Thursday, 30 June 2016

Back to Basics: Why a Universal Basic Income is the Ultimate Safety Net, by Saul Of-Hearts

For quite a few years, I have been enthusiastic about the idea of a universal basic income, an unconditional payment that every adult would receive regardless of whether they were in work or not. It's an idea that has appeal to people on both the right and the left side of the political spectrum. For those on the left, it could help lift people out of poverty, for those on the right it offers efficiency and removes disincentives to work. That is not to say that there are no possible political or economic problems with the idea that advocates would need to overcome. This book does not engage with those problems to any great degree, but it offers an interesting collection of essays about the potential benefits of a universal basic income.

The essay on women's domestic labour is particularly important. Women do a lot of unpaid work in the family and a basic income would be a possible way of making it easier for them to do this. This would appeal to both feminists who complain that women are unpaid domestic labourers and traditionalists who would like to see more women able to perform the roles of mothers and housewives. A basic income would enable more women to choose to stay at home.

This book provides a lot of insight into the financial struggles of those in the millennial creative/ intellectual class. It seems its not easy pursuing a creative or innovative career and make ends meet at the same time. Concern is expressed about the economics of some of the new peer-based models of entrepreneurship, such as Airbnb. One concern I have is with complaints made a few times in this book about 'dead-end jobs.' Does our economy depend to some extent on people being willing to do 'dead-end jobs?' Would a universal basic income make it harder to recruit people to perform those roles?

In itself this book is not a robust manifesto for the universal basic income concept, but it offers a lot of insight into why a basic income would be a good idea.

ConservativeHome: Will too much democracy bring the United Kingdom to an end?

ConservativeHome: Will too much democracy bring the United Kingdom to an end?

by Garvan Walshe

"Lacking a codified constitution, and with a political class no longer versed in British constitutional history, we ended up with the wrong kind of referendum. The proper way to leave would have been to elect a pro-Brexit government that then put a deal it had negotiated with the EU to the people who would have had something concrete to vote on. Instead the very vagueness of what Brexit was to entail allowed the leave campaign to fight a highly successful culture war and marshalled a revolt of the tax-eaters against the tax-payers. My side were too timid, disorganised and boxed in by government policy to match them. It is no good for us to complain that the leave campaign lied: we knew that was how they would campaign, and failed to prepare for it. As Barack Obama used to say, “politics ain’t beanbag.”

Having spent the last 40 years campaigning to overturn the result of the last referendum on Europe, Brexiteers now insist that this one should, like the revelations of Mohammed, be final. They claimed that new generations who hadn’t voted in 1975 deserved a say; but it was the old, who had had a chance to vote then, who gave them victory. I don’t want a second referendum – one was bad enough – but if leavers are so confident they represent the settled will, and not just the fleeting appetite, of the British people, why not hold another? After all, Nigel Farage and Dan Hannan both suggested that if the result had been 52-48 the other way, a re-run might be required. If parliamentary sovereignty means that no parliament can bind its successor, then popular sovereignty has to mean that no referendum can bind the people forever."

US Commitment to Iceland

The Guardian: With this shock a new, EU-friendly Britain is born

The Guardian: With this shock a new, EU-friendly Britain is born

by Natalie Nougayrede

It is fascinating to note that in just a few days Britain has become a country where so many people are now ready to speak positively and passionately about EU membership. With Brexit-hovering seen as a near-death experience for an entire country, people are scrambling to express their emotions about wanting to stay in.

I can only think of one other country where there was a (relatively comparable) public groundswell of sudden pro-EU sentiment: that’s Ukraine, in December 2013, when a generation understood it was being deprived of a future it thought was all but guaranteed, and then made its frustration very clear.

Ukrainians flocked on to the main square of their capital after learning they were about to be denied plans for an association agreement with the EU. That was the start of the Maidan movement. Now in Britain social media is awash with calls to reject the breakup of links between the UK and the EU.

Tens of thousands signed up to join Tuesday’s event at Trafalgar Square, and more rallies are being announced. On Facebook, organisers said: “Regardless of the referendum result, we stand alongside the people of Europe to show we are inclusive, open and patient – we stay with Europe!”

Centrism: Wave of the Future, by Alex Van Allen

A manifesto for a Centrist political ideology. This is a rather odd book. The author rambles on quite a bit and repeats the same points over again quite a few times. He also goes off on a bit of a tangent half-way through, when he talks about his humanistic spiritual philosophy.

I think most people would associate Centrism with political moderation and parties like the British Liberal Democrats and the Spanish Citizens Party. The views of Alex Van Allen, however, are anything but moderate. If they were the program of an European political party, they would probably be identified as authoritarian far right anti-immigrant. At times he comes across as a bit of a Fascist. His obsession with population control and advocacy of euthanasia is rather scary. He is hostile to tradition religion.

At times our author's ideas are reminiscent of Donald Trump, while sounding more intellectual. I suppose one could say that Trump is a 'Centrist,' as he combines conservative rhetoric with a more moderate stance on economic issues.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Polish Air Force in Action

Sorrows of a Stormtrooper

He is sad because his planet voted in a referendum to leave the Galactic Empire.

Artwork drawn for me by Romanian artist Sylvant, based on the Minor Threat album cover.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

CatholicHerald| Cardinal Nichols: ‘Upsurge in racism following Brexit vote must not be tolerated’

CatholicHerald| Cardinal Nichols: ‘Upsurge in racism following Brexit vote must not be tolerated’

Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that any upsurge in racism following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union must be stamped out.

Following last Thursday’s referendum result, a number of incidents have been reported across the country, including offensive graffiti scrawled on a Polish cultural centre in London and the holding up of banner by National Front supporters in Newcastle calling for the repatriation of immigrants.

Cardinal Nichols, who is president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, released a statement on Tuesday in which he said “we all need to reflect on what has been a tumultuous few days and ponder what is needed now.”

“Firstly, I am very conscious of the Polish community in Hammersmith or of people confronted by banners in Newcastle,” he said.

“This upsurge of racism, of hatred towards others is something we must not tolerate. We have to say this is simply not acceptable in a humane society and it should never be provoked or promoted.”

The Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Grant, we pray, O Lord our God, that we may be sustained by the intercession of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, that, as through them you gave your Church the foundations of her heavenly office, so through them you may help her to eternal salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, pray for us and for the city of Rome.

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Feast of Saint Irenaeus

O God, who called the Bishop Saint Irenaeus to confirm true doctrine and the peace of the Church, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, being renewed in faith and charity, we may always be intent on fostering unity and concord. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Irenaueus, pray for us, that we may reject all heresies.

The Guardian: Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit

The Guardian: Brexit has given voice to racism – and too many are complicit

by Miqdaad Versi

"While before the perpetrators were usually keyboard warriors, waging their xenophobic battle online, now more and more reports are emerging of real-life physical and verbal confrontations. Consider the Muslim schoolgirl cornered by a group of people who told her: “Get out, we voted leave,” or the eastern Europeans allegedly stopped from using the London Underground with shouts of “Go back to your own country.”

In Hammersmith, racist graffiti was daubed on a Polish cultural centre; in Manchester, angry demonstrators shouted slogans outside a mosque; and most worryingly in Newcastle, a placard was placed urging the country to “start repatriation”. Unfortunately, these episodes are only the tip of this hateful iceberg.

To claim these reports are solely due to last week’s referendum would be overly simplistic. Concerns about immigration, and in particular Muslim immigrants, have been simmering beneath the surface for some time. According to the British Social Attitudes, almost 50% of the population believe immigration has a negative impact on the British economy. Similar sentiments may also be found even within some established migrant communities, with individuals fearful that fresh waves of migrants will take their jobs or their children’s school places, as was voiced during the referendum campaign. This is despite the reality, that immigration is hugely beneficial for our nation."

Howitzers for Lithuania

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Cyril of Alexandria an invincible champion of the divine motherhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who believe she is truly the Mother of God, may be saved through the Incarnation of Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us and for all theologians.

Crux: Spanish cardinal who denounced ‘gay empire’ cleared of hate speech

Crux: Spanish cardinal who denounced ‘gay empire’ cleared of hate speech

ROME-A judge in Spain ruled on Thursday that a cardinal denouncing an attack against the Christian family by a “gay empire” was not, simply by virtue of using that language, committing a hate speech crime but exercising his right to freedom of expression.

The criminal proceedings against Cardinal Antonio Cañizares of Valencia were dismissed without further investigation because the magistrate saw no “criminal intent” nor an appeal to “hatred and violence” in the homily delivered by the prelate on May 13.

“The family is haunted today, in our culture, by an endless threat of serious difficulties, and this is not hidden from anyone,” Cañizares had said in his homily.

“We have legislation contrary to the family, the action of political and social forces, with added movements and actions of the gay empire, of ideas such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender theory,” he added.

Free speech prevails in Spain.

The War Continues

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Feast of Saint Maximus of Turin

O God, the light of the faithful, and shepherd of souls, who didst set blessed Saint Maximus of Turin to be a Bishop in the Church, that he might feed thy sheep by his word and guide them by his example: Grant us, we pray thee, to keep the faith which he taught, and to follow in his footsteps; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Maximus, pray for us, that we may be diligent in saying morning and evening prayers.

The 48%

I'm tired of people talking about the will of the British people or saying the British people decided to leave the EU. 48% of us voted to Remain, which is nearly half the country.

Many of those who voted Remain are deeply upset by the results and some of the bombastic commentary on the referendum victory for Leave shows a real lack of understanding of this.

I see this a lot in American bloggers and commentators on the right, who seem to show no awareness of why such a large proportion of the country decided to vote Remain. To pretend that half the population were deluded fools will do no favour to their notion that Britain is now a great nation again.

For the 48%

Friday, 24 June 2016

I felt like a Columbo Villain

I love watching Columbo films. So often there is a bit towards the end where the villain is convinced she has got away with it and about to see the back of Columbo. Then, he whips out a piece of evidence and then suddenly the sense of triumph evaporates. The villain searches in vain for a way to explain it, before meekly being led away by the cops.

Last night at the referendum count I was full of confidence and excitement, having seen the polls and the betting markets. Then we had the Newcastle result, then disappointment after disappoinment. I started at the computer screen watching the results, hoping that Remain votes would overtake Leave. After we lost Birmingham about 4:40 AM, I gave up and went to bed.

This morning I just felt dismayed, crushed and broken-hearted. Millions of other people, especially those in their twenties, who will lose out most from the loss of EU citizenship and job opportunities feel exactly the same way.

This is not a triumph.

The Guardian: We have woken up in a different country

The Guardian: We have woken up in a different country

by Jonathan Freedland

"That physical geography has not changed, but the psychological geography has. Suddenly it will make much less sense to headquarter a big international firm in London, or for a Japanese car-maker to locate a factory – one that aims to sell into Europe – in the north-east of England. Why do it, if you could be in Germany instead? Why come to post-Brexit Britain, where there could soon be the hassle of visas and tariffs and all the rest? Why bother?

The risk is that Britain becomes a kind of offshore oddity, quirky but irrelevant – shut out of the action of its neighbouring continent. That shift will be felt first by the City of London: perhaps few will shed any tears for them, even if financial services are – or used to be – one of this country’s biggest employers. But eventually that new view of Britain could percolate through, affecting our creative industries, our tourism and eventually our place in the world.

All of this will take some time. Who knows, perhaps the worst effects can be avoided altogether. But we should not be under any illusions. This is not the country it was yesterday. That place has gone for ever."

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Is the Palamite Distinction Ecumenical Dogma?

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Is the Palamite Distinction Ecumenical Dogma?

"I do not have a particular dog in the Palamite hunt, though I do fear that a conciliar declaration affirming the ecumenical status of the Palamite distinction will create a serious obstacle in ecumenical discussions with the Catholic Church. The historical fact is, there has long existed within Orthodoxy a diversity of interpretations of the divine essence and energies distinction, dating back to at least the 15th century (see the important essay “Palamas Transformed” by John Demetracopoulos). Is the distinction real, formal, or nominal? Theologians disagree. The Lossky/Romanides interpretation of the distinction has (apparently) become dominant in contemporary Orthodox theology, but that may well only be because contemporary theologians have yet to submit this interpretation to proper analysis and critique. If anyone is interested in exploring the matter further, I recommend the important collection of essays entitled Divine Essence and Divine Energies.

In my very provisional opinion, the Lossky/Romanides understanding of the Palamite distinction enjoys its present status primarily because of the continuing desire within Orthodoxy to ideologically distinguish itself from Roman Catholicism. At some point Orthodox theology simply must transcend the polemical need to define itself over against the cultural West."

Boris would risk your Job

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Guardian: Those saying we must ‘take our country back’ need to realise the consequences

The Guardian: Those saying we must ‘take our country back’ need to realise the consequences

by Stephen Kinnock

My friend and colleague Jo Cox was killed by the poison that has seeped into Britain’s politics in recent years. We owe it to her to defeat the forces of cynicism

There are those who say we must “take our country back”, who castigate those on one side of an argument as an “elite”, in the pay of an establishment, in it for themselves and detached from the real world. Those people have to realise that their aggressive words and dangerous rhetoric have consequences. If you try to light a fuse, you can’t be surprised when it catches.

I have never known anyone less in it for themselves than Jo. She cared about our place in the world because she cared about the lives of the real people that she had committed herself to serving. She believed in unity over division, a sentiment she conveyed so beautifully in her maiden speech just a year ago.

And she had been actively campaigning in recent weeks for our place in the world as an open, tolerant and generous nation. Just as she fought for our values as a nation when advocating for refugee children and those caught up in the Syrian conflict, so she fought for our values and place in Europe.

Jo was an internationalist to her fingertips, believing that we can do more good by working together with our friends and neighbours than we ever could on our own. She wanted Britain to continue to be an open, tolerant and generous country that engages with the world with our heads held high, instead of turning our backs on it. She wanted Britain to face the big challenges of the 21st century – from climate change and terrorism to the stresses and strains of globalisation – with our eyes and hearts open and with the strength in numbers that comes from being a part of a community of 500 million people.

The Mad Monarchist: A Word on the Crisis and Opportunity in Brazil

The Mad Monarchist: A Word on the Crisis and Opportunity in Brazil

"After the end of the monarchy, chaos quickly became commonplace and Brazil seemed to start falling into the same pattern of so many of her Latin American neighbors. Sometimes things got better, other times worse until Brazil is at the point it is today. There have been efforts to restore the monarchy before, with Brazilian monarchists even managing to put the issue to a vote which is so rare for former monarchies as to be almost unprecedented. That precedent provides at least more hope than might otherwise exist for the monarchists of Brazil to get another chance. Fortunately, the Brazilian Imperial Family is still around, still well thought of in general and, perhaps most importantly, still involved in Brazilian society. I have been more and more impressed with His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Bertrand over the years who has set an example that I really wish more non-reigning royals would follow. He has not hesitated to advocate for the restoration of the monarchy and has also shown no hesitation in actually taking a position on issues that matter and I have been very impressed by his views on the state of the Catholic Church, his views on politics and his efforts to educate the people of Brazil on the benefits of private property and free markets. All in all, Brazil could not ask for a better potential emperor and I would consider all Brazilians to be very fortunate to have him."

Remain and Reform

Independent: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi defects from Leave to Remain

Independent: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi defects from Leave to Remain

Former Conservative Party chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has defected from the Leave campaign and opted for Britain to remain within the EU.

She cited "hate and xenophobia" as the reasons for changing her position.

Her decision came after she saw Nigel Farage's controversial 'breaking point' poster, which was widely criticised for being xenophobic -- Chancellor George Osborne said it had echoes of 1930s propaganda.

Ms Warsi told The Times the poster was "the breaking point to say 'I can't go on supporting this'".

“Are we prepared to tell lies, to spread hate and xenophobia just to win a campaign? For me that’s a step too far.”

Echoing the sentiment of the Prime Minister's impassioned appearance on Question Time, she also accused leading Brexit campaigner Michael Gove of promoting "complete lies".

I am so delighted that Baroness Warsi has done this. She is a Conservative politician I deeply admire and one of the best examples of a patriotic British Muslim.

Sunday, 19 June 2016


Origins, by Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma

Deborah B. Haarsma and Loren D. Haarsma, Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design and Evolution, 2007 Faith Alive

This book surveys various Christian views on issues relating to evolution and creation, such as the age of the Earth and Intelligent Design. It evaluates them from a broadly Reformed perspective. The authors tend to favour some form of evolutionary creation. No doubt the Young Earth ex-fundamentalists who call themselves Reformed would dismiss this as inauthentically Reformed.

Origins very much feels like a school textbook, but goes into quite reasonable depth. I like the way it recognizes that different positions are multi-layered and cannot be encompassed simply through labels. Hence 'Progressive Creationists' might adopt a range of views between direct creation and evolution, either accepting common descent or rejecting it. The chapter on Adam and Eve raises some real theological problems in the relationship between the Biblical story and evidence of ancient humanity. The authors admit there are problems with all suggested views in that area.

I was a little disappointed they did not discuss John Sailhammer's Promised Land view of Genesis chapter 1 or John Walton's Cosmic Temple view.

Mail on Sunday: Brexit opened Pandora's box - and it could destroy Britain

Mail on Sunday: Brexit opened Pandora's box - and it could destroy Britain

by Dan Hodges

"And now we know too. The signs are everywhere. The plunging pound. The increasing panic on the stock market, not to mention the ever more strident attacks on the governor of the Bank of England, and any of the other despised 'experts' who dare to suggest Brexit represents a leap into the darkness.

In some ways, this is the most insidious element of all. The bonfire of reason that now underpins the Leave campaign. Facts, logic, experience – the foundations upon which any rational debate must rest – are systematically dynamited in pursuit of an intellectual abstraction known as 'sovereignty'.

Project Hate has brought us to the brink. Britain – the country we live in this morning – stands on the edge. This time next week it could all be gone. Our economic security. Our national security. Our international security. Imagine if it works. The overt racism. The overt demonisation of refugees. The graphic threats to stab the Prime Minister in the chest. Imagine if that is what constitutes a successful British political campaign in 2016.

We have seen campaigns like that before, but they have always been defeated. Defeated because moderate voices on the Left and the Right united to oppose them. Today there is no such unity.

The voices of moderation have fallen silent. Actually, it's worse than that. They have not fallen silent, but actively joined the chorus of anger and hate.

Jo Cox has gone. That warm and mischievous and funny and brave and principled and passionate woman has been lost to us for ever. But there is still – barely – time to save our country. On Thursday it runs out."

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Don't Scapegoat EU Migrants

Je Suis Traître

BBC News| Jo Cox MP death: Thomas Mair in court on murder charge

Thomas Mair gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain" when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The words of Thomas Mair will be poignant for every Stronger In supporter who has had people shouting 'traitor' at them.

I utterly reject the freedom that Thomas Mair believes in and I am proud to be a 'traitor.'

The Guardian: Mainstream politicians ‘clueless on migration debate’, says Jo Cox's husband

The Guardian: Mainstream politicians ‘clueless on migration debate’, says Jo Cox's husband

Mainstream politicians, he writes, “in most cases are clueless on how to deal with the public debate. Petrified by the rise of the populists they try to neuter them by taking their ground and aping their rhetoric. Far from closing down the debates, these steps legitimise their views, reinforce their frames and pull the debate further to the extremes (Sarkozy and the continuing rise of Front National is a case in point).”

Cox, who has spent months touring Europe speaking to campaigners, refugees and politicians to try to understand why populists have dominated the debate on migration, warns that governments, particularly in the UK, are at risk of focusing on the wrong issues: “They obsess over numbers (to most people 10,000 sounds as scary as 100,000), when they should focus on reinforcing frames of fairness and order.

“The UK government policy is a masterclass in how to get the crisis wrong; set an unrealistic target, miss it, report on it quarterly and in doing so show a complete lack of control heightening concern and fanning the flames of resentment.”

He said the forces hostile to refugees have political parties focused exclusively on the issue, whereas “the supportive groups have a few badly funded NGOs and a social media hashtag. In addition, progressive organisations with strong organising ability (whether political parties, trade unions or pressure groups) generally haven’t prioritised the crisis in the way the populist right have.

Indeed, mainstream politicians need to stop shying away from us issue or making empty promises to reduce immigration. They need to be honest and tell the public that immigration benefits us all.

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Conscience of a Liberal, by Paul Krugman

This book, by renowned economist Paul Krugman, is less an apology for liberalism and more of a polemic against conservatism, or at least its American variety. This is not necessarily a fault; there is much about conservatism that deserves to be criticised. Nevertheless, it is only really in the last chapter that he establishes the positive case for liberalism. I would have liked him to talk more about what it means to be a 'liberal,' as I am not altogether sure if I am one. I suppose in a British context, I would be considered a moderate conservative and in an American context I would be considered a moderate liberal.

