Thursday, November 28, 2013

They are prepared (maybe)

EurActiv reports reactions from the various parliamentary groups to the possible threat of eurosceptic parties in next year's elections. Needless to say, those parties are described as populist, which is clearly a very bad thing, also far-right, which is so hard to define that they do not even bother.

First off, here are the socialists:
Countering euroscepticism will be a central topic of the European socialist party’s campaign, according to Massimo D'Alema, the president of the the left-wing foundation FEPS, who worries about the surge of populist and extreme parties at next year's European election.

Speaking to EurActiv, the president of the Foundation for European Policy Studies (FEPS) says that “the only way to counter such euroscepticism isn’t to defend Europe as it now exists."

“The socialist slogan of this campaign should be: ‘we want to change Europe’. We are not defending the current form of the EU,” he adds.

D’Alema is a former prime minister of Italy, who led two successive governments from 1998 to 2000. He now leads the foundation of the socialist political family on the European level, FEPS, which is involved in drafting the text that will serve as European common manifesto for the socialists' campaign.

“We cannot ignore what the eurosceptics are saying,” he says. “We must take it into account. But the problem is how to answer to their arguments; how to offer an answer – including technical solutions. This is our duty as traditional political parties. Populists don’t offer such answers.”
A winner that: let's make the EU more socialist, less viable economically and give more power to the bureaucracy at the centre, then all those nasty populists will just turn into a little hoop and roll away.

The EPP, the supposedly Centre-Right grouping is concerned but sees no reason to panic:
These worries are shared by the centre-right European People's party (EPP). At a recent event in the European Parliament, the deputy director of the European Peoples Party's political foundation the Centre for European Studies, Roland Freudenstein, addressed these alarmist calls, stressing that “there is reason to worry" but "no reason to panic".

“Populists are problem seekers, not problem solvers. This means we should not shy away from addressing the topics they address,” he said. “The worse reaction would be to cry out: ‘Help, the Barbarians are at the gate; we have to team up’.”
Presumably, the knowledge that turn-out for European elections falls every five years gives these worried but not panicky people heart: they will get back to the trough as most people will not be bothered to vote for anybody.

We shall have to wait till February and March of next year to see what the various manifestos say. Meanwhile, there is a slight tinge of worry among some:
There is a risk that the upcoming campaign becomes a battle of pro-EU politicians versus anti-EU politicians. “This will benefit the Eurosceptics, and not the pro-Europe camp,” argues Paul Taggart, who studies Eurosceptic parties from across Europe at the University of Essex.

It also distorts a debate on policy, Taggart says: “A normal [political] debate would be to have a range of different opinions. If politicians discuss the welfare state, you don’t hear a debate on whether you should have one or not; you hear a variety of positions.”
When I read comments like that with the clear lack of understanding of how the whole principle of the EU differs from simple policy making I take heart. These people cannot win an IN/OUT referendum. Then I remember that there are many on that side who are smarter than this denizen of the University of Essex. Also I look at our side and read their comments. Then I despair.

Former Soviet republics between a rock and a hard place

One of the many subjects I have not written about is the supreme indifference with which the EU seems to have accepted Ukraine being bullied to stay in Russia's orbit, though Ukrainians themselves seem distinctly unhappy at the thought of being nothing but Putin's vassals. I shall try to pick that story up as there is quite a lot there.

Now we have two other countries who might or might not sign trade agreements with the EU. One is Georgia that was badly let down by NATO five years ago when France and Germany with other satellites refused to contemplate a Membership Action Plan for that country, in order not to upset Russia, helped to unleash that war.

Five years on and with a new government, the country seems as defiant as ever. There has been some thawing in the relationship with the big bully over the border.
In a sign that ties could finally be improving, Russia this year lifted bans on imports of Georgian wine, mineral water and fruit that were imposed in 2006.

Even so, tensions remain high after the August 2008 war over two Moscow-backed breakaway regions. Diplomatic relations, severed after the war, have not been restored and Russia still controls the two separatist-minded regions.
I wish we would import Georgian wine in slightly larger quantities but I don't suppose the EU's wine producers will like that.

New Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili is insisting that Georgia is not Ukraine and it jolly well will initial a new trade and association accord in Vilnius tomorrow, with a final signature to follow next year.

