Photos of Denise Ho at the ASI

Earlier this evening I attended an event at which Denise Ho answered questions put to her by an ASI guy, about the unfolding situation in Hong Kong. I photoed her:

Very impressive.

Short summary. The protests continue, and the way for her side to win is to universalise the struggle, turning it from a merely local battle, which China is bound to win, into a global argument, which China is a lot less likely to win. Hence her presence in London (and many other spots around the world) to tell people about what’s happening in Hong Kong.

I heard another talk about Hong Kong on Monday that covered a lot of the same ground. My question then (which I thought rather than actually asked) was: What can we do to help? Answer, from Denise Ho this evening: a lot. Because “we” means everyone else in the world who wants to help.

An “electoral pact” is going to happen whether Boris agrees to it in public or not (which is why he isn’t agreeing to it (in public))

Steve Baker MP says that he struggles to see how Brexit can win the next general election, if Boris doesn’t do a deal with the Brexit Party:

I, on the other hand, think that I can see exactly how Brexit can win the next general election, if Boris doesn’t do a deal with the Brexit Party. And I reckon Boris does too. (Whether anyone can then “reunite the Conservative coalition” is another matter. Say I: one thing at a time. The task now is to get a Brexit Parliament, followed by Brexit.)

Farage definitely does get how to get that Brexit Parliament, election deal or no election deal.

This, which I spotted in these comments at Guido Fawkes, explains:

The important thing is that all Brexit voters need to know who to vote for in their particular constituency, come the day, to ensure Brexit. So, the Brexit Party just needs to tell them. If the Brexit Party campaigns for Conservative Brexiters who’ll win, but for its own candidates when they are more likely to win, the Brexit Party will get its deal. And Brexit will then happen.

All the Brexit Party has to do is impose its deal by keeping the Brexit voters fully informed, and the Brexit voters will do the rest.

Boris has no power to stop this.

But here’s the twist.

Assume that Boris truly wants Brexit. I think he does, if only because if he doesn’t get Brexit, both he and the Conservatives will be toast. Even if he’s a pure egomaniac, his pure egomania is now, surely, fully aligned with Brexit happening, on his watch. That’s the only way Boris gets to be Churchill 2, which is his not-at-all-secret fantasy.

And, if the above is correct, all that is needed is a general election, and Brexit will follow. Deal or no deal.

The reason Boris doesn’t want to do a deal with the Brexit Party is the same as why the London/Cummings wing of the Brexit campaign in the general election didn’t want to cooperate with Farage. Because, in the event of such public collaboration, there was and is a crucial slice of Conservative but only Leave-ish voters in the affluent south who would have been put off voting Leave, and would who would now be put off voting Conservative and would switch to the LibDems.

Ergo, it is actually Boris doing a deal with the Brexit Party that might jeopardise Brexit, rather than no deal. Just as the original Brexit vote would have been lost, if the Brexit voters had all feared that voting Brexit meant voting for Farage.

Remember, Boris is cleverer than me, and probably also cleverer than you. Boris must have realised all this, if only because Dominic Cummings must have explained it all to him, several weeks or months ago. To get a Brexit win in the next general election, Boris doesn’t need a deal, and actually would be better off not doing a deal. He just has to let nature take its course, with just enough behind-the-scenes nudging to make sure, e.g., that Conservatives who are going to lose don’t campaign too eloquently, and the odd phone call to/from Team Boris from/to Team Farage to make that little bit more sure that all this happens smoothly.

I know, what the hell do I know? This could all be oh-so-clever-clever bollocks. Good point. But, Steve Baker says he’s waiting for someone to explain how Brexit can win without Boris doing an election deal with the Brexit Party. I believe I just did.

Please note also that although my pro-Brexit opinions are probably very clear in the above, the analysis still works no matter which side you are on.

Tom Holland on the state of democracy in Britain now

This from Tom Holland:

Those who speak of the death of British democracy seem to me to have it exactly wrong. Everything that is happening is happening because we, as a country, are testing existential issues that many other countries have opted to suppress in a way so democratic as to be titanic.

I reckon he needs a comma after “suppress”, and maybe another after “issues”. The point being that it is the testing which is titanic, rather than the suppressing.

I remember, or think I remember, saying something along these lines in this. If not that one, then in one of those conversations with Patrick. Which, in my mind, are, I now realise, merging into one great big conversation, lasting about twenty five solid hours and counting.

The Great Realignment is now up and running

I don’t mean the thing itself, although something along those lines definitely is happening. I mean the blog of that name. Earlier this month, I noted that The Great Realignment …:

… was there to be read. But at that time, there wasn’t a lot of stuff actually to be read there.

I only recently took a second look, and from now on I’ll be going there more frequently.
Because now, the postings are starting to pile up quite impressively.

I think the Guy Fawkesian Parliamentary explosion at the top is a bad idea, and also very misleading. The Great Realignment won’t put any sort of end to that place. It will merely fill it with rather different people, very differently divided and shouting different things at each other.

Me and Patrick Crozier talking about WW1: If only?

A few weeks ago, Patrick Crozier and I recorded a conversation about the First World War. Patrick’s short intro, and the recording, are here. (It would appear that Croziervision is now back in business.)

The “If only” of my title is because we talk about the question of “what if” WW1 had never started. What might have happened instead? The unspoken assumption that has saturated our culture ever since is that it would surely have been far, far better. But what if something else just as bad had happened instead? Or even: something worse?

We discuss the reasons for such pessimism. There was the sense of economic unease that had prevailed since the dawn of the century, resulting in a time not unlike our own. And, there was the fact that Germany, Austria, Russia and Turkey were all embarked upon their various journeys from monarchy to democracy, and such journeys are always likely to be, says Patrick, bloodbaths. Whatever happened in twentieth century Europe, it surely would not have been good.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog