made it attractive to “liberal” opinion in the metropolitan media in London, and helped it to replace the Scottish Labour Party as the main opponent of Tory governments at Westminster.

Salmond and Sturgeon, both energetic campaigners, formed a political partnership that, eight years after the Scottish Parliament was born, enabled their party to enter a series of minority, majority, and coalition governments lasting from 2007 to the present day.

That partisan identity smoothed over several problems that otherwise might have crippled the S.N.P. As a nationalist party, it naturally wanted to break away from the control of the Westminster parliament; as a left-wing party, however, it also wanted to remain in the anti-nationalist European Union. That led directly to another difficulty: the E.U. was intent on centralizing power in the Brussels institutions while the Westminster Parliament was willing to cede powers to the Scottish Parliament. Going from Westminster to Brussels would have been jumping from the frying pan into the fire. It’s hard to see how an independent Scotland within the E.U. would have easily accepted the gradual loss of its bright new sovereignty to the creeping ambitions of Brussels—see Hungary and Poland passim.

Even while Britain was in the E.U., the financial and economic risks for Scotland of leaving the U.K. were formidable. They couldn't be explained away, and largely account for why the S.N.P. lost the 2014 referendum on independence by 55 to 45 percent. But when the entire U.K. voted to leave the E.U. only a year later, the S.N.P.’s problems became even more severe. Scotland was now outside the E.U.—against its will, argued the Scot-Nats, because most Scots had voted Remain, but outside nonetheless. Moreover, the E.U. was not prepared to let Scotland remain (or re-enter) when the U.K. left because other E.U. member-states like Spain had separatist provinces they wished to discourage by making Scotland an example of the folly of separatism. An independent Scotland would be out in the cold, without the protection of any financial sugar-daddy, let alone one as indulgent as London.

Sturgeon at this point might have decided to postpone her ambitions for an independent Scotland, concentrate on establishing a record of successful government for her party, seek to widen the areas of independent Scottish authority within the devolution settlement, and wait for better days. Instead, she decided on two other very different political strategies. First, she would maneuver to hold a second referendum on independence as soon as possible even if she had to do so unconstitutionally, maybe illegally, and against the sovereign authority of the U.K. Parliament. Second, she would widen the differences between the political cultures of Scotland and the rest of the U.K., above all the political culture of England (which in Scottish mythology is irredeemably Tory).

The first strategy went nowhere. It forced her to claim that she could treat the next U.K. general election as a de facto referendum on independence even though the S.N.P. will struggle to gain the substantial victory that alone would give even a semblance of legitimacy to her argument. Recently, she has been visibly flailing on that front. In short, she subordinated the good government of Scotland to her obsession with forcing through an independence referendum only nine years after she lost the first “once-in-a-generation” referendum.

Lady Macbeth got tired, too.

As for her second strategy—doubling down on Scotland’s leftism—that worked well until recently but it has now run into an unforeseen difficulty. As in most Anglosphere nations, the Left in Scotland has gone Woke, and the more it’s moved in that direction, the more it has alienated ordinary people. A younger and shrewder Sturgeon would have noticed this trend and adapted to it. Whether from philosophical conviction, mistaken electoral calculations, or the tiredness she admitted when resigning, Sturgeon doubled down on Wokeness in the following decisions on policy and legislation:

  1. In 2021 her government forced through a "Hate Crimes and Public Order" bill against widespread public opposition. It greatly expanded the definition of hate crimes, even criminalizing statements made in the home around a dinner table.
  2. She used the authority of government to conduct a vendetta against her former patron and ally, Salmond, who had left the S.N.P. and started a rival nationalist party.
  3. Only a fortnight before she exited the scene, Sturgeon released the latest instalment of her energy-cum-environmental policy. It doubled down—apparently her specialty when it comes to unforced errors—on the U.K. drive to Net-Zero on the grounds that since we have hugely increased the price of energy by restricting oil-and-gas production, it will be cheaper to use other forms of energy (however expensive they may then be). Or in her own words, the strategy “shows that as we reduce Scotland’s dependence on oil and gas – both as generators and consumers – there is a huge environmental and economic opportunity to be seized.” To be fair to Sturgeon, that is the logic of the international community. Net-Zero is unsustainable, but sadly that light will only go on when the lights go out.
  4. Against rare opposition within the S.N.P., her government forced legislation through Parliament that enabled people to determine their "gender identity" without medical or official approval while still being binding on others, including institutions such as prisons. When a biologically male rapist "transitioned" to female, public outrage forced Sturgeon to accept that “the rapist” should not be placed in a woman’s prison even if that violated the semi-official mantra that “transwomen are woman.” Unusually for her, she floundered hopelessly in trying to justify or even explain her government’s policy which is rapidly being abandoned even as it still remains law in theory.

In the last few weeks, Sturgeon’s errors were thundering down the track towards her. Wisely, she stepped aside into the shadows—the first political leader to lose power because she argued that rapists can be women and that shortages cause prices to fall.

Are White Plumbers Endangering Net-Zero in Britain?

The Telegraph reports on a growing concern (among whom? "Experts" of course!) that the U.K.'s surplus of Caucasian plumbers is endangering the country's ability to hit their net-zero targets, and thereby save the world from "climate change."

