Right Wing

Is Tommy Robinson in the minority with a #2 rank book on Amazon?

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There is no moral equivalence to be drawn here with this latest attack outside Finsbury mosque in London. Innocent people were mown down by a van driven by someone filled with rage and hate. Social media is already screaming “bigot, racist, terrorist, anti-Muslim, radical” but there is a much bigger point not being addressed. The social boiling point is being reached much more rapidly than the media will admit.  Tommy Robinson was accused across social media for inspiring anti-Muslim rhetoric and fueling this person to commit the crime. His tweets matched his long standing convictions and predictions. Perhaps everyone who has bought Tommy’s book “Enemy of the State”  (ranked #2 book on Amazon UK, #131 in Canada and #2375 in America & now $350 on paperback) could be a risk of commiting such acts if that is the generalization. Of course it is nonsense. By the measure of the sales success perhaps his views maybe more mainstream than the negative ‘extreme’ moniker that is often hurled at him.

Could it be argued that a growing number of people are growing sick and tired of random jihadi attacks and see this book as a guide on how the government isn’t  handling the problem? That was not a intended to be a fact checking laced comment rather pointing out that many people potentially share his supposed ‘patriotic’ view as demonstrated by the commerciality of his writing. This is no longer a pure jihadi problem but one that is now likely to become tit-for-tat terrorism which carries far more negative connotations.

Think beyond the all too common propensity to push prejudices by lashing out on social media with little thought to trying to understand the full arguments of alternative views. Do we take a book review from apologists as fact when most of those have probably never read his book cover to cover? I am reading it because I want to form my own judgement rather than rely on others’ bias. He has strong views but no better way than self vetting. I’ve read Mein Kampf in what must be the most appalling book ever written – grammatically and content-wise. For one whose family escaped the deaths camps of Poland, trying to understand the ravings of Hitler brought added perspective to the horror although some might conclude reading it is an endorsement. It is not.

Innocents are dead or injured in this attack on Fisnbury Park Mosque. If indeed Tommy has a minority view, most people wouldn’t buy his book. Are all the people that buy it racist? Even if one thinks they are then even more reason to say that the government’s current pandering to political correctness won’t solve these hate fueled events whether radical jihadis or right (left?) wing nutters. Do violent video games incite massacres? Are all ‘Brexiters’ a carbon copy of the man who murdered Labour politician Jo Cox days before the referendum?  Do we need to bring in Islamophobic legislation like Canada (Bill M-103) to shut down people expressing concern? No, No and No. Current policy approaches are having the opposite effect as this attack proves.

At the time of the Manchester bombing I warned that vigilantism would be an ugly side effect of endless political correctness. Coincidentally Robinson suggested similar views about the rise of vigilantes after that post in a vlog. Wasting a lot of time on what  motivated the driver to commit such a terrible crime is not necessary. It is obvious. It is a revenge attack. This is highly likely to be a person screaming out for something to be done about a problem he obviously doesn’t think is being handled properly by elected officials. He probably viewed himself as a vigilante even if that title might be an overreach in this instance.  This in no way defends his despicable actions. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter was often used by IRA sympathisers. Still it doesn’t in anyway condone killing or maiming innocents, no matter what ideology, faith, race or background they come from. It is plain awful. The majority of people would agree with that view.

Revenge attacks and reprisals only exacerbate a rapidly deteriorating relationship. However trying to say the perpetrator proves that not all such attacks are driven by radical Islam doesn’t address the core of the problem. The majority of good people (note a deliberate statement not to go down the identity politics line) want an end to innocent deaths at the hands of extremists but if free speech and the ability to tackle radicalism (wherever it lies) aren’t openly addressed these events will sadly continue. It should be totally in the interests of the majority of ‘good’ Muslims (I detest that phraseology) to want to stop radicals from collectivising their faith with what they perceive is the wrong interpretation. Common sense would say they are the most important link in the chain to weed out those who want to kill in the name of Allah. They need to be front and centre of the debate.