The reader will learn much about the history of the USA in the Twentieth Century. Krugman argues that America before the Depression was a deeply unequal society, in which the wealthy possessed enormous power. This changed with the Depression, the New Deal and the Second World War, which had an enormous leveling effect. Krugman is a Kenynesian economist and he emphasizes the role of the ideas of John Maynard Keynes in the post-war economic settlement of America. He points out that in his time, Keynes' ideas were actually very conservative. Nearly all of Keynes' intellectual contemporaries believed that capitalism would fall and socialism and a planned economy were the future. Keynes, however, offered a way to save capitalism from Communist revolution by offering full employment and protection against depression. Our author argues that the period from the Second World War until the late Sixties was a middle-class golden age, during which the average American family enjoyed an higher standard of living than they do now.

Krugman's Darth Vader is 'movement conservatism.' This began with William Buckley, the founder of the National Review magazine. Buckley had some good things to say, in my opinion, but he was also prone to some extreme views, for instance his identification of Keynesian economics with atheism and Communism. Krugman likes to point out Buckley's support for Francisco Franco. Franco's regime in Spain was certainly brutal, but it should not be forgotten the threat to Spain of godless anti-Christian Communism. The emerging movement conservatism under Buckley's wing gave a platform to Neocon intellectuals and radical free market economists, most notably Milton Friedman. The movement formed a network of institutions which rewarded loyalty to those taking their line and blocked the career of those who were insufficiently conservative. Post-war Republicans often took very moderate positions on taxation and welfare. Nixon had offered very strong support to the welfare state. With the rise of movement conservatism, this was no longer possible, as any Republican politician who showed a wobbly voting record could be attacked by the financial and political pressures of the movement. As a result, the Democrat and the Republican Parties have drifted further apart.

It is interesting that the once powerful conservative movement begun by Buckley has now been torn apart by its failure in the 2016 primary. The aging radicals of the movement have come to be dismissed as 'establishment moderates,' usurped first by the fiscal fury of the Tea Party and now by the populist nationalism of Trump. How the new politics of the right will play out in the future is deeply uncertain. It is regrettable that this book was written before these developments. Likewise the book is also written to early to comment on the successes and failures of the Obama administration. This is particularly unfortunate in his chapter on healthcare.

Given that the conservative policies of low taxation for the rich and minimal welfare spending do not (in his view, and probably correctly) benefit ordinary Americans, how have Republicans come to win so many elections? Krugman looks at a number of factors. Controversially, he identifies race as the most important. Republican politicians were able to win votes in the South by carefully tapping into white anxieties about blacks. Without showing any overt racism, Ronald Reagan was able to send out racial dog-whistles, such as the buzzword 'welfare queen.' Foreign policy has also been used by conservatives, in part a result of support among the senior military. Republicans created the narrative that they, unlike the Democrats are strong on defence. Our author suggests this has now been shattered by the stumblings of the Iraq War. Nevertheless, it would seen that Obama's caution about overseas intervention continues to reinforce the notion that Democrats are unreliable on defence. He does not talk a lot about the fascinating subject of the role of Evangelical religion in conservative politics, suggesting that this would require a book in itself. He is uncertain whether Evangelicals have been used as a tool by movement conservatism, or whether Evangelicals have exploited the movement for their own agenda. These factors are important. I imagine if I was an American citizen, I would vote Republican just because I'm pro-life and a foreign policy hawk.

Krugman believes that the ultimate success of liberalism is assured. Americans are no longer satisfied, in his view, by the answers of conservatism and the racial complex that bound American politics is breaking down. Certainly, it looks likely that we will see Hilary Clinton take the White House for the Democrats. Our author believes that liberals are actually the true conservatives. They want to restore the post-war securities that Americans enjoyed in the fifties and sixties, while the conservatives want to achieve a radical small government utopia of their own imagining.

I enjoyed this book and found it deeply interesting. I think Krugman makes a strong case for the unhealthiness of movement conservatism, though I think it is less successful at providing a positive manifesto for liberalism. For my money, I would like to see another Republican president like Eisenhower or Nixon, a conservative who is willing to be flexible on social security and welfare.

Joint Exercise Success


 I can`t see many reds underneath my bed
But the fascists in the letter-box are messing up my head
You tell me I`ve got rights, the same for rich and poor
But you`re behind the police when they`re knocking down my door


With the rise of rampant xenophobia and overt racism, it's becoming like the 80s, when the National Front was strong and there was a racist skinhead on every street corner. This song definitely captures that mood.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Catholic Herald: EU myth-makers should go to Confession

Catholic Herald: EU myth-makers should go to Confession

by Dr Therese Coffrey

"Yes, the EU has unelected bureaucrats just as we have the civil service, the Bank of England and so on. I would not want to elect them directly as I want the nation states to be the leading decision-makers, as they are today. As for migration, I know in East Anglia that I only see EU migrants coming to take up work when we have a shortage of skilled and unskilled labour – in our hospitals, on our building sites and in the fields. I also see EU migrants alongside me at church, praying in the pews together.

We still drink pints, bought with British pounds, drive on the left in miles and yards, and keep our safe three-pin plugs. We will still be Britain with our Queen, our Armed Forces and the pound, staying out of the passport-free, border-free eurozone so we can enforce our borders.

While the EU can at times be infuriating, do not imagine that if we left all our challenges would be solved overnight. Far from it. The more this campaign has gone on, the more I am clear that on balance families and businesses in the UK will be stronger, safer and better off if we vote to remain in a reformed EU."

The Telegraph: I escaped Romania's dictatorship, went to Oxford and started a business – all thanks to European openness

The Telegraph: I escaped Romania's dictatorship, went to Oxford and started a business – all thanks to European openness

by David Tenner

"The point I am trying to make is that everything I have described has only been possible because of European openness. Fleeing tyranny; seeking employment and prosperity; receiving a world-class education; building my own company and creating more jobs and taxpayers.

And isn't it something to celebrate that everything I have achieved, anyone else lucky enough to live in modern Europe could too? Whether they were born here, moved here in search of opportunity, or show up destitute and desperate at our doorstep, having fled for their lives from war or oppression.

Forget about the arguments you will have already heard during the course of this campaign. Instead, ask yourself which direction history is moving towards: greater unity and cooperation, or isolation and small-nation mentality?

This referendum is not just about politics; this is about how you choose to see the world.

Do you choose fear or hope?"

The Political Context

The Guardian: Suspect in MP killing described as quiet, polite and reserved

Two separate witnesses have described the gunman in the attack as shouting “Britain first” as he stabbed, shot and kicked Cox.

Graeme Howard, 38, who lives in nearby Bond Street, said the man shouted “Britain first” before shooting the MP.

He said: “He was shouting Britain first when he was doing it and being arrested.”

Meanwhile, another eyewitness, Clarke Rothwell, told the Examiner: “He was shouting what sounded like ‘Britain first, Britain first’ but then seemed to panic and hurried off.

“He seemed scared and hurried off towards Union Street, dumping a jacket on the floor. I got into my van and tried to follow him but I lost him.”

A name matching that of the alleged suspect also appears on an extremist website. It describes him as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of” a certain extremist publication which is alleged to be linked to white supremacy.Suspect in MP killing described as quiet, polite and reserved

I'm getting frustrated by the determination of some people to play down any political dimension to this horrific act of violence.

