QED

Losing with Dignity is Still Losing

never trumpI attended the Centre for Independent Studies 2018 John Bonython lecture the other evening. Daniel Hannan was the speaker. A preamble: I watched the BBC immediately after the Brexit vote and found myself shouting at the tele when Hannan, who was an important part of the Leave campaign, seemed to go to water and preach compromise. Nevertheless, we can’t afford to remove prominent people from the good-guy side because of occasional lapses. So, I looked forward to his address on “How Identity Politics Are Undoing the Enlightenment.”

Let me say without qualification that Hannan’s speech was magnificent in content and in delivery. It was the best speech I have ever heard on identity politics and among the best speeches I have ever heard on any topic. It deserves to be celebrated, published and distributed in written and audio form to all schools and universities and, most assuredly, to all journalists and politicians. I’d love a copy. Maybe the CIS will publish it. I hope so.

Have you ever attended a movie or play or anything when things go pear-shape in the second half? It is though the director or writer or participants simply ran out of steam. An evening in two halves applied to my experience. It was going so well and my spirits were lifted; even the FAQ wine tasted like a fine vintage. Question time arrived. This was all done via on-stage dialogue, with Tom Switzer leading the questioning. I forget how exactly, but, alas, Hannan was given a platform to disparage Donald Trump and boy did he go on and on. And, but for that, it could have ended so well.

Hannan is an archetypal elitist anti-Trumper. As public-school boy and Oxford graduate, he is offended by Trump’s style. Sorry, being the son of a motor mechanic and trade unionist in the working-class town of Liverpool, my shoulder chip is showing. But there is a point in there. Trump appeals to ‘deplorables’. They are the ones who have suffered as a result of thoughtless free-trade deals which have taken no account of localised effects; of mass low-skilled, culturally-clashing, immigration; and of the latest fad of global warming. Elitists who have orchestrated or been complicit in this globalist bombardment of Western civilisation haven’t suffered in the slightest. They have their precious principles and the common folk can go hang.

Apparently, according to Hannan, Mike Pence is a better kind of person to be US president. I like Pence too but, give me a break! He is there on the coattails of Trump. He could never have made it on his own. I seriously doubt he has the same strength of character, as does Trump, to take on the Establishment and the leftist press, to shepherd through massive tax cuts, to deregulate the economy, to stick at building that wall, to nominate and stand by two originalist Supreme Court justices, to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, to give the military discretion to defeat ISIS, to bomb Syria, to get out of the Paris agreement and the Iran deal, and to impose tariffs on China and others in an effort to get better deals to protect US workers. And there is much, much more if you would like to consult Conservapedia.

To bring it close to home we are surely seeing now that Scott Morrison would never have had the bottle to stop the boats. You might recall that it ‘couldn’t be done’ and, in any event, would risk war with Indonesia. It needed a streetfighter like Trump — and we all too briefly had one in Tony Abbott. Mind you, people of discernment didn’t like his manly style. Save us, please, from these pusillanimous prigs.

The worst of them is that coterie of conservative journalists like Hannan, and George Will in the US, who appear willing to sacrifice Western civilisation in the cause of politeness. They represent an impotent rump of conservative political thought which rude, crude and unscrupulous leftists will crush. They are used to being (and are prone to being) good losers, content with playing a principled game. We cannot afford them on our side. Adhering to Marquess of Queensberry rules is fatal in a street fight.

The latest figures from the US put unemployment at 3.7% with real average weekly earnings beginning to grow, having languished for years. GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter of this year and by 3.5% in the third quarter. Significantly, job growth in the US since Trump has encompassed manufacturing and mining. Jobs that Obama pronounced wouldn’t come back. “What magic wand do you have,” he sniped at Trump on the campaign trail in 2016. Well Trump had three magic wands: tax cuts, deregulation and better trade deals. We have yet to see anything like the full benefits of Trump’s magic wands.

None of these economic benefits, which would be extinguished under Democrat policies of open borders, higher taxation, re-regulation and renewable energy madness, convince the Never Trumpers. Jobs for unemployed workers in West Virginia, jobs for blacks and Hispanics in the inner cities – what are these when put against the anguish elites suffer at having to endure some crass Trump tweets? If these Never Trumpers ever mixed with people who struggle to make enough to feed, house and educate their children they might begin to put Trump’s style into perspective.

Trump is uniquely fitted and desperately needed for our time, as Churchill was for his. I don’t care that Trump ungallantly referred to Stormy Daniels as “horse face”; at least he didn’t call her a blackmailing trollop. Or if Churchill, accused of being drunk at dinner, was ungallant enough to suggest to unprepossessing Liverpool Labour MP Bessie Braddock that while he would be sober in the morning, she would still be ugly. In the scheme of things, saving our way of life (and our children’s and grandchildren’s) is more important. Don’t you think?

13 comments
  • johanna

    Well said, Peter.

    The aristocratic disdain of the bowtie ‘conservatives’ at National Review and other places is an absolute gift to the Left, who have no such scruples about bare knuckle fighting. Recall that prior to to 2016 election, the NR devoted an entire issue to articles about why Trump should not become the President. Fortunately, they did not get their wish.