What the UK government (and other governments) have created is a monster of their own making. Candles, flowers, lit monuments, avatars, expressions of sympathy and ‘love conquers hate’ posts dodge the need to have a serious debate on the problem. Now we have seen first hand a real openly targeted revenge attack in the UK, people need less sanctimonious posturing on social media and focus their energies on truly understanding what is at stake. That is to ditch the liberal hand-wringing and have an open debate on the problem. Robinson’s book isn’t selling in the volumes it is by chance. Politicians should pay attention to this trend. It is not about arguing about whether he is right or wrong but noting the simmering underbelly of a growing number of people fed up with inaction. This is the end of the beginning not the beginning of the end.

Theresa May’s political masterchoke

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The day Theresa May said she wanted to go to the polls to hammer home a bigger mandate for Brexit the first thing that popped in my head was “GREED”. On top of that was the idea of taking the electorate for granted. That they’d sheepishly give her a wider mandate because Corbyn and UKIP were supposedly so lame. Today’s election proves it. It wasn’t so much that Corbyn did way better, May’s total misjudgement meant she threw away a parliamentary majority three years prematurely.  It is nothing short of a masterchoke.

What strikes is the minor party votes spilt to the major parties. Perhaps even more telling was the younger voters. Those who threw away the opportunity to vote ‘remain’ on Brexit or the million that enrolled to vote since she called the election. This is democracy but at the same time this election has become a dry-run for a second referendum. Watch for the gaming for it or at least a move for marshmallow soft Brexit. Jean Claude Juncker must be slapping other Eurocrats silly with delight.

It tells us not to believe polls.  In short May will have to resign as PM.  Such bad judgement. Why did she bother with a manifesto? All she had to do was get Brexit done with the majority she had. Now she has jeopardized it and a hung parliament is the last thing any country needs. Compromise means less efficient outcomes every time.

I’m not a Corbyn fan but he had nothing to lose and to his credit he seized on the slapdash manifesto of the Tories. May says she won’t resign but her party can’t back her after this failure. She got a mandate alright. Not a good one. She may look to get the DUP to help her get over the line. Still a disaster, even bigger than Sturgeon’s SNP.

Put simply, politicians who take their constituents for granted will ultimately pay the price. If there was a positive, voter turnout rose and the young finally recognized how powerful votes can be.

What is this obsession with crowd funding?

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I get where crowd funding the plight of some poor starving tribe in Africa hit by a devastating famine, or a Bangladeshi child who needs emergency surgery to save her might have merit but to dig deep for Katie Hopkins takes some convincing. Her ‘final solution’ comments in the wake of the Manchester bombing got her fired from LBC. I’m not here to debate the radio station’s internal staff policies or how they execute them. Katie’s views are always strong, especially with regards to radical Islamic terrorism. I actually thought Janet Albrechtson’s article in the Weekend Australian was a far more eloquent summation of how to put a case forward to fix the problem.

Katie chose her words poorly (even if deliberately) and even if she expresses her views under the banner of ‘free speech’ she has to accept the consequences of those actions of the sponsor that pays her wages. In a sense LBC has the right (mostly for concerns to its advertisers) to make a call on that. Just like those US government agencies who were told to cease criticizing their President-elect on taxpayer funded websites. It was not a ban on free speech but a question of insubordination. To those that couldn’t see that view I suggested they send a message to their boss with the rest of the company CC’d about how stupid you thought he was. The LBC decision stands.

Still one has to wonder why there is a need to crowd fund Katie? Surely she will resurface again. I am surprised Breitbart hasn’t posted an applicaton form to join. Her darkest hour? Are they serious? I am sure she has had many darker. Though who is it for me to determine who wishes to give her money? After all it is charitable. I wonder though whether the tax authorities must have a good, hard look at such crowdfunding and deem whether there is a legitimate tax deductibility case to be had…

Having said that, what a sign of the times that crowd funding tells us about how deeply certain issues affect others. The flip side is they only think she is worth 100,000 pounds. If I ever get crowdfunded I can only hope the figure is far higher.

Over 10.6 million Frogs want to jump out of the EU’s boiling pot

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While the media and the EU will no doubt be jumping for joy they’ll overlook the fact that over 1/3rd of the French who voted, or over 10.6 million, want to jump out of the EU’s boiling pot. Think about that number – over TEN POINT SIX MILLION.  Le Pen’s father only managed slightly better than 5mn or 17.8%. Macron won convincingly (Twitter follower growth ratio accurate again) although one can hardly call 1/3rd of a population backing a far-right nationalist something to celebrate.  It is a damning figure. Period.