Ukraine, as we know will not be there and will not be initialling anything. Moldova insists that it will be following Georgia's example though Russia's proxies, the Moldovan Communist has been staging demonstrations against the accord and the party's leader, who looks remarkably like an old-fashioned Soviet apparatchik, has been demanding that Moldova join the Russian customs union instead.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stepped up pressure on former Soviet republics hoping to move closer to Europe on Tuesday by warning that they would face "years of economic turmoil", including higher unemployment and lower living standards.
Moldova's living standards are already very low but the threat is not an idle one. The EU is not going to raise those living standards and economic benefits, if any, from the closer association agreement will be slow in coming. Russia can make life difficult for both countries, which will not benefit her either but will show everyone who is boss. One to watch with some dismay.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Slavery in Britain

On another discussion thread somebody pointed out that slavery is illegal in the UK and has been for some time. True enough. On the off-chance that somebody who reads this blog may be in touch with the Home Secretary, here are the facts:

Slavery in Britain has been illegal since Lord Mansfield's decision in the Somersett case in 1772. Slave trade in the British Empire has been illegal since 1807. Slavery in the British Empire has been illegal since 1833. We need another Bill about as much as we need Theresa May.

Maybe that last sentence is a little tactless.

A Modern Slavery Bill?

Whenever the words new and Bill and Theresa and May come into one sentence I start feeling unwell. If I had a revolver I would reach for it and if I had a bullet proof vest I would put it on.

As it happens, I do not have to write about her proposed Modern Slavery Bill that is going to be, assuming it gets through Parliament, an absolute horror, as Tim Worstall has posted an excellent piece on the Adam Smith Institute blog.

Here is the introductory paragraph, which made me laugh out loud at first but only at first:
I know that I shouldn't giggle over such things but the revelation that the three "slaves" recently found were in fact the remnants of a Maoist commune well known to social services (indeed, housed by the local council) does provide a certain amusement as we see various leftish types suddenly running away from the story. However, now onto something a great deal more important. Theresa May and various campaigners are going to use this to try and pass an extremely bad law about modern slavery. And it's worth our all complaining very loudly about this now, as the bill is being drawn up, not later when it is too late.
It is quite extraordinary that the media is still referring to the case of the brainwashed extreme Maoists (is there any other kind?) as "slaves". Certainly, Communism in all its forms created millions of slaves. These women were not that and the use of this case for general legislation is preposterous but sadly credible. Read Tim Worstall' piece. Well worth it.

Germany will have a new government ... perhaps

The news is that Angela Merkel has managed to come to some sort of an agreement with the SPD and will, all being well, be able to form a new Grand Coalition government (worked so well last time, did it not) by Christmas.

All members of the SPD will be balloted on whether they agree and that may yet derail the process, though, as ever, it is hard to imagine them not wanting to be one of the governing party. There is cautious rejoicing in the EU institutions and its minions as there are high hopes that further integrationist measures will be pushed through once Chancellor Merkel can start paying attention to anything other than negotiating with her opponents.

As EUObserver reports, the new Coalition document does not propose any changes in the eurozone but wants more powers for the European External Action Service (EEAS):
The new coalition government wants to strengthen the post of the High Representative for foreign and security policy, currently held by Catherine Ashton. With her mandate coming to an end next year, Germany wants to improve the way her diplomatic service (EEAS) reacts to and seeks to prevent crises.

EU ambassadors abroad should focus more on "functional" rather than "representative" tasks. Foreign policy, trade and development aid should also be "better linked" and decided in closer cooperation between the EU commission and the EEAS.

"We are in favour of further linking civilian and military instruments of the EU and improving military capacities for crisis prevention and conflict resolution," the draft reads.
This is unlikely to happen though various structural changes will be pushed through so governments and foreign ministries will be finding that ever more of the so-called diplomacy is done at the EU level to a purpose nobody has yet worked out. Just what are those common interests? Do we know? For instance, the Grand Coalition document wants a special link with Russia. Yes, the country that has just bullied Ukraine into refusing a trade and association agreement with the EU. Would that really be in the interests of European countries such as the Baltic States, Poland or Finland?
The Eastern Partnership - a policy initiative for the six countries on EU's eastern fringe - Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan - only has one paragraph in the Germam coalition agreement saying that association, free trade agreements and visa facilitation deals are the "best instruments" for them.

It combines calls for modernising the Russian state with a push for EU visa freedom for Russian businessmen, scientists, civil society activists and students.

The new German government wants to push for "more coherence" in EU's policy towards Russia. With Poland involved in a special three-way dialogue with Germany and Russia, the Grand Coalition pledges to "take into account the interests of our common neighbours" when dealing with Russia.