GQ: We must reassert the civilised values Jo Cox MP stood for

GQ: We must reassert the civilised values Jo Cox MP stood for

by Rupert Myers

"Jo Cox’s heartbreaking twitter timeline is so clearly the output of a decent, devoted public servant. Her death, coming at it does at a time of such hostility and division, is likely to be debated in the coming days. It shouldn’t divide us, but remind us of our common humanity. As Jo Cox said, we are more united than divided. While her children have been denied their mother, the nation has a chance to unify around that important sentiment, and to cherish that common humanity as a civilizing force, to build upon the legacy of a woman who had so much more to give.

Jo Cox’s killing cannot be decontextualised. There are reports that the killer shouted “Britain First” before killing Jo Cox, who was campaigning for the UK to remain in Europe. The febrile atmosphere of the referendum has caused tempers to flare, and lowered the tone of public debate yet further. The country is awash with fear, cynicism and anger all stoked by political rhetoric. If politicians have played with fire in this referendum, then Jo Cox’s family are the ones who have been burned. The awful manner of her death must not be allowed to overshadow a simple, vital message: the belief Jo Cox held in our shared values. Those values have been attacked, as they are whenever democracy is attacked, but only by reasserting the civilised values Jo Cox stood for can we hope to meet that challenge."

Let's Honour Jo Cox by keeping Britain Stronger in Europe

Vote Remain for Jo!

The Spectator: A Day of Infamy

The Spectator: A Day of Infamy

by Alex Massie

So, no, Nigel Farage isn’t responsible for Jo Cox’s murder. And nor is the Leave campaign. But they are responsible for the manner in which they have pressed their argument. They weren’t to know something like this was going to happen, of course, and they will be just as shocked and horrified by it as anyone else.

But, still. Look. When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.’

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

Farage, Boris, Gove and chums may not brandish guns, but they have created a climate of fear and xenophobia in which violence can only occur. They must take responsibility for their xenophobic words.

The Guardian: The Guardian view on Jo Cox: an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy

The Guardian: The Guardian view on Jo Cox: an attack on humanity, idealism and democracy


"What nobler vision can there be than that of a society where people can be comfortable in their difference? And what more fundamental tenet of decency is there than to put first and to cherish all that which makes us human, as opposed to what divides one group from another? These are ideals which are often maligned when they are described as multiculturalism, but they are precious nonetheless. They are the ideals which led Ms Cox to campaign tirelessly for the brutalised and displaced people of Syria, and – the most painful thought – ideals for which she may have died.

This was no random event, and the police are investigating reports that the assailant yelled “Britain First” during the attack. This is not merely a chauvinist taunt, but the name of a far-right political party, whose candidate for City Hall turned his back in disgust on Sadiq Khan at the count, in sectarian rage at a great cosmopolitan city’s decision to make a Muslim mayor. The thuggish outfit denounced Ms Cox’s murder, as it was bound to do. But their brand of angry blame-mongering could very well serve to convince particular individuals, who may already be close to the edge, that some people are less than human, and thus fair game for attack. And all the more so at a time when divisive hate-mongering is seeping into the mainstream."

BBC News: Jo Cox MP dead after shooting attack

BBC News: Jo Cox MP dead after shooting attack

An MP has died after she was shot and stabbed during an attack in her constituency, police have said.

Jo Cox, 41, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was left bleeding on the floor by her attacker. A 77-year-old man also suffered slight injuries.

A 52-year-old man was arrested near Market Street, Birstall, West Yorkshire Police said. The MP held a weekly advice surgery nearby.

The MP's death was confirmed at police headquarters in Wakefield.

Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the country would be "in shock at the horrific murder", describing the MP as a "much loved colleague".

Lord, have mercy on the soul of Jo Cox

You may recall, I recently posted a link to an article written by Jo Cox. On the subject of immigration and the EU referendum. In tribute to her, I will re-post it here:

The Yorkshire Post: Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration

Jo Cox believed in the kind of Britain I believe in, a welcoming, inclusive country that is a part of Europe and the rest of the world.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Headcovering Movement: What Did Linus & the Apostle Peter Believe About Head Covering?

The Headcovering Movement: What Did Linus & the Apostle Peter Believe About Head Covering?

Here Linus is described as getting specific direction from the Apostle Peter on head covering. While only Paul writes about this matter in Scripture, Linus was a disciple of Peter, one of only three men who was specifically ordained as bishop by the Apostle. So he had the benefit of learning theology directly from him. So here we learn not only about Linus’ belief and practice, but that it was the apostle Peter’s too. This poses a problem for those that want to view Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 as being only for that one specific church. If that’s so, why did the Apostle Peter instruct the bishops he trained and ordained to enforce head covering too? From this brief statement we learn a few other things regarding this practice. We see that head covering was not a suggestion, but a command. Linus is said to decree that a woman “must” veil. “Must” is the language of obligation. Second, we see that this is primarily a church issue. Linus’ decree was not concerning what a woman does at home, or in public, but how she comes “into the church.” This corresponds to Paul’s instruction that head covering is for when one is “praying and prophesying” (1 Cor 11:4-5) which shows that this symbol is specifically for how we are to worship.

This is from an Evangelical site, so the editors offer a disclaimer that they don't necessarily endorse all the claims of the article. Of course, it's difficult to see how one can use this information to uphold he apostolic tradition of headcovering, without also accepting the premise that St. Peter was the first bishop of Rome (pope) and that St. Linus was his successor.

I remember as an Evangelical using quotes of the Church Fathers to support specific positions, while ignoring everything else they said.

The Guardian: Michael Gove's father denies his company was destroyed by EU policies

The Guardian: Michael Gove's father denies his company was destroyed by EU policies

Michael Gove’s father has contradicted claims made by his son that the family’s fish processing firm in Aberdeen was destroyed by the European Union’s fisheries policies.

Ernest Gove told the Guardian that he sold the business voluntarily because the fishing industry in Aberdeen was being hit by a range of different factors. These included competition for space in the port from North Sea oil vessels, the Icelandic cod wars, dockworkers’ strikes and new 200-mile limits to control over-fishing.

Michael Gove, who is representing the Vote Leave campaign in a BBC Question Time special on Wednesday night, has said in speeches and television interviews that his father’s firm “went to the wall” because of the EU’s fisheries policies, and that the common fisheries policy “destroyed” it.

Ernest Gove told the Guardian that he did believe the industry in Scotland “more or less collapsed down” after the EU became involved in fisheries policy, but he said he sold his firm voluntarily, as a going concern. “It wasn’t any hardship or things like that. I just decided to call it a day and sold up my business and went on to work with someone else,” he said.

Boris, Gove, Farage and chums will say anything, tell any story, true or false to get British people to buy their fantasies.

Stephen Hammond MP: Why I am voting 'Remain'

Stephen Hammond MP: Why I am voting 'Remain'

"I know that our country could survive outside the EU. However the uncertainty of leaving the European Union weighs heavily on my mind. We have no idea what out would look like, and different leave campaigners have wildly different views on what it should look like. We could be a member of the EEA like Norway, and be subject to most European Union regulations anyway with very little influence over them. Whatever happens British businesses will still have to comply with EU rules in order to do business in the EU. Surely we should retain a formal influence over the composition of these rules if our companies are going to be bound to them?