Plumbers have an image problem that may derail the Government’s net-zero ambitions, experts have warned. Replacing gas boilers and switching to heat pumps is a central tenet of the Government’s ambitions for the U.K. to be carbon neutral by 2050, and the installation will largely be done by upskilling current gas and oil boiler installers. But almost all plumbers are middle-aged white men close to retirement, a government report has found, raising concerns that there will not be enough competent installers to reach the Government’s goal of 600,000 heat pumps being installed every year by 2028.

The study, by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found that... “if the same recruitment practices and promotional activities continue within the sector, the pool of potential employees recruited to grow the sector may be restricted and the lack of diversity may persist.”... Mica May, co-director of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, told The Telegraph that the industry “is not presenting an attractive face” for prospective plumbers.... “Only when we have enough workers... who properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K., will there be space for the innovation we need to meet net zero."

Some background: we've previously discussed the fact that three successive governments in Britain -- all ostensibly Conservative, mind you -- have committed to (and even passed legislation mandating) the U.K.'s achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. A central plank of this plan is a "20-fold increase in the number of heat pumps installed annually by 2028," despite the fact that less than 1 percent of British homes are currently heated with heat pumps, and for good reason -- they are roughly three times more expensive than the much more common gas boilers. We further noted that "They also take up a lot more space, are more expensive to operate, and work best in well-insulated houses -- not exactly Britain's strong suit." All of which is to say, the U.K.'s heat pump obsession is madness.

But this government report fretting about the racial make-up of the plumbers needed to install the new equipment is next-level lunacy. It has all the earmarks of a social panic -- around both race and the environment -- especially in a country whose population is 80 percent Caucasian, and much less ethnically diverse (contra the national self-image presented by the BBC) than the United States.

Plumbing is one of the great cornerstones of civilization, and the work of plumbers is nothing short of heroic. The dearth of young men entering the profession in the U.K. is concerning, as it is here in the U.S. And these so-called "experts" aren't wrong to suggest that that pumping up the numbers will likely require combatting existing prejudices.

But it is the content of those prejudices which they are confused about. Young people on both sides of the pond have been force-fed propaganda about the necessity of receiving university educations for their entire lives. These programs are, generally, pointless at best and destructive at worst. Much better to challenge young people to consider training for noble, and often well-remunerated blue collar jobs such as plumbing instead. Mike Rowe, host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, has been making this case for years, and would be a worthy model.

The inability to engage the issue outside of liberal pieties is a sign of intersectional brain worm. Consequently, their push to change the face of plumbing to "properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K." will fail just as surely as their heat-pump scheme and their net-zero plan itself. It couldn't happen to a nicergroup of people.

Russian-British Comedian Slams 'Climate' Wokeness at Oxford Union Debate

Do yourself a favor and watch this speech by Konstantin Kisin, comedian and cohost of the wonderfully sane podcast Triggernometry.

Kisin was taking part in a debate at the Oxford Union on the topic of Wokeness, and as he felt the general anti-woke position had been well articulated by the speakers who preceded him, he chose to delve into a specific woke critique of the west, that being its contribution to global anthropogenic "climate change." Addressing himself to the woke who are open to rational argument (he added "a small minority, I accept, because one of the tenets of Wokeness is that your feelings matter more than the truth") Kisin offered to accept "for one night only," that is, for the sake of argument, that there is in fact a climate emergency, that we should all "worship at the feet of St. Greta of Climate Change" and "that our stocks of polar bears are running extremely low." He asked "What can we in Britain do?"

This country is responsible for two percent of global carbon emissions. Which means that if Britain was to sink into the sea right now, it would make absolutely no difference to the issue of climate change. You know why? Because the future of the climate is going to be decided in Asia and Latin America: by poor people who couldn’t give a shit about saving the planet. You know why? Because they're poor!

He challenged the privileged students of Oxford University to consider what living in that kind of poverty, in India, in China, in Latin America, the areas of the world which actually pose the worst threats to the environment, is actually like, and assured them that it would be futile to try and convince people in those conditions that they shouldn't aspire to improve their lot.

The only thing that they in Britain can do "is to make scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create clean energy that is not only clean but also cheap.” But does Wokeness contribute to the required technological advancement in any way? Of course not -- instead it lionizes the performative nihilism of climate activists who have chosen to wage war on western civilization. Said Kisin:

The only thing Wokeness has to offer in exchange is to brainwash bright young minds like you to believe that you are victims, to believe that you have no agency, to believe that what you must do to improve the world is to complain, is to protest, is to throw soup on paintings.

He counters that the true "way to improve the world is to work, is to create, is to build." Unfortunately Woke culture is ordered to convincing the very people who should be doing those things, "to forget about that," and (this writer would add) to tear down and destroy instead. It's nihilism and cultural vandalism in the service of a primitive superstition led by an idiot child. Mock it.

AGAINST THE GREAT RESET: 'History under the Great Reset'

Today and tomorrow, The Pipeline concludes its series of excerpts the essays contained in Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, which was published on October 18 by Bombardier Books and distributed by Simon and Schuster, and available now at the links. 



Excerpt from "History under The Great Reset," by Jeremy Black

History’s place at the fore of culture wars is no surprise. The destruction of alternative values, of the sense of continuity, an appreciation of complexities, and of anything short of a self-righteous presentist internationalism, is central to the attempt at a ‘Great Reset.’ Moreover, in a variety of forms, including cultural Marxism and, particularly and very noisily at present, critical race theory, such a “reset” is part of a total assault on the past, one that is explicitly designed to lead the present and determine the future.