In this context, they count on Russia to make some headway in solving the frozen conflicts in the eastern neighbourhood, "expecting progress" in particular the splinter region of Transnistria where Russian troops are massed on the Moldova-Ukrainian border.
One can certainly count on President Putin in these matters. Indeed, one can count on large squadrons of pigs to take off within the hour.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Before the day is out

As soon as there is time to cogitate I shall write about the various anniversaries of yesterday but before today (November 23) is out, let us remember the death of Alexander Litvinenko exactly seven years ago. Justice has not yet been done.

More about Holodomor

When I sent my friend Olga Kerziouk, Curator of Ukrainian Studies at the British Library, a link to my posting on Holodomor, she sent me one in response. Her own blog on the subject appeared yesterday on the BL's very fine European studies blog and is very well worth reading. She talks about the many books and studies that are available about the subject (if only the other parts of the former Soviet Union were so diligent about studying the horrors of Collectivization), so there really is NO excuse for ignorance. And yet it agrees.

I am particularly impressed by Olga's last sentence:
Light a candle tomorrow on Holodomor Memorial Day to the memory of millions of people who died from the starvation on Europe’s most fertile black soil.
It never recovered fully. The bread basket of Europe became a complete basket case.

For those who really want to feel traumatized, here is an opera about the Holodomor by Virko Baley, who worked on it for 30 years, which was premiered in Las Vegas this year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Holodomor symphony

Less than a year ago I wrote in a blog:
When people tell you, as they do with monotonous regularity that unlike the Fascists and the Nazis the Communists meant well and wanted to build a fair and just society though everything kept going wrong, remind them of the men, women and children deliberately starved to death in the name of that ideology. Millions of them, murdered pitilessly. We must never forget.
There have, sadly, been more discussions of this kind in my life and, probably, in the lives of some of my readers but, I am glad to say that the terrible crimes of the Communism, particularly crimes against peasants are getting to be better known. (Just to remind people, I also posted about that here, here and here (China rather than the Soviet Union). At various times (too numerous to link to) I have referred to the horrors of collectivization. I imagine some of my readers might be getting rather tired of the subject. Bear with me, please.

A friend forwarded a link to a very interesting article in World Affairs about Stephan Maria Karl, "a young Austrian composer who is currently writing a symphony about the Holodomor, the famine-genocide of 1932–1933 that took the lives of some 3 to 4 million Ukrainians". The interview with Herr Karl is fascinating. He feels that his compatriots and, indeed, people in other countries need to know more about the Holodomor and the horrors of that deliberately created famine to destroy the peasantry, to punish those who refused to accept Communist ruling and to hurt as much as possible the Ukrainian people.
For a historically conscious person who believes in justice, the international community’s ignorance about the Holodomor is as disgraceful as the inadequate coming to terms with other, all too tragically numerous, genocides: Congo, 1886–1908; Armenia, 1915; Soviet Union, 1917–1989; Algeria, 1954–1962; China, 1958–1969; Cambodia, 1975–1979; Ethiopia, 1975–1978; Rwanda, 1994; and Darfur, 2008. And that’s not counting the many hitherto unacknowledged genocides committed by the colonial powers.

The international community’s understanding of the Holodomor might be promoted if Ukraine were to exert permanent pressure on it (as does Poland with respect to the Katyn massacre) and to develop an adequate coming to terms with the issue at home. Ukraine could then serve as a model for Russia and the international community.

It’s been my experience, however, that surprisingly many Ukrainians avoid an intensive confrontation with the Holodomor, be it out of annoyance with history and politics, be it out of fear of the truth and the pain that comes with it, be it out of more quotidian concerns. As a result, the Holodomor elicits fruitless controversies both between Russians and Ukrainians and between Ukrainians themselves. Needless to say, these controversies divert attention from the essential fact that millions of innocents died.
In the circumstances, it is a little unfortunate that Herr Karl himself fudges things a little. Holodomor was a terrible crime of mass murder but so was the rest of Stalin's policy of collectivization that included forcible confiscation of all grain and thus the creation of artificial famine across the Soviet Union: Russia including Siberia suffered, as did Georgia, Kazkhstan, Central Asia and, in 1940, the Baltic States.