Moreover, Brexiteers make much of the fact that we would still be part of a trading area from Iceland to the Russian border if we left the EU. While this is true, this is not a tariff free zone and our exporters will face the burden of having to comply to differing both domestic and European regulations to gain access to the market. So we would still trade with the EU, but the costs of doing this would inevitably rise. We would survive outside the EU, but the real question is would we thrive?

In a globalised and interconnected world our country will be affected by many issues that are outside of the control of one Government alone, be it global pollution, the threat from terrorism or the conduct of the world’s financial markets. Therefore, I believe we must continue to work together on these external issues to ensure that the UK can continue to exert maximum influence over how they affect us.

I love the United Kingdom and I do not love the European Union. There is much about the EU that irritates and frustrates me, and there is much I would like to see reformed. I would also accept that the Prime Minister’s deal does not make the EU perfect and I will never say that the UK could not survive outside the EU. However, should we leave a reformed EU which gives us access to the single market and stops ever closer union and political integration out of irritation and pique? I do not think such a move is in our national interest."

Stephen Hammond attended the annual dinner of Stevenage Conservative Association a couple of years ago. I'm delighted that he is standing with David Cameron in calling for Britain to stay in a reformed Europe.

Reuters: In Greenland, some suggest the unthinkable - rejoin the EU

Reuters: In Greenland, some suggest the unthinkable - rejoin the EU

by Alister Doyle

Three decades after Greenland exited what is now the European Union, some of its politicians and business leaders say the vast Arctic territory should consider rejoining because of its slowness to diversify the economy away from fish.

Britain's referendum on June 23 about whether to stay in or quit the EU has revived debate about the future of Greenland, which in 1985 became the only member so far to leave after a 53-47 percent referendum vote.

A collapse in global commodity prices has put on hold Greenland's hopes of enticing billions of dollars of foreign investment from China and other nations to bolster its economy with projects such as in gold, rare earths, iron ore and oil.

"We should at least look into the option of rejoining," said Michael Rosing, a member of parliament for the Democrats, a junior member of the ruling coalition with four of 31 seats in parliament.

Rosing said EU membership might be the best way to entice investment, for instance in infrastructure for ports and airports, as a step towards diversifying the fish-dependent economy of 56,000 people.

Not to encouraging for the Brexit crowd?

Sadiq Khan for Britain in Europe

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Out of Europe, Out of Work

InFacts: It’s the geopolitics, stupid

InFacts: It’s the geopolitics, stupid

by Anne Applebaum

"Outside Europe, we are on our own. The US is negotiating a free trade deal with the EU, and has no interest in a separate one with us. The Chinese like negotiating with weaker partners – but a country which steals intellectual property and commercial information will not uphold British notions of “rule of law” or “fair play” in trade.

Leaving the EU will strengthen protectionism and xenophobia on the continent. France’s Marine Le Pen – and radical parties in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, central Europe and even Germany – are eager for the EU and Nato to fall apart. Continental eurosceptics are not our allies. Free trade is a bulwark against the authoritarianism they want to build. They want to destroy the EU of markets and the rule of law.

Brexit helps them. The result would be a Europe from which Britain is excluded, with our views and values radically diminished. The world could end up less democratic, less law abiding and less free – while Britain could be less rich, less happy, and less powerful."

So What?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Yorkshire Post: Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration

The Yorkshire Post: Brexit is no answer to real concerns on immigration

by Jo Cox MP

"But I strongly believe that concerns about immigration – as legitimate as they are – are not a reason to vote for Brexit. This is why:

First, because leaving the EU won’t solve the problem. Over half of all migrants to Britain come from outside the EU, and the result of this referendum will do nothing to bring these numbers down.

In fact, the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign have been promising that Brexit will allow Government to actually increase the amount of immigration from outside the EU, opening up a whole new tier of immigration to fill short-term vacancies.

The Leave campaign has also already agreed that all EU migrants who are here legally should be able to stay in Britain even if we vote out. That’s the right thing to do – but it’s important that voters are not under any false illusion that a vote to leave would reduce the number of European migrants currently in Britain."

Family Driven Faith, by Voddie Baucham

Evangelical author Voddie Baucham is part of what we might call the modern patriarcal movement, which emphasises the authority of fathers. Some people in that movement have gone to some worrying extremes. I don't know if Voddie Baucham wants to see child protection services abolished, but he is associated with people who do. On the other hand, Voddie Baucham is a rare black voice in the rather white dominated Reformed/ conservative Evangelical movement.

Most of this book is about how to bring up a family under the authority and influence of the Word of God. He says some very positive things here. I like the fact that he challenges Christians who allow their weekends to become dominated sports. He encourages such positive things as homeschooling, family devotions and catechetical studies within the family. I am not sure that he takes fully into account the financial pressures that prevent some mothers from staying at home. He says you can get by with less, but plenty of two-income families struggle to make ends meet. Baucham does not mention artificial birth control specifically, but he encourages parents to have lots of children. Catholic readers will be encouraged by his rejection of the Contraceptive Mentality.

In the last two chapters, Baucham offers some controversial views. He advocates what are called Family-Integrated Churches, in which families worship together without sunday schools. He rejects the place of youth ministry or children's ministry, arguing that they are un-Biblical. I think he makes some good points, though there is an extreme Biblicalism in the notion that a thing is undesirable because it cannot be directly found in Scripture.

InFacts: 5 Presidents won’t drag UK into EU superstate

InFacts: 5 Presidents won’t drag UK into EU superstate

by Hugo Dixon

"What Johnson doesn’t say is that there is no guarantee that the Five Presidents will get their way. While lots of euro countries do want fiscal union, they differ on what form it would take. For the Germans, it means more discipline. For the Italians, it means less austerity and more job creation.

It’s because of these wildly divergent views that the Five Presidents’ Report is now gathering dust. It merited just two non-committal paragraphs in the communique at last December’s summit of EU leaders.

Of course, it is possible that the leaders will eventually overcome their differences and push ahead with some form of fiscal union. Johnson is right, too, that David Cameron has promised not to create obstacles to such a move as part of his renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU. This was a mistake, as he gave this assurance without knowing precisely what, if anything, the euro zone may propose.

But, in return, we got commitments that the euro zone will not discriminate against the UK and a pledge that the EU treaty clause calling for “ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” will not apply to us. These provisions – along with our existing opt-out from the single currency – protect us from the bogeyman of an EU superstate."

The Feast of Saint Barnabas

O God, who decreed that Saint Barnabas, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, should be set apart to convert the nations, grant that the Gospel of Christ, which he strenuously preached, may be faithfully proclaimed by word and by deed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Barnabas, pray for us, that we may be generous in our judgement of others.