This assault is a long-term process that owed much to the Marxist side in the Cold War that began in 1917 and continued until the fall of the Soviet bloc in 1989–1991, but this process has been revived and given new direction in recent years. The relentlessness of the struggle; the Leninist approach; that the core true believers and committed will lead the rest; that there is to be no compromise, no genuine debate; and that the end result must be power for its own sake attacks, through prejudging groups as inherently racist, the notion of every human being having intrinsic value, a notion that is central to the Judeo-Christian tradition. In part, this revival reflects the extent to which those who were the rebels of the late 1960s are now very much in the driving seats of intellectual and cultural would-be direction, and thereby able to move from protest to proscription. Thus, the “long march through the institutions” beloved of the Left has succeeded.

In part, this was because conservatives devoted insufficient attention to trying to contest this march. In particular, the degree to which institutions and companies controlled by, and for, the “soft Left” could become the means for propaganda, indeed indoctrination, by the “hard Left,” while appreciated by many right-wing commentators, was given far too little attention by conservative governments. This was true of Reagan/Thatcher/Bush Senior, all of whom understandably focused on international relations and economic affairs, including the development of neoliberalism, and then again of Bush Junior/Cameron.

Against the Great Reset

Now on sale.

Other issues thus came to the fore but so also, in a lack of adequate response to the culture wars waged by the Left, did an understandable wish not to use the power of the state in order to limit the autonomy of institutions such as museums and universities. Neither did they come up with any other solution to the problem. That approach, however, left conservatism at a serious disadvantage, one that has become increasingly apparent and one that there is still a difficulty in facing.

This situation was very much of concern before the storm of protest and aggressive virtue signalling associated with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement of 2020. However, the latter helped rapidly to drive forward the pre-existing tendency, not least by leading many organisations, institutions, and companies to endorse and adopt attitudes and policies that were at best tendentious and at worst extremely damaging to any practice of rational enquiry. Thus, a survey circulated by Oxfam in June 2021 to its staff in Britain stated that racism was deeply embedded in society and that all echelons of power, to some degree, exist to serve whiteness (whether by legacy, the presence of neocolonialism, or cultural imperialism).

Leaving aside the question of what whiteness means, and the difficulty of determining how somebody thinks, which is a crucial aspect of charges of racism, the past is defined in terms of a hostile legacy. The emphasis throughout is on whiteness and blackness in oppositional terms and with a clear primacy for both across time. This is fundamentally ahistorical as it acts to downplay all other identities and causes of tension, most notably rivalry within these supposed opposites—for example, the tribal conflicts within Africa that were the major sources of the Atlantic slave trade, and what also can be seen as tribal conflicts in Europe. Indeed, the role of tribalism is seriously downplayed by the drive for a racist dichotomy in analysis. There is an endless number of aspects of a question, and the ambition ought to be to cover as many aspects as possible, not to take one a priori.

The abandonment of any support for rational enquiry, indeed, was unsurprising, as there was an explicitly anti-Enlightenment argument at play, and notably and aggressively so with critical race theory. This theory acted to deny rationality, presenting it somehow as racist and an imperialising project, whatever that is held to mean. This theory was a deeply ironic ally for the companies and others that offered endorsement as their entire ethos was based on rational planning. In a resumption of the postmodernist hash, objectivity has become a term of abuse and objection, as has teaching in a linear fashion. The “progressive” or “woke” agenda can be advanced by such a wide coalition because all its elements have adopted the social constructivist position that facts are irrelevant or disposable.

Thus, for many, history becomes part of a continuum in which gender activists can adopt the mantra of “transwomen are women” because they dismiss the fact of biology as subject to the social construct of gender. Race activists can seek to do the same. Moreover, data suggesting that the white working class faces difficulties is ignored because it does not fit with the prevailing socially constructed view that white men are the “problem” and oppress others. In the same way, history activists, a category that includes many history academics but does not deserve the designation “historians,” can construct an account of the past that is not supported by evidence but is how they want it to be. If everything can be constructed on the basis of whim, history as a discipline is in real peril.

As a related point, education in the West increasingly becomes a matter of emphasising therapy and feeling better. In line with this, the desire by some academics to ‘self-medicate’ intellectually and feel better has become the motivator for decolonization of the curriculum. Such decolonisation is at core both political and a therapeutic initiative (larded with the language of “feeling safe”), which enables the decolonisers to feel virtuous. Critical race theory says nothing new in so far as it points, as when it was advanced in the 1970s, to an interconnectivity among many elements contributing to the historical animosity toward African Americans. More seriously, the theory has a bleak outlook and appears to state that there has been little or no progress in ameliorating racial discrimination. This is mistaken. Moreover, in applying the past to the present, the theory is misconstrued and ossified, falling into the ethnic-blame fallacy trap in its focus on retroactive, collective ethnic guilt. This was initially an American phenomenon reacting to specifically American societal and historical problems. This element makes its simple adoption in Britain and elsewhere in the West all the more problematic. In part, this adoption is the result of an increasingly monoglot and ahistorical society. Using empire to make some sort of bridge is problematic not in small part due to the “transracial” alliances involved in empire. For Britain, this was prominent in the case of slave-sellers, while the British empire in Asia was essentially an Anglo-Indian enterprise.