Here are a few facts:
Due to high government production quotas, peasants received, as a rule, less for their labor than they did before collectivization, and some refused to work. Merle Fainsod estimated that, in 1952, collective farm earnings were only one fourth of the cash income from private plots on Soviet collective farms. In many cases, the immediate effect of collectivization was to reduce output and cut the number of livestock in half. The subsequent recovery of the agricultural production was also impeded by the losses suffered by the Soviet Union during World War II and the severe drought of 1946. However the largest loss of livestock was caused by collectivization for all animals except pigs.[38] The numbers of cows in the USSR fell from 33.2 million in 1928 to 27.8 million in 1941 and to 24.6 million in 1950. The number of pigs fell from 27.7 million in 1928 to 27.5 million in 1941 and then to 22.2 million in 1950. The number of sheep fell from 114.6 million in 1928 to 91.6 million in 1941 and to 93.6 million in 1950. The number of horses fell from 36.1 million in 1928 to 21.0 million in 1941 and to 12.7 million in 1950. Only by the late 1950s did Soviet farm animal stocks begin to approach 1928 levels.

Despite the initial plans, collectivization, accompanied by the bad harvest of 1932–1933, did not live up to expectations. Between 1929 and 1932 there was a massive fall in agricultural production resulting in famine in the countryside. Stalin and the CPSU blamed the prosperous peasants, referred to as 'kulaks' (Russian: fist), who were organizing resistance to collectivization. Allegedly, many kulaks had been hoarding grain in order to speculate on higher prices, thereby sabotaging grain collection. Stalin resolved to eliminate them as a class.

The Soviet government responded to these acts by cutting off food rations to peasants and areas where there was opposition to collectivization, especially in Ukraine. Many peasant families were forcibly resettled in Siberia and Kazakhstan into exile settlements, and most of them died on the way. Estimates suggest that about a million so-called 'kulak' families, or perhaps some 5 million people, were sent to forced labor camps.

On August 7, 1932, the Decree about the Protection of Socialist Property proclaimed that the punishment for theft of kolkhoz or cooperative property was the death sentence, which "under extenuating circumstances" could be replaced by at least ten years of incarceration. With what some called the Law of Spikelets ("Закон о колосках"), peasants (including children) who hand-collected or gleaned grain in the collective fields after the harvest were arrested for damaging the state grain production. Martin Amis writes in Koba the Dread that 125,000 sentences were passed for this particular offense in the bad harvest period from August 1932 to December 1933.

The deaths from starvation or disease directly caused by collectivization have been estimated as between 4 and 10 million. According to official Soviet figures, some 24 million peasants disappeared from rural areas but only 12.6 million moved to state jobs. The implication is that the total death toll (both direct and indirect) for Stalin's collectivization program was on the order of 12 million people.
I am rather looking forward to hearing Herr Karl's symphony when it is written, particularly as it will be, according to him, a synthesis of tonal and atonal structures "in a dramatically meaningful whole". But we must not forget that Holodomor was part of the great crime of collectivization that was then repeated by Mao and others.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An international alliance of eurosceptic parties?

The Financial Times is somewhat sniffy about the proposed electoral pact between Geert Wilders' Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) and Marine Le Pen's National Front (FN) but that is to be expected. In fact, it is rather sniffy about the parties themselves, not bothering to differentiate much between them and calling them extreme right-wing and all anti-EU parties "nationalistic and xenophobic". Why is it, asks one rhetorically, that all parties, regardless of other political ideas, who prefer their countries to be independent and self-governing as well as have more accountable governments, are described as extremist while those who campaign for greater European integration (not a very popular idea across the member states of the EU) as moderates?

Anyway, back to the electoral pact.
Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders, two of Europe’s best-known far-right leaders, vowed to fight side by side in a coalition of nationalist parties in next year’s European Parliament elections to bring down the “monster in Brussels”.

The anti-EU alliance between the French National Front party (FN) and the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) will seek to attract other eurosceptic groups as they try to capitalise on the economic misery and high unemployment plaguing the continent.
Pretty bad, eh? Fancy trying to capitalize on the fact that certain political decisions have made the economic situation across Europe considerably worse than it would have been otherwise. Shockingly bad behaviour.

The two party leaders intend to campaign together next year in the European elections and to form a group with, they hope, other parties in the European Parliament, thus shifting somewhat the debate or what passes for debate in that institution. Among parties that they hope will join them is our very own UKIP but the Dear Leader has remained aloof, claiming with justification that certain past political pronouncements by the FN and its then leader, Papa Le Pen are incompatible with UKIP's stance. Indeed, it would be an excellent idea if the FN would distance itself from those anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying comments. Mr Wilders has also spoken of Belgium's Vlaams Belang and Italy's Lega Norda as possible allies.
Other anti-EU parties that could consider joining forces in next year’s European polls include the Danish People’s party, Finland’s The Finns, Austria’s Freedom party, Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland and Italy’s Five Star Movement.

However, eurosceptics have often had divergent views, ranging from ending the EU to quitting the euro or simply forming a looser union. The divisions have often outstripped points in common. For example, Alternative für Deutschland and the Five Star Movement, led by comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, would find it difficult to form an alliance with a neo-fascist party like the FN.

Nevertheless, analysts said the FN-PVV alliance had potential because the two leaders agree on several issues, including reducing EU powers, imposing tougher immigration laws and reinstating border controls. The two remain divided on gay rights, openness to Islam and some socioeconomic matters.
Covered by the BBC and the Washington Post that is a little less biased than our own media, perhaps because it is all so far away for them and they cannot  imagine the EU ever breaking up. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Iceland and the Anglosphere

My friend Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson (well, I think he is my friend but as he came to London and discussed the Anglosphere without bothering to let me know I may have to re-think that) has sent me a link to a piece he wrote on ConHome, which is just as well because I rarely read it, not being that interested in the Conservative Party's internal squabbles.

This piece, however, is of great interest and importance as the  subject under discussion is whether Iceland can be or ought to be part of the Anglosphere. My own view is that countries of Europe that sent little ships out into the wide blue yonder without knowing where that was are a separate breed from those who concentrated on their immediate land borders and that is one reason they cannot really survive for very long in one union. There are three exceptions to this: one is France, which did both but, ultimately, decided that those land borders were more important, perhaps because of such events as the Seven Years War; the second one is Spain that did send ships out but somehow managed to lose intellectual momentum; and Hungary, which did not send ships out but sent people absolutely everywhere from Central Asia to the New World. Mind you, (Hungary also had the Golden Bull in 1224, which lays down almost exactly the same agreements as did the Magna Carta nine years previously and Budapest had the first underground line on the Continent, following London's example.)

Iceland is obviously on the "little ships" side of the divide. This is what Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson has to say:
In a British area of influence

So where does Iceland stand regarding all this? Well, first of all although English is not the native tongue in Iceland most Icelanders nevertheless speak the language, and many have mastered it very well. Iceland was also never a part of the British Empire, but rather the Danish Kingdom until gaining independence in 1944 (although in the early 19th century it was floated that the country be transferred to lie under British rule). Nevertheless, Iceland was for centuries in a British area of influence.

British influence in Iceland culminated during the First World War, as the war resulted in looser political and economic ties with Denmark. That continued in the inter-war period with a growing British interest in Iceland which eventually led to the occupation by British military forces in May 1940 after the outbreak of the Second World War. A year later, the United States agreed to replace the British and defend Iceland, since the United Kingdom needed its forces elsewhere in the war effort.

Politically more to the right

The United States continued to have troops stationed in Iceland during the Cold War until 2006, when they were finally evacuated entirely from the country. As a result of all this Iceland has become both very Americanized and Anglicized. That also goes for Icelandic politics which are generally more in line with those of the Anglosphere than on continental Europe, including the other Nordic countries. The emphasis is generally more to the right and more economic liberal.

The conservative Independence Party, the dominant party in Icelandic politics for decades, is for example more in line with its sister party the British Conservatives, in its policies than the Danish Conservative Party or the German Christian Democratic Union. The dominating political parties in the other Nordic countries have, however, traditionally been social democratic parties. The Left in Icelandic politics has also tended to be closer to the centre when it comes to its policies.

Individualist national character

Furthermore, the national character of Icelanders has tended to be very individualist, and therefore much in line with the Anglo-Saxon tradition – which in turn has probably contributed to the historically strong position of the Independence Party. This individualism may very well derive at least partly from the fact that Icelanders are islanders, which they of course have in common with the British. There is something which has been referred to as the island mentality.

Finally, and solely as an interesting historical point, the roots of Icelanders happen to be traceable largely to the British Isles – mainly to Celts in Scotland and Ireland. According to an ongoing research based on Iceland’s present population by the company deCODE genetics and the University of Oxford, 20 per cent of male settlers of Iceland more than 1000 years ago had ancestral lines which could be traced to the British Isles and 63 percent of the female settlers. The rest was of Nordic origin.