The extent of the Le Pen gains should be viewed by the EU as a terrible omen. However many of the Brussels brigadiers have ignored it already as their tweets make painfully clear.

After losing 15 out of 15 referendums against it  the EU desperately needs reform. The Dutch election was still a strong win for Wilders and Rutte only saved seats by adopting a more anti-EU stance. The pro-EU Dutch leftists were slayed. The Swiss recently handed back their long standing invite to join the EU. The Austrians almost voted in the far right FPO and after Greens President van der Bellen recently said all women may be obliged to wear the hijab to show cultural sensitivity they may well think to do that next time. The right wing Sweden Democrats are well ahead in the polls looking to win the 2018 election. The Italians are on the way to vote in the eurosceptic M5S party as their referendum last year on parliamentary reform became a free kick to boot out the establishment. Hungary’s Orban has had enough of the EU’s directives on migrants. Greece is being forced to sell its assets in order to secure another bailout and submit to being a Brussels’ (Berlin?) protectorate despite the EU bending over backwards with the help of Goldman’s creative accountants to get the Greeks into the club. This will not end well as Greece has 37% poverty, 58% youth unemployment and a soaring suicide rate. Now almost 10.5mn French now think the EU is not working. Brexit anyone?

The problem with elections is that even though Macron will serve 5 years, over 1/3rd of his citizens are not happy with the state of terrorism, unemployment and the EU. If Macron doesn’t solve for these problems, Le Pen’s 2022 chances grow and she’s already calling for a radical overhaul of Front National.

The press was making Macron to be a tough negotiator on Brexit. Let’s not forget that the ranting Jean-Claude Juncker has had to be brought into line by Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk over his Brexit negotiations skills (or lack there of). EU lawyers have said the other day that the  €100bn Brexit bill has no legitimacy. The U.K. Local council elections should speak volumes of May’s mandate to pursue full strength hard Brexit.

Macron’s win buys the EU time. Nothing else. In fact the truest test of how petrified the EU truly is can be summed up like this. If they were supremely confident in their own legitimacy there would be no need for the constant self-reaffirmation and shouting from the roof tops about what a great place it is. If indeed it was so, democracy would endorse them every time. As it stands the self-praise would even make Barack Obama blush.

Max Headroom – “Hard Brexit vote is between Coke Classic May, Diet Coke Farron & Coke Zero Corbyn”

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Be honest with yourself. If you were after the best taste (casting diet aside) would you have real Coke over Diet-Coke or Coke Zero? Full fat milk in your latte or soy milk? 34% fat King Island Brie cheese or a block of no-brand low fat supermarket cheddar? Wine from a bottle or a cask? The answers are obvious. The real thing always tastes better. Even in the adverts, Coke used to put girls eating fatty foods, seemingly balancing out their decadent junk food cravings with Diet Coke because it was “just one calorie” conveniently forgetting all the other unhealthy chemicals that went into the can to make it so. We know better and is it any wonder? Who could forget in the 1980s when Coke decided to change the formula of real Coke causing massive hoarding of the original, with a whole secondary market treating the scarce commodity like precious metals. Such was the backlash, Coke had to restore the old faithful. In their hearts people want the real thing. Same for Brexit.

The UK Labour Party has been espousing Coke Zero under Corbyn when constituents are clearly calling out for the real thing. The recent local elections saw a total drubbing. While local elections aren’t always a read across for national elections, the results are so telling that Theresa May, as much as she is inconveniencing the voters for the third time in such a short period, has clearly got the mood of the Brits for hard Brexit. I listened to London Mayor Saddiq Khan rabbit on about why Corbyn is the better option for the UK in the face of being so trashed in the local elections. He went so far as to say how evil Theresa May was to call an election to further her majority. Err, Mayor Khan, perhaps if the opposition were a viable alternative she would never have done so. Even The Guardian is arguing that the Lib Dems are the only hope for a soft Brexit. Tim Farron has no chance. Here are the results of the local elections.

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Labour lost its status as the largest party in Cumbria and its heartlands Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil – good blue collar coal mining areas. Labour also lost Glasgow, the first time since 1980.