The wash of protest in 2020 was given concrete form by being taken on board in mission statements, hiring policies, and other such mutually supporting practices that are backed by the designation and filling of new posts. Thus, ideology was focused accordingly. In Britain, as a result, historical issues, such as the slave trade, empire, and the reputation of Winston Churchill, have received attention to an unaccustomed degree, and history of a type was thrust into public debate. However, as an empirical basis for critique, “history wars” has scarcely been to the fore, and the situation has not changed. In particular, there is a tendency among critics, for example of empire, to write in terms of undifferentiated blocs of supposed alignment, to move freely back and forth across the centuries, and readily to ascribe causes in a somewhat reductionist fashion...

Tomorrow: an excerpt from "Dueling Faiths: Science and Religion under the Great Reset" by Richard Fernandez. 

England v. France

Don't let the headline fool you -- this isn't a post about the Super Bowl of Soccer which the powers-that-be are so eager to make Americans pay attention to. Its about the differing methods of handling obnoxious and disruptive climate protestors.

As Just Stop Oil and other groups have stepped up their anti-civilization tactics, like attacking priceless works of art and laying in traffic throughout Europe, England's police have been criticized for being overly-chummy with them. In London their protests seem to have as many cops standing around the mob (and even chatting and laughing with them) as their are actual protestors. And this for a group that Home Secretary Suella Braverman has labelled  “extremists” whose protests are “out of control.” She's even demanded that police employ harsher measures to bring the protests to an end, but the Bobbies have not complied.

Of course, when the police aren't present, ordinary Brits feel compelled to do the necessary work themselves.

Meanwhile in France the cops just drag them out of the road, even if they've been stupid enough to glue themselves to the asphalt.

These videos depict a conflict which is at the heart of our politics today. On one side is an affluent, privileged activist class and on the other are regular people, just trying to work hard and get on with their lives. The French response demonstrates that its possible to side with the latter, but the Brits are scared of the bad p.r. that would accompany angering the former. Quelle surprise.

AGAINST THE GREAT RESET: 'The Anti-Industrial Revolution'

For the next three weeks, The Pipeline is presenting the remaining excerpts from each of the essays contained in Against the Great Reset: 18 Theses Contra the New World Order, which was published on October 18 by Bombardier Books and distributed by Simon and Schuster, and available now at the links. 



Excerpt from "The Anti-Industrial Revolution" by Martin Hutchinson

The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset is a major revision of the economic policies that have pulled humanity to its present state of modest prosperity. Its central premise is captured by the epigraph: “You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.” But ownership is what divides modern free men and women from medieval serfs—without it, we are subject to the whims of our masters and unable to fashion our destiny. The Great Reset not only resets our social status, but also, over time, it will reset our living standards to those of our serf ancestors.

The WEF, based in Switzerland, aims to create a Fourth Industrial Revolution; apparently, electrification and computers were numbers two and three. (As an old-fashioned sort, I prefer to think there has been only one Industrial Revolution, which is still ongoing, and that subsequent technological advances are developments of the original leap forward, which unlike its supposed successors, was not a mere technological add-on to previous progress, but a paradigm change in humanity’s destiny.) The Covid-19 pandemic was the pretext for the group to call for a “Great Reset,” in which governments can change the conditions of economic life so that the WEF’s own policy preferences are favored. As President Barack Obama’s first chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said in 2009, “Never let a plague go to waste.”

According to Schwab and Malleret: “to achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.”

Schwab’s Great Reset agenda has three main components. First, it “steers the market towards fairer outcomes”—Schwab  and his cronies deciding what is fair. Second, the Great Reset agenda ensures that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. (There appears to be no provision for those of us who do not share these goals.) The third priority is to “harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges.”

The one and only.

Clearly, the Great Reset agenda has little in common with conventional market capitalism. To highlight the differences, I will compare its approach point by point with the policies that gave Britain the original Industrial Revolution—the most comprehensive advance in human civilization since the invention of agriculture, and with more unequivocally positive effects on living standards. I shall demonstrate that in almost all areas, the Great Reset advocates the opposite of those policies. It then seems inescapable that it is likely to produce the opposite results, in other words, an Anti-Industrial Revolution, in which human economic progress in living standards goes into reverse.

Individual Freedom
The Industrial Revolution occurred in Great Britain between 1760 and 1830,13 although its roots go back a century earlier, to the entrepreneurial outward-looking society that arose in the Restoration period after 1660. That society differed from all Continental societies of the period (except the Netherlands) in one overwhelmingly important
respect: almost all its people were fully free. That freedom derived from the period after another pandemic, the Black Death.

Nearly three hundred years before the Black Death, the Norman Conquest had sharply compromised the living standards and embryonic freedoms of the indigenous Saxons. The Normans appropriated the large landholdings, exterminating almost all the Saxon nobility, and then imposed the more severe French version of feudalism on the remainder of the indigenous population. In consequence, most of the Saxon population existed in an unfree status for the succeeding centuries, each member providing labor and possibly military service to their feudal lord and receiving no cash compensation for doing so. As England became more settled and its wealth increased, more land was cleared and cultivated. However, population increase among the serfs kept them mired in serfdom, even though the nonrural sectors of the economy were developing a cash economy with free exchange.

Then the Black Death happened, wiping out at least a third of the population. The result was a severe labor shortage, combined with a decline in food prices since there was no longer enough labor to cultivate all the available land. In response, the upper classes that controlled Parliament passed the Statute of Labourers 1351, prohibiting working men from demanding higher wages. These restrictions were initially effective, but over generations, with people moving, new employers emerging, and new job types appearing, they became a dead letter—the “Peasants’ Revolt” of 1381 and other labor unrest were symptoms of the ex-serfs asserting their new autonomy. By the fifteenth century, the restrictions had effectively disappeared—the descendants of the serfs freed themselves and worked for the much higher wages now available. This period was in retrospect known as “Merrie England.” For the ex-serfs, if not for their former masters embroiled in the Wars of the Roses, it was indeed Merrie!

This liberation happened across Europe at this time for similar demographic reasons, but England and the future Netherlands saw workers liberated more fully and permanently than in France, Spain, or the Holy Roman Empire. Thus, even though living standards declined again with increasing population after 1500, the greater freedom of English labor, maintained even through the impoverished early seventeenth century, was an important contributor to the Industrial Revolution.

The freedom of labor in eighteenth-century England was not simply a matter of its working status. English law had always restricted the central power—we find a detailed description in Sir John Fortescue’s 1470 “The Difference Between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy” of how the English monarchy was bound by the law, rather than absolute like the French one. The Civil War and the Interregnum, together with the legalism of the seventeenth century and the 1689 Bill of Rights established English legal freedoms of the individual as a bedrock constitutional principle. Consequently, English working men were free to move about the country, provided they could support themselves—only the 1601 Poor Law, which provided a minimal subsistence for the indigent on a parish basis, forced those who could not do so to return to their home parishes. They were also free to work in any occupations they chose and to make any arrangements they could negotiate with their employers.

These freedoms were essential to the genesis of the Industrial Revolution, and a leading reason why it happened in Britain and not elsewhere. The Holy Roman Empire, for example, however full of industrious and well-schooled German engineers, was still bedevilled by serfdom and feudal obligations in the eighteenth century because the Thirty Years’ War had reimmiserated much of its populace. Consequently, German industrialization was almost entirely delayed until after 1850.

Against the Great Reset

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The WEF in its report exhibits attitudes about ordinary consumers that would not have been out of place in a thirteenth-century donjon. Some allowance must be made for the report having been written in June 2020, but in discussing the Covid-19 outbreak, it rejects indignantly the idea that closing down the economy might cause misery, noting smugly “Only saving lives will save livelihoods,” quoting the efficacy of masks and restrictive regulations. The divergence in U.S. unemployment rates in 2021 between Republican-run states that generally reopened early and Democrat-run states that stayed locked down demonstrates that lockdowns indeed imposed additional misery and doubtless additional lives lost.

The report’s contempt for the man in the street shows itself elsewhere. Consumers are “obsessive” about inflation, we  were told, before we were reassured that “it is hard to imagine how inflation could pick up anytime soon.” The report also sought to establish a “global strategic framework of governance”—guess how much democratic input there will be into that!

The report also urged replacing GDP—the statistic that reflects the overall output of the economy—with a “doughnut” whereby the inner ring would represent what’s needed to sustain the “good” life and the outer ring what the environment can support. Naturally, governments and institutions such as the WEF would determine what the “good life” consists of and precisely how much the environment could support and would engage in redistribution within the doughnut to ensure that the good life was shared by all and that the environment was protected. Individual consumers would have no say in the matter—nor would they have any right to squawk as the doughnut got thinner and thinner with all the redistribution and environmental costs until the “good life” proved to be unattainable without wiping out half the world’s population.

However, the most consumer-unfriendly and freedom-killing section of the Great Reset is its glee over contract-tracing applications on cell phones, which it describes as an “unprecedented opportunity.” We have already seen what this leads to in Britain, where huge numbers of the population have been forced through the government’s Test and Trace software to self-isolate for a week or more, without any symptoms or other evidence that they are infected what with widespread vaccination is generally a mild or even undetectable disorder. We have also seen the Chinese “social credit” system, enabled by cell phones, that allows an authoritarian Communist state to control its people and weed out dissidents.

Since learning this, I have several times blessed the grouchy elderly Luddism that has caused me to reject getting a cell phone over the last decade...

Next week: an excerpt from "The Great Reset and 'Stakeholderism'," by Alberto Mingardi

Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Hunting

There’s nothing like a weekend in the country especially when all of London is going to be there! I’m speaking, of course, of going for a shooting holiday, and honestly I can’t wait. I’ve three days to pack, get a manicure, some new frocks, and a coiff from Daniel at Jo Hansford

Judith (mummy) is so glad I’m preserving tradition but she forgets ‘tradition’ used to come with a small staff. She should have stayed home to help me but as usual—poof—the ever-vanishing Judith. And a shooting holiday always requires shooting clothes. Lots. So where are mine? I rifled through the wardrobe in the spare room, the crawl space in my childhood room, the trunk under the stairs—nothing. I’d hoped to take my things straightaway to Jeeves for freshening but I was going to have to wait for Judith. With little chance of success, I started poking through the hall closet when daddy became aware of my frustration.

‘Looking for something? Plastic straws perhaps? Because we’re all out—been feeding them to dolphins’, Daddy said. 

‘Ha. Not funny’ I replied, ‘and anyway it’s sea turtles’. I was not in the mood. ‘I’m looking for my sporting clothes’. I said. 

‘Maybe in California?’

‘Oh my god, NO!’ I shouted back. He knows they aren’t there but he can’t resist a chance to bug me about my house in LA.

‘Maybe at the country house?’ he said. 

‘Why would they be at the country house?’ I asked. 

‘Because it’s — the country?’

The way we were.

UGH! Of course that’s where they were. And now I had to decide whether to drive to the country or pop over to James Purdey. ‘Tradition’ doesn’t make it easy to be an environmentalist. The risk of buying new was that only Americans show up to a hunt with spanking-new clothes. It’s just not the done thing. What a mess!

I thought of calling Isabella Lloyd Webber whom I know from so many eventing weekends but I knew she’d sooner pay someone to break in her clothes than show up looking naff. I bit the bullet and immediately felt better upon arrival at Purdey’s. The salesman was quite chatty and said I’d just missed Gemma Owen who left with three bags (new!), that they’d shipped loads to Delphi and Marina Primrose (new and new), and they’d earlier served Lord William Gordon Lennox, though one expects to see him in new everything—I’d never seen him out of his signature cream suit.

When I reached home I saw my broker had called twice. WHY?? I’m not some high-flying trader with margin calls. I’m not even sure I know what a margin call is but seems he wanted me to sell all interests in rechargeable e-scooters. I’d taken a rather large position owing to the benefit to the environment. Plus we expect them to be wildly popular once they become permanently legal. But it seems London had 130 e-bike blazes in the last year alone. 

‘But it’s the trial period…’ I protested, and he told me e-bikes had caused more than 200 fires in New York, including a quite-bad high-rise fire. He went on about impending lawsuits, poor-quality parts, and an entire e-scooter maintenance facility had gone up in smoke.

It's all fun and games until somebody bursts into flames.

‘But that’s China’s fault—they are giving us poorly-designed batteries, we just need more regulation’ I insisted. I heard my father snicker in the background and I realised just how futile my protest sounded. ‘Fine then sell!’ I said. ‘Sell it all’. It was a blow and felt I was letting the planet down. All except for the black smoke and lithium solvent contamination.

I put my new clothes in the solarium to air out and headed up to my room. It had been a trying day but all of my hard work paid off when two days later our helicopter loomed over Inveraray—the first of several spectacular locations. I hadn’t been here since their now-defunct horse trials.

The estate was now focused on winning a Purdey Award for Game Conservation and even before the hunting ball we had to sign a declaration that we, and all connected with the shoot, were conversant and in compliance with the Code of Good Shooting Practice. Inveraray’s entry this year was habitat improvements and species biodiversity.

When I got to my room and opened my bags the unmistakable smell of 'new' filled my air… it was a mix of plastic, and wool sizing. Where’s a good moth ball when you need one?

I took my place at dinner, escorted by the future Duke of Argyll and his good friend Max, a known Jack-the-Lad swept in. ‘Oooh! I know you! I’m sure I do’ he insisted. But I only knew him from his reputation: a brash, cocky university dropout who was making a career of his fast friendship and love of shooting.

Our dinner was served… this year’s winning recipe entry to the Fieldsports competition: ‘Snipe Jacket Potatoes’. It was a whole snipe, complete with head, and long legs crossed almost comically and encased in a potato cocoon. It was so much more disgusting than any bug I’d ever served and I started gagging. ‘That’s it… you’re her… that bug hostess!’ Max exclaimed as I continued to gag and fled the table. 

I decided to stay away at least until the next course. My mobile lit up with a text from my broker… ‘ALL OUT’ he wrote. I tapped back to him… ‘just out of curiosity what was the exact stock symbol of the shares we just sold? I may wish to recommend it to a new friend’.

Boris and Rishi Buy the Pyramids

For a brief moment Rishi Sunak, Britain's new prime minister, looked as if he might resist joining the rush over the cliff of climate catastrophism. Initially he decided not to attend the COP27 "climate change" summit in the former Israeli (now Egyptian) Sinai peninsula resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on implementing the U.N.-brokered plan to cut the world’s carbon emissions to Net-Zero by 2050. Then he said his mind was open to going. Finally he went.

My interpretation of his early reluctance was that he didn’t want “to be trapped into making commitments on Net-Zero that might later be inconvenient to his overall energy and budgetary policies.” If so, that was a very prudent judgment. And to be fair, the Prime Minister resisted a great deal of political and international pressure to stick to it. Then Boris Johnson, his predecessor, announced that he would be attending the climate jamboree. That proved to be the last snowflake that triggers the avalanche. Rishi felt he had to go.

Product of British colonialism fights climate imperialism in Africa.

Even on the day before he set off to Egypt, however, it became clear that his initial prudence was as amply justified as it has been brutally violated. Consider the back story of Britain’s finances. And pay attention because recent news stories may have given you the impression that the short unhappy episode of Liz Truss as prime minister was responsible for the dire straits of Britain’s fiscal situation that includes a budgetary “black hole” of 50 billion pounds, a proposed set of tax hikes amounting to 25 billon pounds, and spending cuts of about 35 billion pounds.