His conclusion is that while Iceland probably cannot be a full member of the Anglosphere, "there is a good basis for closer co-operation between Iceland and the Anglosphere countries in the future – for example regarding trade, security and defence". Sounds very reasonable to me. Now all we need is for the Conservative Party and its denizens to recognize the importance of the Anglosphere and to understand that it is the obvious way forward.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shock: the CBI is wrong again

Because I find everything to do with the EU and, especially, the discussions conducted on various sites and threads unutterably tedious I tend to fall behind in my coverage of it. So, yes, I know this is yesterday's news but I think I have something to add.

Monday's Evening Standard had one or two articles that I sort of read. Doesn't  happen every day. Except for Fay Maschler's articles on most Wednesdays, Brian Sewell's on many Thursdays or the film reviews on all Fridays, I tend to flip through that paper, maybe do the word games and take it home to line the cat litter tray. That sort of attitude in readers does not inspire the advertisers and, unsurprisingly, the Standard works hard to overcome it.

The front page was full of dire warnings from Thames Water about how we should use less water or pay more for it. I noticed that there was no mention of the amount of water that is lost because Thames Water's ability to keep the pipes in reasonable condition is negligible. The Standard's editorial chipped in, saying, ha-ha-ha, how unfortunate it was that the rain started as soon as the newspaper with that story came out but, really, we live in a fairly dry climate that is getting drier all the time. No figures were given, of course, and to nobody's surprise there followed about 12 hours of steady rain with interruptions of downpour.

Nobody knows how this happens but everybody has noticed that whenever there are comments or predictions about heat, drought or just a drier climate, the skies open and people gloomily start thinking about arks. The whole thing is as hard to explain as it is to answer the obvious question as to what is the outcome of the Standard's worthy but endless campaigns.

Do more children leave primary schools being able to read and write? Has (relative) poverty been abolished in London? Are gangs a things of the past? Who can tell? Since most of these campaigns approach the same problems from different angles, the suspicion remains that apart from a few isolated cases of success (and one cheers for them, of course) they get absolutely nowhere. In which case, we ought to know what happens to the very large sums raised by the newspaper.

Enough of these digressions. The other article that caught my eye was by John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, whose pronouncement ahead of that organization's conference, much touted everywhere, was that the UK has to stay in the EU but that the EU must reform. I could find no mention of airborne pigs.

It is quite extraordinary that the arguments organizations like the CBI trotted out to prove that Britain had  to join the euro and which have been proved to be absolute nonsense are now trotted out to prove that Britain has to stay in the EU. Why are we even listening to these people? By no stretch of the imagination can the CBI be said to represent British business in its majority, let alone its entirety.

At this point I think I should remind my readers of the posting about that doughty fighter against the CBI and its economical attitude to the truth, Brigadier Anthony Cowgill.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sounds somewhat familiar

Jonah Goldberg, one of the best and most entertaining right-wing journalists, writers and pundits on the other side of the Pond, author of the excellent Liberal Fascism sends out a regular newsletter to which anyone who is interested in cheerful conservatism should subscribe.

The one that hit my in-box on November 1 had this inter alia:
I was going to dedicate this entire “news”letter to gloating over the glorious, nay magisterial, fustercluck that is Obamacare. But a few factors transpired against me. No, none of those factors include the sanctimonious finger-wagging trollery we hear so much from liberals these days that it is somehow wrong to root for the failure of a law that deserves to fail.

Frankly, I don’t quite get the charge. Conservatives said the law wouldn’t work and will be bad for the country. We’ve been pretty consistent on this point (See: 40-odd House votes to repeal, 8 bajillion conservative op-eds, magazine articles, radio diatribes, tea-party protests, the 2010 midterms, etc). And now that it is going into effect and isn’t working and is proving bad for the country, we’re supposed to suddenly act as if this is terrible news? Or, as some argue, this is the moment for Republicans to work with Democrats to make this horrible law more bipartisan.
This sounds very familiar though about another fustercluck and that is the single currency and, indeed, the whole project of Economic and Monetary Union.

At the time we eurosceptics said over and over again not that they will not introduce this ridiculous idea (that was the line many self-deceiving Conservatives took) but that it will be introduced and it will be a disaster. There are thousands of words out there as well as many recordings of radio and TV appearances by this blogger and many others arguing themselves hoarse on the subject.

Well, what do you know? We have turned out to be right. And what happens? Sorrowfully, we are told by all those who were completely wrong that it is not nice of us to gloat; indeed, it is not nice of us even to say "told you so". Instead, we must all pull together to make this ... ahem ... fustrecluck work. For all our sakes.

Well, sorry. It was a bad idea then and it remains a bad idea. As, of course, is our participation in the whole European project.