Here is how England looked:

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Here is how Scotland fared (mostly voted Remain):

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Here is how the Welsh voted (mostly voted for Brexit):

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Despite all of the pre & post-Brexit scaremongering of how the UK would slide into the abyss, the economy has done anything but reflect that. Juncker is now so unleashed in his bullying over Brexit negotiations that Merkel and Tusk have had to rein him in. The plucky Brit is probably the last person to cave into oppression. They love the idea of doing the opposite of what people dictate. We have cautionary tales. Who could forget when Obama told them that Brexit was a bad idea? Now we have Juncker and Verhofstadt hiking the Brexit bill like gangsters demanding a ransom.

The Brits are speaking – “Give us Hard Brexit. We don’t want soft compromises. We voted out so let’s make sure we fight for the best deal.”

Or perhaps as Max Headroom, the man of the moment of the New Coke once said, “Say, would someone mind checking the ratings? I seem to have an audience of two.”

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Believe 1,000 people in a poll or 1.4mn followers?

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Just like during the US presidential election campaign the polling firms gave results which tended to favour the flavour of the audience. Want to put Hillary in front then go ask more Democrats than GOP and vice versa. The French presidential election run up shows similar kinds of trends with regards to the polls but the social media following as I’ve explained shows the same sort of trends as in the US and Brexit run-offs. Take a look at the Facebook follower share among the 5 leading candidates (above) and then look at the growth since the Paris shooting two days ago (below). The polls showed Le Pen dropping in popularity but she topped Facebook follower growth with 34% of net adds vs 31% for Melenchon. Macron was a paltry 18%. Fillon only 10%.

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On Twitter it was a slightly different story. Looking at the Twitter followers in total it is almost identical to Facebook.

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However the follower growth after the shooting had Macron in 1st spot, followed by Le Pen (+1 spot) and Melenchon (-2 spots).

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Reports say 40% of French are undecided in those polls of 1,000 people. Social media polling suggests otherwise. Why would Le Pen be way ahead in both forums if she didn’t stand a chance. Trump won with a Twitter/FB following which continued to outstrip Clinton. Is Marine Le Pen a more effective blogger or is it just that the French see her as someone who speaks her mind.

 

Melenchon could well do this

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Jean-Luc Melenchon may seem to be the polar opposite of Marine Le Pen but my bet is that the run off in the French presidential election is between these two and the left-wing candidate may end up the next President of the Republique. Social media feeds have these two well out in front. To the French voter they both bring the promise of ending decades of high unemployment (especially youth) and ‘nationalist’ fervor. Both are anti-EU. Melenchon wants to pull France out of NATO. Melenchon is not dissimilar to Le Pen on immigration either suggesting he’d want to bring in 10,000 doctors rather than unlimited migration which he openly says steals French jobs. Melenchon is anti-Merkel and her Eurozone policies. He wants a 100% tax on salaries over 400,000 euro and bump minimum wages 16%. He wants to be 100% renewable by 2050 promising 100,000s of green jobs in the process which have shown elsewhere (e.g, Australia) to fall well short. Either way the markets are not pricing a polar outcome. If either wins, it is a loss for the EU although expect Juncker to champion it as a victory for the club if Melenchon is anointed.

Le Pen has had much longer to form her base. She speaks eloquently, forcefully and carries a consistent policy line unlike Fillon or Macron who have shifted stance with the wind. People who are struggling around the world are seen tiring of spineless bureaucrats. Traditional party lines are increasingly irrelevant. They want a reversal of fortune not served a buffet of convenient lies which in no way reflects the life they struggle with everyday. Melenchon is not removed from this phenomenon. Nor is Le Pen.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Melenchon is channeling his Beppo Grillo than Hugo Chavez. I can see his appeal to the battler. The question is whether the French people, should they be given these two to choose between on May 7, stay at home in abject apathy or tap their inner-revolutionary to carry the tricolor. Melenchon maybe trailing on social media feeds but his growth is faster than Le Pen, something that was striking in the US election.

The only certainty in my view is another torpedo to the hull of Brussels, the viability of the euro project and the euro itself. That will only play in Theresa May’s favour on June 8. Think of the French presidential election much like the national rugby team. They play hot or cold and you can never be sure until the whistle blows.

When the dust settles I will be fascinated to see which areas vote which way. Let’s accept the views from both Le Pen and Melenchon are broadly similar (although getting there will be totally different) so the vote may swing to how sick and tired French are becoming of giving up their freedoms.