In reality both Ms. Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, are entirely innocent of this Mother-of-All-Shortfalls. They were in office only about a month, and none of their proposed tax-and-spending changes were even introduced in that time. When they left office, they bequeathed to their successors the same exact inheritance of fiscal and monetary problems that they had inherited. Those problems in turn were the results of the massive expenditures on Covid-19 and the lockdown, of the stay-at-home rules that have shaped a workforce that today refuses to go to factory or office, and of the quantitative easing that built up a monetary backlog that is now emerging in rapid inflation and high interest rates.

And who is responsible for all those? No one more so than the former chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unless you count his prime ministerial boss, Boris Johnson. They’re starting to look like a tag-team trying to win the race to insolvency before any other national team. And they have jointly taken a giant’s leap forward towards that result by their speeches and, yes, their commitments at the COP27 Summit.

BoJo: the damage he's done lives on.

Having pushed Rishi into going, Boris then gave a speech to the summit that pushed his former colleague further into massive financial transfers from the U.K. to developing countries. He did so by making the case that Britain was historically responsible for global warming because it had invented the industrial revolution:

The United Kingdom was one of, if not the first, industrialized nation. The first wisps of carbon came out of the factories and mills and foundries of the West Midlands 200 years ago. We started it all.

Historically speaking, that was nonsense. Even if you think that man-made carbon emissions are the sole cause of "climate change"—which is not the scientific consensus—Britain put extremely small amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for the first two hundred years of the industrial revolution. "Global warming" began in the 1970s, after the spread of modern industry around the world. Nor is it remotely true, as the leftist theory bizarrely embraced by Boris holds, that the industrial revolution was a privileged blight from which Britain and the early industrialized world derived all the benefits while the developing countries got none.

Quite the contrary. Among the benefits it brought to the whole world were modern medicine that eradicated entire diseases like smallpox and cured almost all the transmissible illnesses known to mankind; modern agricultural methods that ended famines and alleviated hunger and malnutrition; and new industries that lifted billions of people out of endemic poverty, increased living standards worldwide, and extended life expectancy well beyond “three score years and ten.” Any cost-benefit analysis that weighs those benefits against the costs of "climate change" would have to deliver a favorable verdict for the industrial revolution, which is why developing countries are all anxious to proceed with their own local versions of it.

Boris himself must have realized that he had just opened a Pandora’s Box full of prospective U.K.-financed transfer payments of incalculable expense to Africa and Asia. For he immediately tried to evade the responsibility he had just conceded by giving it a gloss of technology:

What we cannot do is make up for that in some kind of reparations. We simply do not have the financial resources. No country could. What we can do is help with the technology that can help to fix the problem.

But that realism was too late, as realism usually is for Boris. Leaders of the developing world were soon in full cry demanding the “implementation” of these and earlier promises from Western leaders. Negotiators for the U.K. and its G7 allies in the corridors and back rooms of COP27 were signaling that they were prepared to concede more money for “loss and damage” funds—a bureaucratic term of art now morphing from emergency disaster aid into reparations in disguise. And the bandwagon began to roll.

The Camp of the Saints awaits the West.

By the time that Rishi Sunak stood up to give his address only hours after Boris, he had conceded a moral responsibility to assist poorer countries to transition to a carbon-free world without actually using the word reparations. But he said that the U.K. would deliver its full pledge of 11.7 billion pounds from previous COP summits and—though vaguely—much more than that.

The bandwagon was picking up speed. But that's the purpose of COP climate summits. Once you’re at one, you can’t say nothing, and if you say something, it can’t be "no."

11.7 billion pounds too is an interesting figure—slightly more than one-fifth of the amount of money needed by the current U.K. Chancellor to fund the existing budgetary black hole in the nation’s finances. One doubts if the prime minister really wants people to remember it in ten days when the chancellor delivers his punitive tax-and-cut budgetary statement. That may explain why the government briefing of the U.K. press in Egypt, to judge from the next day’s headlines, switched from celebrating the U.K. taxpayer’s generosity at COP 27 to hailing an as yet uncompleted deal (originally embarked on by then-PM Liz Truss) for the U.K. to buy lots and lots of natural gas from the U.S. to keep Britain warm this coming winter.

As Rishi Sunak reflects on all this, he may remember uneasily an old WWII poster, revived for the Covid lockdown: Is your journey really necessary?

Rishi Sunak: the Worm Turns

Writing a few days ago on Britain's new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, this author expressed some hope that his decision to reimpose a nationwide ban on fracking (a ban which Sunak had opposed when standing for leader, it should be noted), "was merely Sunak recognizing the reality on the ground, which is that fracking isn't particularly popular among elected MPs," and suggested this objectively bad decision would be offset by other, saner resource sector tweaks. Sunak himself argued that the platform the party was elected on in 2019 promised a fracking ban, and he felt bound to respect that. Fair enough.

But now Sunak has deflated those hopes. After saying on several occasions that he had no intention of attending this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (known as COP27), Sunak has once again changed course, and while spouted hackneyed warmist jibberish to boot:

Sure, Rishi, all of human prosperity depends upon the rich-and-powerful flying their private jets to Egypt to sit around in air conditioned rooms talking about how important you all are.

Sunak's elevation has been widely touted as a return to "grown-up" governance. But, as the British journalist Ben Sixsmith points out in a piece about Sunak, to call a major politician "a grown-up" is to damn him with faint praise. "Grown-up" in politics, Sixsmith argues, is a codeword for someone who makes journalists feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They invariably wear nice suits, have sensible haircuts, and speak fluidly and confidently when a microphone is in their face. What they say is of little importance.