    They are every bit as out of touch as the elitists on the other side. The difference is that while the bowtie brigade allow themselves to be trotted out by a gleeful media as disaffected conservatives and Republicans, the Left’s elitists are not that stupid, whatever private reservations (if any) they have. Like our homegrown equivalents, the late Malcolm Fraser and the ghastly John Hewson, the desire for the spotlight far outweighs any other consideration. We can expect Malcolm Turnbull to join that club, if he hasn’t already.

    As for Trump’s direct and unpretentious style, too bad if it has these fops fainting on the couch, lace hankies drifting onto the antique Persian rug. For one thing, he is an absolute gentleman compared to say, Lyndon Johnson, who never attracted this kind of criticism from either his own side or the opposition. Johnson was a real pig, no question.

    For another, Trump passes what we in Australia call the pub test. He is colourful, funny, and he exaggerates – but he delivers.

    As for intellect, he is a hell of a lot smarter at politics than this lot of over-privileged nancy-boys, as his victory demonstrated. Like Bob Hawke, he manages to be very clever without losing the common touch or talking down to people.

    Re your comments about the speech, this is what they excel at – finely crafted written pieces which achieve little or nothing in the real world. Nice work if you can get it, but nothing whatever to do with the brutal and unforgiving struggle for political power.

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Daniel also gives me false hopes: one moment berating the left, the next seemingly agreeing with their position. He tries to present a balanced view when none exists and to somehow equate the viciousness of the left generally with the odd outrage on the right. I do note he is not the only one when mealy mouthed conservatives say things like” both sides are guilty of abusive speech and violent protest”. No they are not. Where are the squalling mob with loud speakers pushing and shoving the bruvvers and sissers as they go to trade hall to listen to Bill and Bowen? It does not happen so we see our defenders already tying one hand behind their back to play nice before they even get into the ring. And when can we expect ScoMo to get in the ring?

  • Keith Kennelly

    Lawrie

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for the chief wimpMorrisonto get in the ring.

    He’s just anothe Lino.

  • Keith Kennelly

    ‘And there is much, much more if you would like to consult’

    The most signficant of Trump’s decisions is often overlooked. As it is here.

    Trump has abandoned the Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapon Treaty.
    China and Iran have never been signatories and Russia no longer even pretends adherence.

    An advantage in Intermediate range weapons is fundamental. These weapons can be deployed at targets from 300 to 3000kms. It means any attacking or defending forces massing can be wipe out fairly easily. Simply the side deploying them will win any war.

    That is why both China and Russia have been increasingly belligerent outside their borders, in internation trade and in international relationships.

    Now the US under Trump is arming with intermediate range nuclear weapons.

    They’ll be particularly effective in the South China Sea , the Mid East (all Iran’s nuclear capable rockets are intermediate range.) and Europe.

    All Trump now has to do is arm his cruise missiles with nuclear warheads.
    He will have dominance immediately and cheaply.

    Watch China, Russia and Iran all ‘pull their heads in’.

    Well done Donald Trump, outstanding defender of the west and leader of the free world.

  • stuius

    Spot on, Peter. Trump is the towing genius of the hour: in the arena, face marred by dust and sweat and blood, striving valiantly…. but contrary to the quote, scarcely erring or coming short at all, and succeeding brilliantly. And all the prim and proper conservatives can do is carp. It’s pathetic. In fact I think they’re a bit jealous of Trump because he’s so damn good that he actually shows them to be unimaginative main-chancers missing the main chance. Trump and Farage render Hannan irrelevant…. unless he can show that they broke the rules. But then, that’s the point.

  • pgang

    “How Identity Politics Are Undoing the Enlightenment.”

    Is the secular world really so incompetent in its thinking? The correct way to express this, to offer meaning without misleading labels, would be, “How humanism is undoing humanism”.

  • pgang

    I really appreciate Mr Smith’s support of President Trump. It was good to see Mr Franklin belatedly coming to the party also, as is Mr Sheridan. The latter two converts are not at all surprising, given that they are gentlemen of moral fibre and genuine ability.

    In Solzhenitsyn yesterday I read a character say words to the effect that, ‘a crowd is weak because it has no focus, but an individual spirit with the courage to face the crowd can defeat them’. There-in is the nature of the ‘man of the moment’.

  • [email protected]

    Thank you Peter for this piece which is so well summarised by its heading. Disappointing for you to witness Daniel Hannan lapsing in the second part of his presentation at the Bonython lecture. I much appreciated his 2013 book ‘How we Invented Freedom and why it Matters’. Towards the end of the book the chapter “From Empire to Anglosphere” suggests the Anglosphere [including India and Sth Africa] has common values that make it an obvious advantageous trading block surpassing the EC in value to its members.

    Donald Trump cautions his supporters that they may become tired of winning. It is a hazard that Liberal Party supporters never faced under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, the leader who usurped the rank with its sizable majority of seats and then lost every one of them. Energy policy was just one where he tried to eliminate product differentiation between Liberal and Labor. The long term damage of his leadership comes from his schooling the Party to find common ground with the Greens and Labor.

    Morrison and Frydenberg have shown no ability to win in a contest of ideas with Labor. They seem incapable of wanting to wedge them by, for example, advocating cutting immigration, buying nuclear submarines, or stopping renewable subsidies.

  • Keith Kennelly

    Morrison is a leader in search of a leader. Frydenberg is following Morrison. Neither man, like Turnbull, have any leadership qualities and they are as out of stouch as Turnbull

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