Not So Irish Luck

Friday, 10 June 2016

New Atlanticist| Great Expectations: Aspirant Nations See NATO Enlargement as Vital to Europe’s Stability

New Atlanticist| Great Expectations: Aspirant Nations See NATO Enlargement as Vital to Europe’s Stability

by Mitch Hulse

"NATO membership for countries in the Balkans and for Georgia is crucial for the stability of Europe and will send a clear signal that Russia does not have a veto over the alliance’s enlargement plans, panelists, including officials from Macedonia and Georgia, said at the Atlantic Council on June 8.

“The accession process into NATO has strengthened not only our military efficiency but also our society and democratic institutions in Macedonia,” said Zoran Jolevski, Macedonia’s defense minister. He spoke at a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council on “The Future of NATO Enlargement and New Frontiers in European Security.”

Greece blocked Macedonia’s accession into NATO at the alliance’s Bucharest summit in 2008 over a controversy rooted in historical dispute. Greece refuses to recognize the full constitutional name—the Republic of Macedonia—of the Balkan state. The Greek government sees the name as an indirect attempt at laying claim to the northern part of Greece, which is also known as Macedonia. NATO has sought a mutually acceptable solution before Macedonia can proceed down the path to accession."

Ed Miliband on Brexit

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Don't let Boris get away with it

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Feast of Saint Ephraim the Syrian

O GOD, who hast vouchsafed to enlighten thy Church with the wondrous learning and singular holiness of thy blessed Confessor and Doctor Saint Ephraem: we humbly pray thee; that, thou wouldest with unfailing power defend the same against all the deceits of false doctrine, and all the assaults of iniquity. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

St. Ephraim, pray for us and for peace in Syria.

Mirror: Nigel Farage spokesperson admits claim '5,000 jihadi fighters have come to the EU' isn't true

Mirror: Nigel Farage spokesperson admits claim '5,000 jihadi fighters have come to the EU' isn't true

He said: "I am happy to advise Mr Farage that the 5000 figure is a misinterpretation, but even Mr Wainwright will accept a figure nearing 2000.

"Nearly 2000 trained, battle experienced jihadi fighters within the borders of the EU is nothing to be complacent about, given the appalling horrors that a small handful have wrecked upon Paris and Brussels in recent months."

The spokesperson said he would tell Mr Farage not to use the statement in future.

William Hague on Brexit

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

From Age to Age, by Keith Mathison

Keith A. Mathison, From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology, 2009 P & R Publishing

This is a book-book theological survey of the Old and New Testament. I have read quite a number of similar books. Most of those were written from a Premillennial Evangelical perspective. This book, however, is Postmillennial in eschatology, holding that the Gospel will triumph over the whole world and thereby establishing God's Kingdom. The author explains how this theme of the Kingdom of God is developed through the revelation of Scripture and the divine covenants.

While this book is a solid exposition of Postmillennial eschatology, I think it would have been more effective if it had been structured thematically, rather than bibliographically. One of the best ever Premillennialist Biblical theology books, From Eternity to Eternity took a thematic approach. As I said, I have read many Old and New Testament surveys. When Mathison summarizes the themes of the prophets and epistles, he is treading on what for me is old ground. As a result, when he offered some fresh insights from his Postmillennialist perspective, he had already lost my attention. Nevertheless, more attentive readers than I am will find this book useful in establishing 'the big picture' of the Biblical narrative.

The Independent: EU immigration has no negative impact on British wages, jobs or public services, research finds

The Independent: EU immigration has no negative impact on British wages, jobs or public services, research finds

Key findings have included that wage variations for British workers have little correlation to immigration rates and are instead primarily linked to overriding economic factors such as the global economic crisis. The report’s authors also state that rather than being a burden on resources, immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in public services and play a vital role in reducing the budget deficit.

Report author Jonathan Wadsworth said: “The bottom line, which may surprise many people, is that EU immigration has not harmed the pay, jobs or public services enjoyed by Britons. EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in public services and therefore they help to reduce the budget deficit.

“So, far from being a necessary evil that we pay to get access to the greater trade and foreign investment generated by the EU single market, immigration is at worse neutral and at best, another economic benefit.”

The Heavy Anglo-Orthodox: Remembering Holy Bede the Venerable

The Heavy Anglo-Orthodox: Remembering Holy Bede the Venerable

Our father among the saints, Bede the Venerable, is the saint we commemorate today. As a father of the Orthodox Church, he is an exemplar for the monastic rule followed by Orthodox monks. A diligent and kindly oblate to the monastery at Jarrow, Bede devoted himself to Scriptural studies for the benefit of his brothers and enjoyed teaching them. He was obedient in his disciplines of prayer and keeping the offices of the choir. To all accounts he was a highly sensible Englishman, fair-minded and devoted to the service of others, whose virtues include his heartfelt piety and liberal manners. Such, indeed, was the depth of his knowledge and love that he began to be regarded as a saint even within his own lifetime.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Reuters: World trade chief says post-Brexit 'WTO option' may be unfeasible for UK

Reuters: World trade chief says post-Brexit 'WTO option' may be unfeasible for UK

"My experience has been that I haven’t seen a true free trader on this real earth yet. Everybody somewhere has some degree of protection or limitation in one sector or another."

Hong Kong and Macau offer duty-free models, but their economies are smaller and less complex than Britain's. And even if goods trade was totally liberalized, it might still be useful to have a written agreement on liberalizing trade in services, rather than a blank sheet, Azevedo said.

"The moment you want to write a limitation here or there, technically any member of the WTO may say 'I disagree with the limitation that you’re introducing'," he said.

He insisted that he wasn't telling Britain how to vote in this month's referendum or passing judgment on the policy options.

"All that I am saying is that unless you go for some kind of radical, almost theoretical, argument that no negotiations are needed, any other scenario would require some negotiation with all WTO members."

Sunday, 5 June 2016

EU Investment in Britain

Saturday, 4 June 2016

New Atlanticist: NATO’s Warsaw Summit: ‘Failure is Not an Option’

New Atlanticist: NATO’s Warsaw Summit: ‘Failure is Not an Option’

"NATO’s Warsaw summit in July is shaping up to be one of the most consequential in the alliance’s history, NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said on June 3 while noting the growing challenges on Europe’s southern and eastern flanks.

“We face one of the most challenging security environments in decades,” Vershbow said. “We have to step up and meet challenges from a revanchist Russia...and at the same time we have to deal with the arc of crisis that spans the entire Middle East and North Africa region.”

“Failure is not an option as we go into the Warsaw summit,” he added."

Gordon Brown on the EU

Friday, 3 June 2016

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Grant, Lord God, that we, your servants, may rejoice in unfailing health of mind and body, and, through the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, may we be set free from present sorrow and come to enjoy eternal happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Heavenly beauty and splendor of the Father, You are the most valued Heavenly treasure.
New Eve, immaculate in soul, spirit and body, Created of the godly seed by the Spirit of God, You are the spiritual Mother of mankind.
Pure Virgin, full of grace then and now, Your whole being was raised Heavenly in full glory, To be elevated above all the hosts within the Kingdom of God.
O Heavenly Mother, Queen of Heaven and earth, I recognize the glory of your highest title, The Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Loving Mother, dispenser of endless blessings, You who continuously intercedes on our behalf, Please present my need before your loving Son Jesus.
(In your own words, make your special request here. Speak to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as you would speak to another person, begging your Heavenly Mother to plea to Jesus on your behalf, that you be granted this special request.)
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, I know that you are now presenting my need before Jesus, For you have never turned away those in dire need.
Mother dearest, I await your favorable answer, Submitting myself to the Divine will of the Lord, For all glories are His forever and ever.