This writer is less certain on that last point. To me, the title "grown-up" is bestowed by the media upon those who have promised not to offend elite sensibilities on any important topic. It isn't a partisan designation -- there are plenty of ostensibly right-of-center figures who have been so complimented, with George Bush the elder, John McCain, and Mitt Romney being standouts in this category. Of course, it is worth mentioning that ultimately losing elections is what allowed those three to maintain their "grown-up" status.

This is something Rishi should probably take note of as he begins his Green-ward turn. Meanwhile, his change-of-heart is winning praise from all of the wrong people in British life. For instance:

Funny how the Strange New Respect a move like this inspires can't even sustain itself for the life of an entire tweet.

As Truss Falls, Does BoJo Loom?

Things are moving so fast in British politics that by the time this post goes to (digital) press, it's possible the U.K. will have gone through several more prime ministers, and Meghan Markle will be crowned queen.

Here are the basics: Newly minted prime minister Liz Truss has resigned after just 44 days on the job, the shortest ever term for a prime minister. She came into office hard on the heels of Boris Johnson, who resigned after he was caught lying about violating his own government's Covid restrictions on several occasions.

Determined not to be merely a caretaker P.M., Truss immediately initiated a bold -- some would say "foolhardy" -- plan to transform the British economy by slashing taxes across the board, with the biggest cuts for businesses and the wealthy, while also increasing spending. Much of that spending would go towards an energy "price freeze," which would cap the amount that Brits would pay for heat and electricity going into what is looking to be a brutal winter for heating and electricity rates. The bill for such a plan was projected to run into the hundreds of billions of pounds, but her hope was that it would it would keep the heat off her government while her Thatcher-on-steroids tax plan supercharged the economy and brought about elephantine growth.

The Iron Lady she wasn't.

Now here's what actually happened. The markets were disturbed by these sudden movements, and by the massive amount of new debt the government would have to take on to make this all work, especially at a time of significant and rising interest rates. Sterling tanked and bond markets went crazy.

Truss vowed that she would not change course. Then she started changing course, with new back-tracking announcements becoming an almost daily occurrence. She sacked Kwasi Kwarteng, her right-hand man and Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a desperate attempt to hang onto power, and appointed the establishmentarian, globalist, anti-Brexiter Jeremy Hunt to take his place. Hunt promptly got to work dismantling the rest of Truss's program.

Eventually the pressure got to be too great. After a tense vote on a Labour bill whose object was to prevent the government from reintroducing fracking, which the Tories won, despite several notable defections, the humiliated Truss was compelled to offer her resignation.

What is so strange about all of this is that it is easy to imagine a counterfactual scenario where Truss turned out a success. She ran for leadership as a continuity candidate: Boris, but without the erraticism, dishonesty, and drama. That was a pretty attractive proposition! Had she actually governed that way, pushing back on some of the negatives of the Johnson government while generally trying to steady the tiller, she might have had a long and illustrious career.

Kicking Boris' environmentalism to the curb would have been a good start -- Britain has a lot of natural gas, but environmentalists have been lying to the people about natural resource extraction for years. The politics site Guido Fawkes, for instance, recently wrote about a speech in the House of Commons by former Labour leader Ed Miliband about the possibility that fracking would bring with it earthquakes registering a 4.6 on the Richter scale, which could crack the plaster in houses and cause notable damage. This is ridiculous -- though fracking has been known to trigger tremors, they're rarely strong enough to be felt, only to be detected by powerful instruments. The strongest one ever, according to Fawkes, was a 2.9, which is comparable to "a pound of sugar being dropped on a kitchen floor."

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

Boris famously leaned into this misinformation, including in his farewell speech as prime minister. A successful Truss could have checked it, while noting the absolute necessity of developing domestic energy sources in light of growing scarcity. Doing so wouldn't have required abandoning all Boris' plans. It could even have reinforced some of them. There's an obvious match between his "leveling-up" project, meant to improve those forgotten, working class regions of England's north (where he scored a stunning success in the last election), and the jobs which an expanded resource sector could provide.

At the Telegraph, Lord Frost even argues that Truss could have gone ahead with her own program, had she actually laid the groundwork for it over time:

Truss tried to deliver worthwhile reforms and set the country onto a much-needed new direction. I supported this policy direction and still do. But it was rushed and bungled. The markets were spooked. The mistakes were opportunistically seized on by her opponents to undermine her leadership, to blame Brexit, and to stop the party getting out of the social democratic tractor beam of the past few years.

In any event, yet another party leadership race will be held as soon as possible to determine who will govern, with Rishi Sunak -- the wealthy establishmentarian who came in second to Truss last time -- seen as the front runner. Unless, that is, Boris Johnson decides to throw his hat into the ring, as voices both inside and outside parliament have started calling for him to do.

Unfortunately for the Conservative Party, polling seems to indicate that the British people are getting sick of this ongoing Tory psychodrama. The Labour Party has started calling for an early election, which they are in a good position to win. And losing might ultimately be good for the Tories -- having squandered a huge mandate with Johnson, they could do with a good long stretch in opposition to figure out what they actually stand for.

Still, as Labour's policies; fiscal, social, and environmental; are so much worse than those of the Tories, the country as a whole would probably be much better off if they would just get their act together. Don't hold your breath.