Litany of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, favorite Daughter of God the Father,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of God the Son,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, redeemed in a sublime
manner by the merits of thy Son, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother and
Model of the Church, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, excellent exemplar
in faith and charity, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who conceived the Word
of God in Thy heart before thy did in thy womb,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who gave precious Blood
to the Son of God in His human nature, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, conceived free of Original Sin,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who embraced God's saving will
with a full heart, impeded by no sin, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose sweet soul a
sword pierced beneath the Cross, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, given to us as Mother
by Jesus as He hung dying on the Cross,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, who accepted us
as sons as thou stood beneath the Cross,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, all pure and holy,
pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, exalted by Divine grace
above all Angels and men, pray for us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of grace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the
promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, bearing with love for all thy children upon earth, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Show to Our Heavenly Father the Wound in the Heart of Thy Son and at the same time offer again the sword that pierced thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as thou suffered by compassion with Thy Divine Son for the redemption of the world. By thy intercession, through the merits of Jesus Christ, bring us to salvation. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us, that we would be truly conformed to Christ.

FPRI: Blunting Moscow’s Sword of Damocles Policy in the Baltic Region

FPRI: Blunting Moscow’s Sword of Damocles Policy in the Baltic Region

by Douglas Mastriano and Jeffrey Setser

"How should NATO respond to such a risk? There are concerted steps that NATO and the United States can take. Frontline, vulnerable allies such as the Baltic states should be armed with offensive capabilities that give them a modest ability to strike Russian bases, transportation hubs, and airfields. Acquiring mid to long-range weapons could make threatening these nations less appetizing to Moscow. If attacked, these offensive weapon systems could wreak havoc on Russian command and control nodes, transportation hubs and disrupt the movement of Russian forces. This would provide the Baltic nations a credible military capability and strengthen deterrence capabilities.

The US can help. It should station more military assets in the region, to complement the US Army’s campaign of making “30,000 American Soldiers look like 300,000” in Europe. The genius of such a concept is to blend the Active Army with the Army National Guard and Army Reserve to support the European Theater. Exercises conducted in the region must be expanded in size and scope. Part of this expansion should be called “Deploy Forces to the Baltics.” Using the Return Forces to Germany concept (an annual exercise to deploy American forces from the United States to Europe) during the Cold War, the goal is to allow units to fly soldiers into the region and use the American equipment already staged there. This reduces the arrival time of “over the horizon” forces considerably.

Finally, the key to forward defense of NATO is to permanently station American and other NATO forces in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This force should be a three-brigade element, one in each nation. Estonia should have a mechanized American Brigade Combat Team, Latvia a regional Baltic Brigade that should include forces from Sweden and Finland (if they are willing to participate as non-NATO partners). The brigade in Lithuania should be a multi-national NATO force permanently stationed in the Suwalki Gap. Keeping this gap open is imperative lest the Baltic states are cut off from the rest of NATO. The purpose of these three brigades is to provide both an equitable level of deterrence/assurance, while also providing sufficient forces to secure key infrastructure (i.e. airports, sea ports) to facilitate the arrival of additional NATO forces."

It is vital that the US and western Europe stands with our allies in the Baltic states.

Foreign Affairs: Making America Great Again

Foreign Affairs: Making America Great Again

The Case for the Mixed Economy

by Jacob S Hacker and Paul Pierson

"Why does it take a lot of government to get and keep prosperity? Because government has unique capacities—to enforce compliance, constrain or encourage action, and protect citizens from private predation—that allow it to solve problems that markets can’t solve on their own. These problems are both economic and political; they concern areas in which markets tend to fall short and areas where market actors tend to distort democratic processes in pursuit of private advantage. And even beyond correcting market failures, government can play an important role in helping markets do better at serving human needs.

One important market failure comes in the underprovision of what economists call “public goods,” valuable things that must be provided to everyone or no one. The classic example is a lighthouse. Its light is available to all ships navigating a coastline. There is no cost-effective way to limit the lighthouse’s benefits to paying customers, so nobody has a reason to pay. And if no one pays, markets won’t motivate anyone to provide the good. Public goods of this kind are prevalent in modern life. The biggest, most obvious example is national security, which consumes one-sixth of U.S. federal spending, but the same logic applies to infrastructure and fundamental scientific research, the latter of which is the cornerstone for technological innovation.

Another kind of market failure involves the effects of market operations on people who are neither buyers nor sellers. Economists call these effects “externalities,” and a classic example of a negative externality is pollution. In an unregulated market, neither a factory owner nor a firm’s customers have strong incentives to care about what happens to, say, the noxious byproducts of the factory’s manufacturing processes. So in an unregulated market, the factory can spew toxins into the air or water with impunity. Where such externalities are present, the market prices for the goods in question will not reflect the true social costs (or, for positive externalities, the benefits) of the private transaction."

An extremely interesting article arguing for the role of government intervention as fundamental to economic prosperity.

Nick Clegg on the EU

There is No Love Like the Love of Jesus

There is no love like the love of Jesus,
Never to fade or fall,
Till into the fold of the peace of God
He has gathered us all.


Jesus’ love! precious love!
Boundless and pure and free!
Oh, turn to that love, weary, wand’ring soul!
Jesus pleadeth for thee.

There is no eye like the eye of Jesus,
Piercing so far away;
Ne’er out of the sight of its tender light
Can the wanderer stray.


There is no voice like the voice of Jesus,
Tender and sweet its chime—
Like musical ring of a flowing spring
In the bright summer time.


There is no heart like the heart of Jesus,
Filled with a tender love;
No throb nor throe that our hearts can know,
But He feels it above.


Oh, let us hark to the voice of Jesus,
Then we shall never roam;
And we shall rest on His loving breast,
In the dear heavenly home.


Theodore E. Perkins (1831-1912)

This has to be the most sentimental Protestant hymn ever. However, it does seem rather appropriate for this solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

How would we cope?

We do have controlled immigration. Our immigration is controlled not by government, but by the market. When there are job vacancies to be filled, we get immigrants. When there are no vacancies, we don't get many immigrants. It's strange that conservatives who believe in free-market economics should demand that the government overrule market forces in this area.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we, who glory in the Heart of your beloved Son and recall the wonders of his love for us, may be made worthy to receive an overflowing measure of grace from that fount of heavenly gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed in the womb of the Virgin Mother by the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, united substantially to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom art all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon Thee.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in Thee.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.

Almighty and everlasting God, look upon the Heart of Thy well-beloved Son and upon the acts of praise and satisfaction which He renders unto Thee in the name of sinners; and do Thou, in Thy great goodness, grant pardon to them who seek Thy mercy, in the name of the same Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee, world without end.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, may we never stray from thy love.